A handful of Kalifornsky residents gathered last week to discuss forming of a Kalifornsky Advisory Planning Commission.
Bruce Wall, a planner with the borough, helped facilitate and answered questions at the meeting, which took place at the Betty J. Glick Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Chambers on Wednesday.
The idea of forming the commission came from area resident, Robin Davis, who petitioned the borough after he and his neighbors decided to oppose a borough land sale in his neighborhood.
“Many of the neighbors in my neighborhood were taken by surprise by one of the borough land sales and it had a potentially very negative impact on us,” Davis said. “At the last minute we were able to divert that, but through that process we realized we didn’t have a voice in the planning commission.”
Davis said one his neighbors suggested the community create an advisory planning commission as a way to have a voice in how their neighborhood is affected.
“We don’t have a voice feeding the planning commission,” Davis said. “We felt like we needed that voice. We’re complex. We’ve got industry and agriculture. We got residential areas and businesses. We got it all. So we need a voice. We haven’t had it.”
The petition to create the commission requires 20 signatures. Davis said he gathered 27.
The borough has four active advisory planning commissions — in Moose Pass, Cooper Landing, Anchor Point and Hope. There are also two inactive advisory planning commissions, one in Funny River and one in Diamond Ridge.
“Where we have those (advisory planning commissions) it works (well) because it provides an additional avenue of input to the borough and their land management decisions,” Wall said.
Advisory planning commissions are established to provide an additional way for community members to participate in land use planning activities. The commissions help advise the borough on borough-owned lands.
“Basically, we just want people involved in their community to help shape how that community develops,” Wall said.
The borough used the census-designated place boundaries for Kalifornsky — covering most of Kalifornsky Beach Road down and then down toward Kasilof — to help shape the boundaries the commission might take.
Now that the community meeting has taken place, the planning director will finalize the commission’s boundaries and send to the borough planning commission for public comment. If approved by the planning commission, an ordinance to officially create the commission will be seen by the borough assembly.
Wall said residents could see a call for community members to join the commission around this fall.
Davis said he hopes the commission leadership would include a diverse group of Kalifornsky residents — from business owners, farmers, homeowners and industry members in the community.
“We want people on there who care about how the community develops,” Wall said.