From left: Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel, Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander and Kenai Vice Mayor Jim Glendening discuss legislation during an at-ease at a council meeting on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

From left: Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel, Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander and Kenai Vice Mayor Jim Glendening discuss legislation during an at-ease at a council meeting on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai council OKs comprehensive inventory of city land

The “City of Kenai Land Management Inventory and Recommendations” is meant to be a “city-wide approach” to managing land owned by the city

A first-of-its kind comprehensive inventory of land owned by the City of Kenai was given the stamp of approval by Kenai City Council members during their Wednesday night meeting. The affirmative vote capped a monthslong effort to assemble the pieces of the plan and answered a yearslong call for an inventory of parcels owned by the city.

City officials have said a key benefit of the plan will be seen in the shortened turnaround time needed for planning department inquiries.

In all, the City of Kenai owns 369 subdivided parcels of land that include wetlands, tidelands and lands “suitable” for commercial, industrial, residential and recreational purposes, according to city documents. Almost 2,000 acres’ worth of land were acquired from the Federal Aviation Administration in 1963.

Under the management plan, the chunks of city land are designated for retention, disposal, lease-only disposal or mixed. Disposal land designated as lease only refers to land that the city is interested in leasing, but that cannot be sold. Mixed parcels refer to land that can be subdivided into pieces to be sold.

The document — called the “City of Kenai Land Management Inventory and Recommendations” — is meant to be a “city-wide approach” to managing the approximately 5,540 acres of land owned by the city. The document was formerly known as the “City of Kenai Land Management Plan” but council members voted Wednesday to change the name.

“While ‘The City of Kenai Land Management Inventory and Recommendations’ doesn’t roll off the tongue quite like the ‘Land Management Plan’ does, I do think it more accurately reflects what the document does,” Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander said Wednesday.

Another element of the plan is interactive mapping software, which shows parcel and city boundaries that city officials have said will streamline the process for planning department inquiries. Users will have the ability to overlay city water and sewer lines as well as topography.

The City of Kenai’s current planning director, Ryan Foster, has resigned and is scheduled to leave the city in a week. However, Ostrander said Wednesday that he is going to “press” Foster to finalize the interactive parcel viewer map before he leaves so the city can get it online “as soon as possible.”

Wednesday’s meeting of the Kenai City Council can be viewed on the city’s YouTube channel.

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

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