The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meets on Tuesdays inside in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Betty J. Glick Assembly Chambers, on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meets on Tuesdays inside in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Betty J. Glick Assembly Chambers, on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula

Gated community ordinance passes, to be reconsidered

Residents and property developers could apply to set up a private street or subdivision.

An ordinance establishing rules and standards for residents who wish to create gated communities and private streets within the borough was passed by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly last Tuesday, but will be reconsidered at next week’s assembly meeting.

Under the ordinance, residents and property developers could apply to set up a private street or subdivision. The ordinance lays out how they can accomplish that and the rules they need to follow. The ordinance includes new codes for developments, such as requiring that property owners create a turnaround for cars at the gate. Property owners would also be required to maintain the roadway themselves and ensure that emergency services have access to the area.

Currently, there are no designated standards, requirements or procedures to create subdivisions, private streets or gated communities in borough code, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance’s goal is to establish policies and guidance that “minimize land use conflicts, maintain property values, protect natural systems and support individual land use freedoms.”

Versions of the ordinance have been on and off the assembly agenda since October 2019, with the assembly supporting the measure five to four at the April 21 meeting. Assembly members Brent Johnson, Hal Smalley, Willy Dunne and Kelly Cooper opposed the ordinance.

Some private communities already exist within the borough, including in the Kenai Keys area. Mayor Charlie Pierce said that subdivision has existed for “15 to 20 years now,” and that emergency responders have access to the area. Pierce argued for the ordinance, and said he was “really surprised to see there was so much effort to block” the measure.

“You’re giving residents in the borough another level of added protection,” Pierce said.

Pierce said he thinks the ordinance is long overdue. However, other assembly members shared concerns about public property rights, and losing access to publicly owned roads — which may have cultural and historical significance to residents in the area — to developers.

Cooper said she based her vote on the “overwhelming response from folks” in her district.

Dunne, who has asked that the ordinance be reconsidered at Tuesday’s meeting, said the ordinance was “special interest legislation” and that “converting public property to private right of ways is knocking people out.”

Many borough roads would become private under this ordinance and many of those are walking paths and social trails,” Dunne said. “… I’m very opposed to taking the rights away from the public to use public property.”

Johnson, who initially spoke in support of the ordinance, said it was a “win win” for the borough. He said property values could rise in private subdivisions and the borough could have fewer roadways to maintain. After hearing other comments from Dunne and Cooper, Johnson said he would oppose the ordinance.

“Dunne is right and swinging my vote,” Johnson said. “It is a public right of way and the public is losing access to that right of way.”

The ordinance will be discussed again at Tuesday’s assembly meeting, and the public will have the opportunity to comment. The public will not be allowed to attend the meeting in person due to social distancing mandates imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the public can attend virtually. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. May 5 and residents can call or listen in through Zoom, using Meeting ID:128 871 931.

More in News

Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River dipnetting closed; Kasilof to close Sunday

The Kasilof River dipnet fishery is reportedly slow, but fish are being caught

Silver salmon hang in the Seward Boat Harbor during the 2018 Seward Silver Salmon Derby. (Photo courtesy of Seward Chamber of Commerce)
Seward Silver Salmon derby runs Aug. 13-21

Last year’s derby featured 1,800 contestants competing across eight days

Rayna Reynolds tends to her cow at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Animals take the stage at 4-H expo

Contestants were judged on the quality of the animal or showmanship of the handler

Emily Matthews and Andy Kowalczyk pose outside the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies headquarters on Friday, July 29, 2022, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Charlie Menke/Homer News)
AmeriCorps volunteers aid Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

The 10-month commitment pushed them outside of comfort zones

People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
All about the salmon

Fish, love and music return to Ninilchik

Alaska State Veterinarian Dr. Bob Gerlach gives a presentation on Avian Influenza Virus at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
State looks to outreach, education amid bird flu outbreak

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is spreading in Alaska

Fencing surrounds the 4th Avenue Theatre in Anchorage, Alaska, on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. Demolition will begin in August 2022 on the once-opulent downtown Anchorage movie theater designed by the architect of Hollywood’s famed Pantages Theatre. The 4th Avenue Theatre with nearly 1,000 seats opened in 1947, and it withstood the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Efforts fail to save historic Anchorage theater from demolition

Anchorage entrepreneur Austin “Cap” Lathrop opened the 4th Avenue Theatre, with nearly 1,000 seats, on May 31, 1947

Mimi Israelah, center, cheers for Donald Trump inside the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska, during a rally Saturday July 9, 2022. Two Anchorage police officers violated department policy during a traffic stop last month when Israelah, in town for a rally by former President Donald Trump showed a “white privilege card” instead of a driver’s license and was not ticketed. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)
Alaska officers violated policy in ‘white privilege’ stop

The top of the novelty card reads: “White Privilege Card Trumps Everything.”

Ashlyn O’Hara / Peninsula Clarion file 
Alaska LNG Project Manager Brad Chastain presents information about the project during a luncheon at the Kenai Chamber Commerce and Visitor Center on July 6.
Local leaders voice support for LNG project

Local municipalities are making their support for the Alaska LNG Project known

Most Read