Kenai City Council

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.

After months of hammering out a new contract with the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center over operation of the Kenai Bicentennial Visitors Center, the Kenai City Council Wednesday night approved a separate one-year special use permit for the property the chamber's old headquarters sits is on, next to the visitor center.
    Known as the Moosemeat John Cabin, the building was the office of the chamber of commerce until it merged with the convention and visitors bureau in 2012 and moved into the visitors center. The chamber has owned the building since 1975.

There could be a couple of changes to how the City of Kenai handles its council elections, but they're minor compared to the change that failed at Wednesday night's meeting.

The changes that will be offered to voters to enact would no longer require candidates to have 20 signatures in order to file for office, and newly elected council members will be seated a week earlier.

The change that will not happen is the designation of specific seats for council members. They are currently elected at large.

The city of Kenai administration has started cracking down on the city’s homeless and transient population, though at least one city official is concerned enough about the actions that he has urged caution.

"You know, in my mind, some of their rights are violated." - Vice Mayor Tim Navarre

City Manager Paul Ostrander reported to the council that he and the police chief removed tons of stolen items left by homeless people in various wooded areas of the city.

  The Kenai City Council last night bucked the emerging trend around the state and decided not to allow on-site consumption of cannabis products inside city limits. The vote was five to one on the ordinance to ban the practice outright after a motion to replace it with a two-year moratorium instead failed to get a second.

City councilmembers Jim Glendenning and Glenese Petty introduced the original.

Even though commercial cannabis sales have been legal in Alaska for a couple of years, the state’s position is still in conflict with federal law. That message was brought home by the U.S. Coast Guard at a recent Kenai City Council meeting.

Lt. Scott Peters told the council that the Coast Guard Auxiliary will be doing boating safety checks at the Kenai Dock duding low tide, while he and rangers from State Parks will be out on the Kenai River doing boating safety checks.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a warning about elevated bacteria levels on Kenai's North Beach at the mouth of the river. 

Samples taken last Tuesday showed elevated levels of enterococci (enter-oh-cockeye) bacteria and fecal coliform, exposure to which can cause stomach aches, diarrhea and ear, eye and skin infections.

The samples taken at Kenai North Beach contained 139 units per 100 milliliters of enterococci bacteria, almost four times higher than what is considered safe for direct contact, officials.

At last night's Kenai City Council meeting, the debate over on-site consumption of cannabis in stores stretched for an hour-plus, but eventually, the council voted to postpone the ordinance until the next council meeting. 

The ordinance would ban the practice, which was recently approved by the state. 

  At last night's Kenai City Council meeting, former Mayor Ron Malston was remembered. He passed away late last month at the age of 85. The council voted to place a memorial plaque at Leif Hansen Memorial Park, and plant a tree in his name.

A memorial service was held on Saturday.

    The Kenai City Council passed a resolution this week — after much debate and many amendments — essentially supporting Assemblyman Dale Bagley’s latest attempt to have a bed tax approved, first by the assembly, and then the voters.

Former Kenai City Councilman Duane Bannock, now associated with the Uptown Motel, came before the council to express his extreme displeasure over Bagley’s proposal and the city’s potential support. 

An hour of debate had already passed Wednesday night when the Kenai City Council found out that the ordinance before them did not accomplish what they thought it would.

The debate was ostensibly over whether to allow on-site consumption of marijuana in the city limits. The State of Alaska has already passed rules allowing it.

However, the ordinance before the council was only to regulate on-site consumption, not whether to allow it. 

For a time during Wednesday night’s Kenai City Council meeting, the passage of funds to pay for water quality testing in the Kenai River this summer was uncertain. Council members felt burned by press reports last year that there was an elevated level of bacteria levels on the beaches during the dipnet season, and they blamed the Kenai Watershed Forum, which is the contractor hired to collect the water samples.

Councilman Jim Glendening explained.

 

The Kenai City Council will consider whether to amend its cannabis laws this week. There’s an ordinance on the agenda that would allow for onsite consumption of cannabis products in licensed businesses.

Nearly a half-a-million dollars has been spent from the Kenai Airport Terminal remodeling project’s contingency fund on asbestos abatement alone. However, the city is being reimbursed at a significant rate by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

City of Kenai administration brought forth an ordinance last week that would accept almost $409,000 from the FAA to reimburse two change orders that totaled almost $462,000.

“Almost of this is associated with asbestos abatement,” City Manager Paul Ostrander explained.

The city of Kenai voted to rearrange some of its investment strategies last week in an effort to smooth out the flow of income into the city’s coffers. The changes will come to the city’s General Land Sale and Airport Land Sale permanent funds.

They’re operated much like the state’s Permanent Fund, investing an un-touchable core balance of money and withdrawing some of the earnings it generates each year to fund city operations.

City Finance Director Terry Eubank explained that the Airport Lands Fund will actually return less in coming years, but it’s for a good reason.

Plans to modify allowable uses in Rural Residential One neighborhoods in Kenai brought citizens out Wednesday night to decry what they see as a parade of conditional uses, variances, and general messing around with the mission of the city’s own comprehensive plan.

Ron Carlson is a resident of Princess Drive.

 

When the State of Alaska approved on-site consumption of marijuana in cannabis stores, it shifted the onus to local municipalities, which can choose to further regulate it. This week the Kenai City Council took the first steps to do just that, tasking the city attorney with drawing up a draft ordinance and looping in the planning and zoning commission.

But some members and at least one store owner aren’t convinced on-site consumption is going to be the next big thing, despite Alaska being the first state to legalize it.

As work continues to remodel the Kenai Municipal Airport terminal building, businesses inside are suffering. At last week’s Kenai City Council meeting, the council took steps to relieve the financial burden all the construction is causing.

Introduced by Vice Mayor Tim Navarre, the resolution would give the city manager the power to adjust occupancy fees on a case-by-case basis.

Last week the Kenai City Council discussed online retailer Amazon's plans to start collecting and remitting taxes on the Kenai Peninsula. Mayor Brian Gabriel said the action should help put local business on a better footing.

“I'm all for a fair playing field and I think by working towards taxing products that are bought online but originate here, point of sale within our community, that we are at least leveling the playing field and being more fair to our brick and mortar stores that have come here invested in the community and providing their services.”

In an effort to put more bite into its municipal ordinances, the City of Kenai is considering court appearances for repeated violators of animal control ordinances.

Introduced on Feb. 6, the ordinance will have a public hearing tomorrow (Wed.) night. If passed it would go into effect in mid March.

City of Kenai

 

The Kenai city council approved another small step forward for the city’s long awaited bluff stabilization project at its meeting Wednesday. The council approved spending $1 million in support of the pre-construction engineering and design phase of the project.

 

Borough voters roundly rejected a bond measure to pay for a new school in Kachemak-Selo during municipal elections Tuesday.

Municipal elections are coming up Tuesday, and in the run-up to Oct. 2, KDLL has been bringing you conversations with candidates seeking office from the various jurisdictions. Wednesday on the Kenai Conversation, the three candidates for the Kenai City Council’s two open seats joined host Jay Barrett for an hourlong talk about the city’s future and their role in it.

In this excerpt, the three, incumbent Councilman Bob Molloy and challengers Teea Winger and Robert Peterkin II discuss the business environment in the city.

 

With less than a week to go before the Kenai Peninsula's municipal elections, host Jay Barrett welcomes to the Kenai Conversation the three candidates for the two available seats on the Kenai City Council, incumbent Councilman Bob Molloy and challengers Teea Winger and Robert Peterkin II. In Kenai, council members are elected at-large, so the top two vote-getters will be seated. Election day is Oct. 2.

Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

As the big time political races across the state and nation heat up, the race for a pair of Kenai city council seats is relatively docile by comparison. Bob Molloy is seeking reelection against Robert Peterkin Jr. and Teea Winger.

 

 


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