Assembly members Kenn Carpenter and Brent Hibbert discuss Ordinance 2019-03 at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Meeting in Soldotna on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Assembly members Kenn Carpenter and Brent Hibbert discuss Ordinance 2019-03 at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Meeting in Soldotna on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Borough postpones decision on land sale until April 2

The assembly postponed voting on an ordinance that would authorize the sale of several parcels of borough land at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s meeting on Tuesday, March 5.

Following a significant number of public comments, specifically concerns about a contamination site located near one of the parcels in question, Assembly Vice President Dale Bagley moved that the vote on ordinance 2019-03 be postponed until the assembly meeting on April 2. His motion was passed unanimously. Bagley said during the meeting that this would give residents and the planning commission more time to review the changes that have already been made to the ordinance and consider any further changes before authorizing the land sale.

The largest parcel of land being considered in the ordinance is 120 acres and is located in the Murwood neighborhood off Kalifornsky beach road. During Tuesday’s meeting, several Murwood residents voiced their concerns about the potential impact of a DEC-registered contamination site that sits just south of the parcel in question.

One resident was worried about the area being unsuitable for residential development, as previous test drilling on the parcel had revealed that groundwater was only 3 feet below the surface in some areas. Most of the residents were concerned that any development on the land near the contaminated site would cause carcinogens and other contaminants to seep into the water supply of the surrounding neighborhoods.

A few of those who spoke about the Murwood neighborhood thanked the borough’s planning commission as well as assembly members Bagley and Brent Hibbert for meeting with Murwood residents over the past month to address the issues surrounding the contaminated site. In response to those meetings, a substitute to ordinance 2019-03 was introduced by Bagley, Hibbert and Mayor Charlie Pierce on Tuesday and amended to include a reduction in the size of the Murwood parcel from 160 acres to 120 acres, taking into account the contamination site to the south of the parcel. The original ordinance 2019-03 was replaced with its substitute by a unanimous vote, and the amendments were also approved unanimously.

One of the Murwood residents said in response to the substitute ordinance that he thought the reduction in the size of the parcel was a step in the right direction, but would still like to see it reduced further or taken out of consideration for sale entirely.

The final vote on ordinance 2019-03, which would authorize the sale of certain parcels of borough-owned land, will take place on Tuesday, April 3 during the assembly’s next public meeting.

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