Any effort to grow the city of Soldotna will have to wait at least a few more weeks. The council voted to postpone a vote on a resolution that would advance the annexation process at its meeting Wednesday night.
That gave residents another opportunity to voice opinions, which have largely been in opposition. That made Daniel Lynch wonder why it’s necessary to postpone.
“For the annexation you decided to postpone, brought by Ms. Murphy and Mr. Whitney, the longest-serving members on this board. If they don’t know it now, they’ll never figure it out.”
“In response to Mr. Lynch, the reason I wanted to see the annexation resolution postponed was that many of us have some issues with some of the areas that have been identified for annexation," Council member Linda Murphy said. "Like the mayor, I’m not interested in annexing any residential area unless a vote of the people in that area is taken. If you don’t want to be in the city, I don’t want you to have to come in the city.”
Murphy said another work session will be useful to further refine the potential list of areas to be studied for possible inclusion in an expanded municipal footprint.
Residents have clearly shown their disinterest as the debate has developed over the course of years. And there was pushback from business owners Wednesday, too. Terry Best owns Best Transit Mix, a concrete company in the Red Diamond Center, which he also developed. He says a large gravel deposit there should be used to help curb the overall number of gravel pits.
“I realize this is a sore subject with everyone in the borough, gravel pits. That aggregate is the best aggregate in this area. If we put houses on that, we’re wasting a precious material that we’re running out of every day. We have little gravel pits all over the borough, five, 10, 20 acres. The proper thing to do would be to set this aggregate parcel aside and sell it off to contractors who want to keep the gravel resources there.”
The resolution that was postponed would direct city staff to prepare a draft petition for potential annexation areas. The council will now take that up on June 13th, after another work session on May 23rd.