Borough forms gravel pit working group

A group of local government officials, members of the public and gravel pit operators will start gathering to overhaul borough laws on material extraction sites.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly at its Tuesday meeting approved the formation of a work group at to work on updates to the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s regulations on gravel pits. The group of eight — which will include two borough assembly members, two members of the public, two members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission and two material site industry members — will work on recommendations to present to the assembly, administration and Planning Commission by June 5.

The assembly will appoint the two members to serve on the work group, and the rest will be appointed by the mayor, according to the resolution establishing the work group.

A memo dated Jan. 5 from Borough Planning Director Max Best to the assembly states that the work group would consider the current material site permit process and consider whether changes should be made.

“Since (2006) the borough population has increased as has the number of material sites,” he wrote. “Numerous provisions in the material site ordinance can be clarified for the operators, public, staff and the Planning Commission. Also, when a material site permit is issued, members of the public have expressed concerns about dust, noise, water and other negative secondary impacts associated with material sites.”

The borough Planning Department’s has been working on revisions to the borough code regulating gravel pits for nearly a year, Best said during the assembly’s Lands Committee meeting Tuesday.

The code was last update in 2006, said Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce during the meeting. The revision added some permitting requirements and procedures for operators, in part driven by concerns from residents who lived near gravel pit sites. In the borough outside the cities, there are few siting restrictions for gravel pits because there is no broad zoning code for residential or industrial areas. Many homeowners in the borough live a few doors down from a gravel pit. When the Planning Commission considers approval for the conditional use permits gravel pit owners need before they can start operating, neighbors frequently testify at meetings to object or express concerns to the Planning Department staff about impacts on property value, neighborhood character and traffic safety, among other concerns.

In answer to a question from Assembly Member Willy Dunne, Best said there would not be any budget associated with the work group, as it will be composed of volunteers.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Data from the state of Alaska show a steep increase in COVID-19 cases in January 2022. (Department of Health and Social Services)
Omicron drives COVID spike in Alaska as officials point to decreasing cases in eastern US

On Friday, the seven-day average number of daily cases skyrocketed to 2,234.6 per 100,000 people

Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire
Dan Blanchard, CEO of UnCruise Adventures, stands in front of a ship on May 14, 2021.
Smooth sailing for the 2022 season?

Cautious optimism reigns, but operators say it’s too early to tell.

Former Alaska Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Bakalar speaks a news conference on Jan. 10, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska, after she sued the state. A federal judge on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, ruled that Bakalar was wrongfully terminated by the then-new administration of Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy for violating her freedom of speech rights. (AP File Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
Judge sides with attorney who alleged wrongful firing

Alaska judge says the firing violated free speech and associational rights under the U.S. and state constitutions.

Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel (left) swears in student representative Silas Thibodeau at the Kenai City Council meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai junior sworn in as council student rep

Thibodeau says he wants to focus on inclusivity and kindness during his term

Branden Bornemann, executive director of the Kenai Watershed Forum, celebrates the 25th anniversary of the forum on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘A voice for this river’

Forum reflects on 25 years protecting peninsula watershed

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Earthquake Center provides information on a 5.1 magnitude earthquake that struck at approximately 8:18 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. The quake struck approximately 17 miles southeast of Redoubt volcano or 41 miles southwest of Kenai, Alaska, at a depth of 72.8 miles. (Screenshot)
Quake near Redoubt shakes peninsula

The quake was centered 41 miles southwest of Kenai.

Most Read