Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai council set to decide on planning and zoning remote access rules

The legislation being considered, if approved, would replace the word “telephonic” with “remote electronic.”

Kenai City Council members are set to decide during their Wednesday night meeting whether to let the city’s planning and zoning commissioners participate in meetings electronically — as opposed to telephonically.

The legislation being considered, if approved, would replace the word “telephonic” with “remote electronic” as it relates to participation during planning and zoning meetings in the section of city code that describes remote participation at those meetings.

Multiple rules about remote participation in public meetings were suspended for municipalities across the peninsula and around the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including at the City of Kenai.

City councils, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education have grappled with whether or not to offer remote participation, such as through Zoom, beyond the pandemic.

Kenai Planning Director Ryan Foster wrote in an Oct. 25 memo to the city council that allowing remote video participation allowed for a “better” experience for both the person attending remotely and the people attending in person. Members of the Kenai Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the move during their Oct. 13 meeting, Foster wrote.

“Providing virtual remote electronic participation has proved to provide a better experience for the Commission member participating remotely and those participating in-person,” the legislation says.

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

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

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