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

Alan Parks is a Homer resident and commercial fisher. (Courtesy photo)
Voices of the Peninsula: HB 52 would hurt commercial fishing and community

Upper Cook Inlet fishing families have been hit hard by ongoing politics

Opinion: The buck stops at the top

Shared mistakes of Dunleavy and Biden.

A sign welcomes people to Kenai United Methodist Church on Monday, Sept. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
It’s time for a federal law against LGBTQ discrimination

When my wife and I decided to move to Alaska, we wondered if we would be welcome in our new neighborhood.

Terri Spigelmyer. (Photo provided)
Pay It Forward: Instilling volunteerism in the next generation

We hope to have instilled in our children empathy, cultural awareness, long-term planning and the selflessness of helping others

Hal Shepherd in an undated photo taken near Homer, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Hal Shepherd.)
Point of View: Election integrity or right-wing power grab?

Dr. King would be appalled at what is happening today

Nancy HIllstrand. (Photo provided)
Point of View: Trail Lakes is the sockeye salmon hero, not Tutka Bay

Tutka hatchery produces a pink salmon monoculture desecrating Kachemak Bay State Park and Critical Habitat Area as a feed lot

A map of Kachemak Bay State Park shows proposed land additions A, B and C in House Bill 52 and the Tutka Bay Lagoon Hatchery. (Map courtesy of Alaska State Parks)
Opinion: Rep. Vance’s bill is anti-fishermen

House Bill 52 burdens 98.5% of Cook Inlet fishermen.

A sign designates a vote center during the recent municipal election. The center offered a spot for voters to drop off ballots or fill a ballot out in person. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The failure of mail-in voting

The argument that mail-in balloting increases voter participation never impressed me

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Alaska Voices: Break the cycle of failure, debt in 2022

Today, all Americans are coerced, embarrassed or otherwise influenced into one of two old political parties

Most Read