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 to reconsider Nikiski land group boundaries Tuesday

West-side residents say they were not consulted and have historically managed their land independently

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly will on Tuesday again take up legislation that would reduce the area boundaries of a Nikiski planning group.

The deliberation will come months after assembly members approved the creation of that group, the Nikiski Advisory Planning Commission, which covers Nikiski as well as some communities on the west side of Cook Inlet, such as Tyonek and Beluga. Advisory planning commissions give residents the opportunity to advise the boroughwide planning group on issues affecting their area.

If assembly members vote the ordinance up or down Tuesday, the move would cap the end of a monthslong back and forth between Cook Inlet’s east and west side communities.

Nikiski petitioners say the area boundaries should include west-side communities because Nikiski residents work and recreate in those areas, while residents of those communities, especially Tyonek, say they were not consulted during the petition process and have historically managed their land independently.

The assembly on Tuesday will consider maps that remove from the advisory planning commission’s boundaries land parcels owned by Alaska Native groups. The group opted to postpone the legislation in March after assembly member Richard Derkevorkian, who wanted to vote on the issue, was absent.

The commission area approved by assembly members last fall made the Nikiski Advisory Planning Commission more than four times the size of all of the borough’s other group areas combined. Even if the boundaries were reduced to exclude the west side of Cook Inlet, the commission would still have the largest acreage of any other borough commission by more than 44,000 acres.

Tuesday’s meeting will be available to stream on the assembly’s website at kpb.legistar.us.

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

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