Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Borough Planning Director Max Best speaks about the AK LNG Project's Kenai Spur Highway relocation plans on Thursday, Jan. 21 to a crowd at the Nikiski Recreation Center.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Borough Planning Director Max Best speaks about the AK LNG Project's Kenai Spur Highway relocation plans on Thursday, Jan. 21 to a crowd at the Nikiski Recreation Center.

Spur Highway reroute will need Kenai Peninsula Borough approval

When the Alaska LNG project moves the Kenai Spur Highway to accommodate the footprint of the liquefaction and export terminal it plans to build near the location of the current ConocoPhillips LNG terminal in Nikiski, it will have to receive permissions from the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Department as well as from the state. Borough Planning Director Max Best told Nikiski residents how his department will inspect the plan during a Thursday meeting at the Nikiski Recreation Center.

Best said the Borough had not created a formal list of criteria for approving the highway route, but that it would have to follow state and borough standards, and would be approved by the Borough Planning Commission after going through Planning Department staff.

“Chapter 20 of the (borough) code lines out the processes of what you need to do to subdivide land and or vacate or rededicate,” Best said in an interview after the talk. “I told them, ‘There’s the code. Those are the things you have to consider when you reroute. When you’re buying properties, make sure you consider the code, then come to me and make sure you’ve considered all those things and taken care of them.”

Larry Persily, borough mayor Mike Navarre’s special assistant for oil and gas, said AK LNG will spend 2016 deciding among the 11 or so proposed routes for the road.

“They would like, in a perfect world, to have their preferred route by the end of 2016, do land acquisition in 2017, and construction in 2018,” Persily said.

Although presently there is only speculation about the highway’s route, Best said it would likely avoid dense population concentrations like the area enclosed by Miller Loop Road. At least three of the currently proposed routes cut through heavily inhabited areas along Miller Loop.

“It’s more populated, it’s more of a neighborhood than the other routes,” Best said of the Miller Loop area. “The other routes are more large-acreage parcels that wouldn’t be impacted to the extent that those smaller lots with homes on them would.”

Best said it would be beneficial for LNG representatives to work with Borough staff as closely as they could as soon as they could, because of the road relocation’s complexities.

“Access to every single parcel has to be considered,” Best said. “… There are physical barriers, lakes and swamps, that have to be considered, too. It’s a pretty big deal when you start slicing something up through the middle of something that’s kind of been evolving for 50 years. Some my advice will be for them to come to the planning division early on and discuss those options with us to minimize the impact to the people over there.”

Thursday’s meeting was part of a monthly series of public meetings on the LNG Project that Persily has hosted at the Nikiski Recreation Center. Persily said a meeting would be held in February if there are new developments or concerns to discuss.

 

Reach Ben Boettger at ben.boettger@peninsulaclarion.com.

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