Editorial: Soldotna’s code updates will make the city more business friendly

  • Saturday, June 13, 2015 7:02pm
  • Opinion

Over the past few years, Soldotna city officials have emphasized a goal of making the city business-friendly. It’s one thing to say a city is accommodating to business development, but it’s another to take action that fosters business growth while watching out for the community’s interests.

This week, the Soldotna City Council took up changes in city code that would make it easier for mobile food vendors to operate inside city limits.

The rewrite of city code has been a year in the making, as the city administration has solicited input on how it issues permits. To this point, mobile food vendors have operated under special use permits, with restrictions, such as the number of days the business could operate, that discourage vendors from setting up shop in Soldotna.

Under new guidelines, mobile food vendors will still need to have a permit from the state Division of Environmental Health and be licensed to collect Kenai Peninsula Borough sales tax, but other restrictions would be eased. Business owners and city administrators say the current regulations are geared more toward special events — such as this weekend’s Kenai River Festival — or to traditional brick-and mortar establishments, rather than entrepreneurs looking to manage a full-time business operation.

Mobile food carts are adding a new dimension to the local dining experience, and in fact reflect a nation-wide trend. There are a number of food carts in the Soldotna area, dishing up everything from burgers to tacos to waffles to barbecue to Thai cuisine.

Some brick-and-mortar business owners weighed-in with the council with their concerns about the influx of mobile food businesses, so the issue is headed back to the city’s planning and zoning committee before it will be resolved.

However, making commonsense changes to city code to accommodate a growing type of business — while still requiring the business to be properly permitted — shows the city is following through on its goals of fostering business growth.

More in Opinion

Heidi Drygas, executive director of the 8,000-member Alaska State Employees Association, addresses a rally outside the Alaska State Capitol on Feb. 10, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Let’s stop the ‘Neglect. Panic. Repeat.’ cycle of public service delivery

The payroll section is one of several state agencies in crisis

This photo shows Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jim Cockrell. (Courtesy photo / Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)
Strengthening Alaska through service: Join the Alaska State Troopers

The law enforcement positions within the Department of Public Safety fill a critical need within our community

A tabletop voting booth is seen next to a ballot box at the Kenai city clerk’s office on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Last call to voice your vote!

We will see you at the polls Oct. 3

LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Addressing Kenai Peninsula’s education and public safety employee shortage

Many of our best and brightest educators take a hard and close look at the teacher’s retirement system in Alaska early in their careers and are stunned

Deven Mitchell, executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: Providing for generations of Alaskans

As a public endowment, the wealth of the Fund is the responsibility of every resident of the state

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney greet each other outside the chamber at the U.S. Capitol on April 5, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP file photo)
Opinion: Alaska’s senators and Mitt Romney

When newly elected Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, began his term five years… Continue reading

UAA Provost Denise Runge photographed outside the Administration and Humanities Building.
Opinion: UAA offers affordable and convenient pathways that prepare students for the next step

At UAA, we provide numerous academic programs designed to meet specific workforce needs

A line of voters runs out the door of the Diamond Ridge Voting Precinct at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in Homer, Alaska. Chamber Executive Director Brad Anderson said he had never seen the amount of people coming through the polling place. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
How many ways can you vote?

Multiple ballot options available to voters

Most Read