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

A “Vote Here” sign is seen at the City of Kenai building on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Voices of the Peninsula: Get out there and Vote!

The League of Women Voters on the Kenai and Kenai Peninsula Votes created this voter guide for the mayoral election

Taz Tally. (Photo by Christina Whiting/courtesy)
Point of View: I stand with drag queens

I changed my perspective when I saw my first drag queen show in Montreal in 1964

U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka and former President Donald Trump stand on stage during a July 2022 rally in Anchorage. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Tshibaka’s insincere defense of democracy

There are a lot of possible explanations why fewer votes were cast last November

Opinion: Humanism and the billionaire class

Compromise is the right thing to do and they should do it.

Opinion: The challenged truths of 3 elected representatives

“Politicians lying is nothing new.”

This photo shows the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The wrong way to define demand

And as glaciers go, the Mendenhall is only a minor attraction.

Zachary Hamilton (Courtesy photo)
Borough mayoral candidate: ‘The best is yet to come’

Zachary Hamilton is running for Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor in the special election

Love, INC in Soldotna, Alaska, provides homelessness prevention and housing services to people on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: COVID relief funds help homeless children in Alaska

We need to sustain this kind of investment.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Alaska must act now to capitalize on carbon markets

Alaska has vast forests and coastlines that can provide natural carbon management

Opinion: MLK Day clinics offered in the ‘spirit of service and advocacy for equality and social justice’

Attorneys across the state will be spending their holiday as “A Day On, Not a Day Off”

The M/V Tustumena comes into Homer after spending the day in Seldovia in 2010. (Homer News File)
Opinion: New federal funding could aid Alaska Marine Highway System

The evidence is clear that the AMHS is in grave danger of failing and moving into Alaska’s history books

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’ve seen the union difference

As a community we can show solidarity…