This November 21, 2015 shows the sign designating the unofficial border of Nikiski, Alaska. (Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion, file)

This November 21, 2015 shows the sign designating the unofficial border of Nikiski, Alaska. (Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion, file)

Local Boundary Commission extends comment period for Nikiski incorporation petition

Those with an interest in Nikiski’s petition to become a home-rule city have some more time to weigh in to the Local Boundary Commission, the state entity that will make the final decision.

The commission, under the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, announced a second extension of an additional public comment period on Wednesday, giving residents and interested parties until Aug. 22 to comment on the petition it accepted in December. An unincorporated community north of Kenai of about 4,600, Nikiski would become a city of 5,480 square miles stretching across the Cook Inlet and including about 5,900 people if it incorporated.

A preliminary report from the Local Boundary Commission released in May pointed out several issues making incorporation difficult for Nikiski. Mainly, it highlighted the sheer size of the proposed city — the boundaries follow the existing fire and emergency service area which includes the Inlet and the communities of Beluga and Tyonek — and claimed that the proposed city wouldn’t offer enough services not already being covered by the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

The report concluded that the petition drafted by Citizens for Nikiski Incorporated, a group of residents dedicated to studying and pursuing incorporation, did not meet enough of the standards for incorporation set by the commission.

Stacy Oliva and Paul Huber, co-vice chairs of Citizens for Nikiski Inc., said the preliminary report was surprising to the group and that members had expected a bit more guidance from the state level in regard to the petition if things needed to be amended before the preliminary report.

The large boundary, which the group maintains is feasible and supported by the four service areas in the community that bring in property taxes, is something group members are discussing. Huber cited examples of other communities with unique circumstances incorporating successfully into cities, such as the 27-square mile Edna Bay in 2013, which then had a population hovering around 60, according to the community’s petition.

“We knew it was large,” Huber said of the would-be city of Nikiski boundaries. “But you know, when you look at the state of Alaska, the state itself is large.

Both Huber and Oliva encouraged residents of the area to voice their opinions and ask questions.

“The main thing is for people to just get involved,” Oliva said. “Any time that we have a political process where the lay person can be involved … I encourage people to become involved. This is how we support our community, this is how we support our state.”

The Kenai Peninsula Borough and the combined Native Village of Tyonek and Tyonek Native Corporation submitted briefs to the Local Boundary Commission opposing the petition. There were, however, 28 public comments submitted in support, out of 30 total comments, according to the preliminary report.

The extended comment period ends at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 22. Comments may be sent to LBC@alaska.gov or to LBS staff, 550 W. 7th Ave., Ste. 1640, Anchorage, AK 99501.

Staff will then consider the comments and write a final report.

If the final report on the petition recommends an amendment or conditional approval of the petition, then another 14 days will be allowed for more written comments. According to the new schedule, the final report would be mailed out in October and a public hearing would be scheduled.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Alaska Rep. David Eastman, a Republican from Wasilla, sits at his desk on the Alaska House floor in Juneau, Alaska, on March 5, 2020. Alaska lawmakers are discussing whether to sanction Eastman who is also a member of the Oath Keepers far-right paramilitary organization according to the Anchorage Daily News. Eastman, who is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, confirmed with the Associated Press, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, that he joined the Oath Keepers a little over 12 years ago, “along with 38,000 others who have committed to honoring oaths we have taken.” (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
State lawmaker could be sanctioned over Oath Keeper ties

Eastman was identified as a “life member” of the Oath Keepers last year

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
As cases surge, public health officials contemplate how to live with virus

Contact tracing and data collection will have to be reworked if COVID is here to stay

Upper Cook Inlet Exclusive Economic Zone can be seen on this map provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Image via fisheries.noaa.gov)
Soldotna approves filing of EEZ lawsuit brief

The lawsuit seeks to reopen commercial salmon fishing in the Upper Cook Inlet Exclusive Economic Zone

University of Alaska Interim President Pat Pitney, bottom left, spoke to UA students in a virtual forum on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, and was joined by several UA administrators including UA Southeast President Karen Carey, bottom left, and UA Anchorage Vice Chancellor Bruce Schultz, top left. At top right, an American Sign Language professional provides translation services. (Screenshot)
UA President: University has turned a corner on funding

System sees modest increase in budget for first time in years

Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer; Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna; Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak and Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, spoke to reporters Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, immediately following Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s State of the State address. Members of the Senate Republican leadership said they appreciated the governor’s optimism, and hoped it signaled a better relationship between the administration and the Legislature. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Lawmakers welcome tone change in governor’s address

With caveats on financials, legislators optimistic about working together

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID deaths, hospitalizations climb statewide

The total number of statewide COVID deaths is nearly equivalent to the population of Funny River.

A fisher holds a reel on the Kenai River near Soldotna on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Restrictions on sport fishing announced

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced summer sport fishing regulations Wednesday

Community agencies administer social services to those in need during the Project Homeless Connect event Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘It’s nice to be able to help folks’

Project Homeless Connect offers services, supplies to those experiencing housing instability

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce attends the March 2, 2021, borough assembly meeting at the Betty J. Glick Assembly Chambers at the Borough Administration Building in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Former talk-show host to manage Pierce gubernatorial campaign

Jake Thompson is a former host of KSRM’s Tall, Dark and Handsome Show and Sound-off talk-show

Most Read