Bruce Wall, a planner with the Kenai Peninsula Borough, answers Kalifornsky residents’ questions regarding the creation of a new advisory planning commission for the area, on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, at the Betty J. Glick Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Chambers in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Bruce Wall, a planner with the Kenai Peninsula Borough, answers Kalifornsky residents’ questions regarding the creation of a new advisory planning commission for the area, on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, at the Betty J. Glick Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Chambers in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Assembly looks to establish Kalifornsky Advisory Planning Commission

Borough has active advisory planning commissions in Moose Pass, Cooper Landing, Anchor Point, Hope.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly will decide Tuesday if an advisory planning commission will be established for the Kalifornsky area.

Advisory planning commissions are established to provide an additional way for community members to participate in land use planning activities. The commissions help advise the borough on borough-owned lands.

The borough has four active advisory planning commissions — in Moose Pass, Cooper Landing, Anchor Point, Funny River and Hope. There is also one inactive advisory planning commissions in Diamond Ridge.

The borough owns approximately 5,800 acres within the proposed boundaries of the Kalifornsky Advisory Planning Commission and the borough land management officer has indicated that additional community input is needed for the effective management of these lands, a July 25 memo to the assembly from borough planner, Bruce Wall, said.

The idea of forming the commission came from area resident, Robin Davis, who petitioned the borough in March after he and his neighbors decided to oppose a borough land sale in his neighborhood.

“Many of the neighbors in my neighborhood were taken by surprise by one of the borough land sales and it had a potentially very negative impact on us,” Davis said. “At the last minute we were able to divert that, but through that process we realized we didn’t have a voice in the planning commission.”

Davis said one of his neighbors suggested the community create an advisory planning commission as a way to have a voice in how their neighborhood is affected.

“We don’t have a voice feeding the planning commission,” Davis said. “We felt like we needed that voice. We’re complex. We’ve got industry and agriculture. We got residential areas and businesses. We got it all. So we need a voice. We haven’t had it.”

The petition to create the commission requires 20 signatures. Davis said he gathered 27.

The borough used the census-designated place boundaries for Kalifornsky — covering most of Kalifornsky Beach Road down toward Kasilof, as well as the Sterling Highway area south of Soldotna.

Mayor Charlie Pierce will appoint seven residents to the commission within 90 days of the adoption of the ordinance.

Davis said he hopes the commission leadership would include a diverse group of Kalifornsky residents — from business owners, farmers, homeowners and industry members in the community.

“We want people on there who care about how the community develops,” Wall said.

This story has been corrected to show the Funny River Advisory Planning Commission is no longer inactive.

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