A lot of commercial expansion has happened near the intersection of the Spur and Sterling highways in Soldotna the past few years. And more is on the way.
The Soldotna city council voted to rezone a rural residential property in the area to more closely conform to recent commercial development. A single mobile home is the only residence on Homestead Lane behind Walgreens. City planner John Czarnezki says it’s a multi-step process.
“As this parcel currently sits, it is landlocked. It doesn’t abut a right of way. One of the things we’re trying to cure here is meet borough code and change the parcel so it abuts a right of way and has that legal access. Right now they’ve got an easement from the Mullens. They are in the process of vacating that easement. Once that is complete, once the rezone is complete, they will replat, which will reshape the lot and give them access to Homestead. It will also increase the size of this lot a small amount. It’s about a half acre now, but it still won’t reach the one acre minimum for rural residential, which it is currently zoned at.”
That area has seen a lot of recent commercial development, with the aformentioned Walgreens opening in 2015 and Kenai River Brewing following the next year. The borough is trying to buy some of that land in order to construct a new Central Emergency Services building. The current construction, also happening on Mullen-owned property, will be the new home of the bookstore and cafe. Even though single mobile homes aren’t allowed in a commercial zone, the rezoning would trade one non-conformity for another, by way of the lot size.
“In a commercial district, it would be a legal, conforming lot regardless of size because we don’t have a lot standard for the commercial district. So what this will do is bring it into a commercial zoning district, which it is surrounded by and which our land use plan calls for, and will provide legal access to Homestead Lane.”
With little else on the agenda, the council adjourned after a brief discussion about the possibility of removing the city’s boat tax from the books, which mirrors the borough policy. Mayor Nels Anderson called for a look into that topic with the potential annexation of borough lands on the way.