Properties within the Kalifornsky Beach Road subdivisions pose threats to potential homebuyers.
Poorly developed plots are being sold, which can compound existing issues that come with building and buying on wetlands and areas adjacent to wetlands, said Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre. Reasonable due diligence is key for prospective owners, he said.
Kalifornsky Beach Road is also prone to surface flooding, symptomatic of a high water table that has raised the groundwater, persistent in a wetlands area. Residents in the area have reported inundated crawlspaces, contaminated water and molding structures.
Some of the wetlands have also been disturbed by private construction, Navarre said.
Large machinery driven across the surface of the land creates trenches and depressions that cause water to pool unnaturally, said Road Service Area Director Pat Malone. This also means those areas will be subject to improper drainage, he said.
“You won’t find anywhere else in the borough where that type of development has occurred,” Chief of Staff Paul Ostrander said. “It just doesn’t exist.”
The ‘Geographic Information’ page located on the borough’s website has an interactive parcel viewer with aerial mapping from 2002 and 2012 showing how the wetlands have evolved and what kind of structural building has been done in the area.
Various maps break down which areas are certified wetlands, who owns which parcels of lands and which roads the borough can legally maintain.
Navarre said some residents who have damaged their own properties are now putting pressure on the borough to undue the marring. The borough has little control over in terms of response and maintenance in the Kalifornsky Beach Road area, he said.
Some developers have gone as far as to get around various borough permits, Navarre said. Condominiums built in the area do not have to go through the platting process, he said.
The borough is currently in the middle of trying to revise code that addresses platting.
“We won’t permit anything that might cause more harm,” Navarre said.
Malone said the borough would install more culverts if it would be constructive. Many of the affected properties are on private roads, which the borough legally cannot maintain or revise.
The good news is that the area is getting back to normal, Ostrander said. Since the federally declared flooding disaster Oct. 27, 2013, the water table has fallen as much as four feet in some areas, he said.