Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members will on Tuesday consider an expedited request for money that would pay for a study of high water problems around the northwest section of Kalifornsky Beach Road.
The legislation to be considered during Tuesday’s assembly meeting is sponsored by Borough Mayor Peter Micciche and would use $175,000 from the borough’s general fund to pay for a professional engineering or hydrology service for the study of a long-term solutions for problems associated with high water around the northwest section of Kalifornsky Beach Road.
Micciche is calling for expedited review of the ordinance, meaning the assembly would hold a public hearing on the same day it votes the legislation up or down.
The ordinance cites last winter’s heavy snowfall and an “extremely wet late summer” as contributing to a high water table in the area, which is situated adjacent to a wetland area. After breakup this spring and heavy rain earlier this summer, residents in the area experienced flooded septics, standing water in their homes and washed out roads, among other things.
The assembly in April approved the use of up to $300,000 from the borough Road Service Area Operating Fund to pay for drainage improvements along Eastway Drive. That project was underway earlier this month and involved Soldotna’s River City Construction LLC doing drainage, ditching, embankment construction and clearing work in the area.
Still, that project was never intended to be a long-term solution for a neighborhood where previous catastrophic flooding has prompted local, state and even federal intervention.
The borough in mid-July filed a civil suit against area resident David Yragui, whose unpermitted ditching work, the borough says, is exacerbating flooding conditions for his neighbors. Through that suit, the borough is seeking a temporary restraining order and injunction against Yragui, who says he is attempting to take flood relief efforts into his own hands.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Director Robert Ruffner wrote in an Aug. 3 memo accompanying Tuesday’s proposed ordinance study of the area’s hydrology issues by an independent, specialized consulting firm is needed to better understand the complexity of the region. Further, he said the study would also examine the impacts of private ditching.
“The study would provide recommendations for potential long-term solutions and develop a better (understanding) of the challenges of mitigating the problems,” Ruffner wrote.
The ordinance says expedited consideration by assembly members is needed to allow the contracted firm to begin studying ahead of further rain events.
“Hearing on shortened time is justified due to the forecast that even average fall precipitation will significantly accelerate water issues and high water concerns in the area, and getting professional services in place before fall precipitation occurs will provide better data for the study,” the proposed ordinance says.
Residents in the northwest Kalifornsky Beach area are convening for a meeting Aug. 17 at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex from 6-9 p.m. to talk about flooding issues. Tuesday’s assembly meeting will be streamed live on the borough website at kpb.legistar.com.