Lawton Acres proposal has negative impacts on neighborhood

Kenai city residents need to be aware of a work session on Monday, May 15 at 6:00 p.m. in Kenai City Council Chambers discussing the potential sale of a property known as Lawton Acres. A recent Clarion article goes into much more detail as to the why and wherefore of disposing of this property from the City’s viewpoint.

If approved, this will occur in my neighborhood, and nearly 80 or so households in the Roger’s Road sub-division as well as 10 or so on Lawton Street will be impacted by the sale and ultimate development of this property. Presently, this strip of land provides a buffer from the noise and traffic of the Spur highway, as well as an environmental and pleasing barrier further enhanced by the “Field of Flowers” that so many of the residents and visitors enjoy in August and September. The City will argue that this property (as well as a lot of other property within city limits) was FFA Airport land and was given to the City with stipulation that it eventually needed to be sold or leased, the proceeds then given to the airport for operating funds. So our understanding is, the sale doesn’t benefit the city unless it is developed. My question is: are there currently any mandates from the FFA to dispose of this property or any other property for that matter? Is there an urgency to do this?

A recent offer by River City Dental to purchase around three acres located at the east end of Lawton Acres was proposed, and the neighbors mostly felt that we could live with this development if it had to be. This property is much broader in width and development proposed by Dr. Sorhus would not be such a huge impact. If one looks at the other end of the Lawton Acres, the width diminishes rapidly, and we wonder what type of business can find a workable footprint in this area?

Bottom line for us is, do we want to see Kenai expand along the Spur, or abandon the downtown area which already has a number of unoccupied buildings? It seems strange that Soldotna doesn’t seem to have any problems filling their empty buildings; why can’t Kenai do the same? If the City has no interest in providing amiable neighborhoods and residential areas for the citizenry or new-comers, we might as well tear down the “Welcome to Kenai — Village with a Past — City with a Future” sign! Folks, please attend this meeting and voice your opinion, or just be present to let the City know that you are deeply interested in the livability of the city.

With respect,

Bill and Lois Nelson