Kenai exploring gravel pit reclaimation

Aug 15, 2019

Gravel underpins nearly every aspect of modern life — it’s in our roads, it’s in the foundations of our buildings, and perhaps, unfortunately, it’s in the gravel pit your neighbor wants to dig next door.

Regular meeting are held by the borough to address the lack of zoning in the unincorporated areas where gravel is extracted, but inside the city limits of Kenai, the planning and zoning commission wants to act on the potential eyesores left behind.

The issue came up at last week’s Kenai City Council meeting when Councilman Bob Molloy, the liaison to the commission, reported on a gravel pit transfer.

“This was an application for transfer of a conditional use permit for operation of a gravel pit. This is the estate of Mavis Cone to basically Quality Asphalt Paving, and there was quite a discussion over that," Molloy said. "It passed, but the concern that the planning and zoning commission wanted me to pass on was the lack of regulation that the city has over reclamation. We have no rules or regulations regarding reclamation from old gravel pits.”

Molloy said the city’s P-and-Z is awaiting action from their counterparts at the borough level.

“The planning and zoning commission does plan to look at our gravel pit ordinance in code after the borough planning commission is done with their addressing it at the borough level. And then our planning commission was going to look at it and that's a subject that they could inquire into it at that time," he said. "So that I wanted to pass on that that was an issue of concern to them.”

The Kenai Planning and Zoning Commission met Wednesday night in city hall.

On its agenda was a recommendation from Elizabeth Appleby, the city planner, to set a closing time for cannabis stores in the city.

Currently, they are allowed to be open from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m., while city staff is recommending a closing time of 2 a.m. That will align the city’s stores with those in the unincorporated borough. Soldotna stores must be closed by midnight.

In her brief to the commission, Appleby said many of the cannabis store proprietors had no problem with a 2 a.m. closing time when contacted, and some didn’t object to an even earlier closing hour.