Assembly takes up, delays K-Beach flooding issues

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Thursday, August 20, 2015 9:35pm
  • News

Two proposals designed to address flooding issues in the Kalifornsky Beach Road area were left unresolved after the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s Tuesday meeting.

One proposal would have formed a new economic development district for most of assembly member Kelly Wolf’s district, the other would have allowed the borough to exchange one piece of land for another to secure a drainage easement near mile 12 of Kalifornsky Beach Road.

The borough has been discussing the land swap for at least a year. The proposal involves a 4.3 acre parcel in the Kingswood Estates Subdivision to be reserved for a borough drainage easement in exchange for a 1.8 acre bluff lot owned by the borough.

The borough parcel would be given to Paula and Timothy Keohane, who allowed the borough to use their property during the 2013 for a drainage purposes. The area is also known as the Karluk Basin and during the flooding, the borough installed a pipe underneath K-Beach road allowing it to mechanically pump water into the Cook Inlet once the Karluk Basin reached 3 million gallons of water or more.

“This exchange makes good sense for the borough,” said Mayor Mike Navarre. “There is an easement that is reserved there and (the property owners) have said they’re not intending to do anything with their property, so it’s a perpetual easement for us. We get the funcitonal use of it and we maintain the functional use of the borough property.”

The 1.8 acre parcel the borough would be trading to the Keohanes also has a 60 foot drainage easement on it that the borough would maintain. Assembly members raised concerns during a committee meeting, saying that the value of the two parcels was not directly comparable and that the drainage easement could potentially be too small to fit an excavator.

Navarre said the borough had reserved a construction easement in addition to its 60 foot drainage easement. He said the value of the parcels may not be monetarily comparable but that the borough was getting a good deal.

“It’s tough to measure that apples to apples,” Navarre said.

Another issue is an Aug. 11 letter assembly members from the Department of Transportation expressing opposition to a portion of the project.

“Quite frankly, there’s a lot of meddling going on in that issue,” Navarre said. “The reality, I believe, is that DOT in earlier communications indicated that they thought we were draining a wetlands. We’re not intending to drain a wetlands… The only situation where there might be some water flow is in an extreme flood situation like we had in 2013. But, it has been characterized and suggested that we’re attempting to drain a wetlands, or we’re draining it into a DOT right-of-way, but it’s really only going to be in a flood situation so we’re going to contact DOT and attempt to work it out.”

Some members of the public testified that the borough should not trade the smaller lot as it would need all of that land as a drainage easement, not just 60 feet of it.

Navarre said the DOT had verified that the easement was adequate, but did not have documentation to prove the agency’s verification. Assembly member Wayne Ogle said he’d like to see the DOT provide something in writing.

“I think the borough needs to do its due diligence to receive a second party and a very important second party’s validation of it,” Ogle said.

Assembly members voted to take up the issue again during its Oct. 13 meeting.

Wolf submitted the second proposal dealing with K-Beach flooding issues. If passed, it would have put a question to voters on whether to form a new economic development service area. It would have created a special election in November to allow voters inside of the proposed Central Peninsula Economic Development Service Area to vote on gaining expanded economic development services in District 1 which stretches from the Cook Inlet along Kalifornsky Beach Road and Cannery Road east toward Soldotna with an easternmost boundary at Sports Lake.

Several member people testified both in favor and against the proposal.

“I feel it will give residents in the area a greater say in how their money is spent,” said Scott Mobely, who lives near Kalifornsky Beach Road.

“I still have a hard time understanding how some residents in this area are entitled to roads and roadside ditches that meet borough standards at borough expense and how others are not.”

Others, whose homes are located in the proposed area but away from the formerly flooded zones were opposed.

“I do not live in the flood area, yet I would be taxed if I lived in that area for this economic development district,” said Sammy Crawford. “There are processes in place … there’s infrastructure to do these things. To create a new bureaucracy sounds very confusing an unnecessary.”

Crawford said an economic development district would end up costing the borough money.

“Economic development always sounds great, it’s motherhood and apple pie. But it doesn’t pencil out,” Crawford said. “They’ll need more employees … it could also mitigate the borough’s ability to apply for grants (to help deal with flooding issues).”

Ultimately, Wolf decided to withdraw his proposal and requested that the ordinance be tabled indefinitely.

Reach Rashah McChesney at or follow her on Twitter @litmuslens

More in News

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation building is seen in Juneau, Alaska, in March 2022. The deadline for the permanent fund dividend is coming up fast, landing on March 31, 2023. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
PFD application deadline is next week; state revenue forecasts lower than expected

Alaska North Slope crude oil was estimated to be about $71.62 per barrel on Monday

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID-19: Cases jump in Kenai Peninsula Borough

No hospitalizations were reported in the Gulf Coast region

The Challenger Learning Center is seen in Kenai, Alaska, on Sept. 10, 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Transportation gaps to be the focus of community meeting

The goal is to create a task force who can regularly meet and move forward on the issue

Bob Schroeder takes an electric chainsaw to a mock credit card during a protest outside the Wells Fargo in downtown Juneau at midday Tuesday. Schroeder cut up three mock credit cards representing three banks in Juneau protesters say are leading funders of fossil fuel development projects. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Protesters object to banks financing fossil fuel projects

Demonstrators used chain saw to cut up giant credit cards

The members of Sankofa Dance Theater Alaska perform for a crowd of students during an opening performance at Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science in Kenai, Alaska on Monday, March 20, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Uniting through movement

Kaleidoscope students learn about western African dances and music with in-residence artists

A blizzard warning is issued for the Eastern Kenai Peninsula and beyond by the National Weather Service on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. (Screenshot)
Blizzard warning issued for Seward, Turnagain Pass

Snow accumulation is predicted to be from 7 to 20 inches

The Homer Spit and the Kenai Mountains are photographed of Monday, May 17, 2021, as seen from West Hill in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Magnitude 5.4 earthquake strikes west of Homer

The earthquake occurred just after 7 a.m.

Homer Police Lt. Ryan Browning provides ‘youth and technology’ presentation Saturday Feb. 4 at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. Photo provided by Christopher Kincaid.
Social media harms targeted in community meetings

Homer police visiting Central Peninsula to open dialogue about “Parenting in the Digital Age”

The intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways is seen on Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file photo)
Borough to use federal funds for street safety

The funds were made available through the Safe Streets and Roads for All program

Most Read