A map shows what Native-owned land parcels fall within the current boundaries of the Nikiski Fire Service Area. The assembly is considering excluding those parcels from the coverage area of the Nikiski Advisory Planning Commission, which currently has the same boundaries as the fire service area. (Map via Kenai Peninsula Borough)

A map shows what Native-owned land parcels fall within the current boundaries of the Nikiski Fire Service Area. The assembly is considering excluding those parcels from the coverage area of the Nikiski Advisory Planning Commission, which currently has the same boundaries as the fire service area. (Map via Kenai Peninsula Borough)

Assembly again bumps vote on Nikiski planning commission boundaries

The ordinance was first introduced by assembly members in December 2022

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly again postponed action on legislation that would reduce the coverage area of the Nikiski Advisory Planning Commission.

Assembly members approved the formation of that group, which allows residents to advise the boroughwide planning commission on issues affecting land included in the advisory commission’s footprint. As initially approved by assembly members, that footprint includes communities on the west side of Cook Inlet in addition to Nikiski.

Petitioners in support of including west-side communities say the boundaries are consistent with other Nikiski groups, such as Nikiski’s legislative district, and that many Nikiski residents work and recreate on the west side of Cook Inlet.

The assembly has received dozens of comments, however, from Alaska Native groups and residents of west-side communities, such as Tyonek, who say they were not included in the initial petition and do not want to be part of the group because they have long managed their own land.

The ordinance was first introduced by assembly members in December 2022. The legislation was voted down during the body’s Feb. 7 meeting, then reconsidered later that month. The legislation has since been postponed three times, first to March, then to April and now to May.

An amendment being proposed to the ordinance by assembly member Peter Ribbens, who represents Nikiski, would maintain the advisory planning commission’s existing boundaries, but would carve out Native-owned parcels.

In opting to further postpone the legislation, the body cited the absence of assembly member Richard Derkevorkian, as well as to ensure the correct maps are being considered as part of proposed amendments.

The assembly is scheduled to next take up the legislation on May 16. Tuesday’s assembly meeting can be streamed on the borough’s website at kpb.legistar.com.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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