KENAI, Alaska (AP) — A private resident has been awarded a small piece of land in Seward after much debate over the property’s location in a flood plain.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly approved the sale to Dean Carl, who tried to buy the land in 1994 and then made another request this year, The Peninsula Clarion reported Sunday.
Carl said he is planning to build a house on the land he owns now and only wants to purchase the neighboring borough land to build a longer driveway.
“My driveway is at the north end of the guardrail . and when you turn into my driveway, especially at night, you’re always wondering when you’re going to tear the side out of your truck or car,” Carl said. “Also, all the accidents that happen in front of the Pit Bar — I’ve seen a few of them. This would put my driveway at the far north end of their property. It puts it in more view.”
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Assembly member Kenn Carpenter brought forward the proposal for the sale, calling Carl’s current driveway a public safety issue. He also said the property has not flooded in any of the recent flood events.
“I feel strongly that we should sell this piece of property to him,” he said. “It’s not going to do me any good except that it’s going to make that driveway a lot safer . if he develops it, which he can, he can bring it up to the level that’s requested by the borough.”
Opposition centered on the borough’s flood mitigation plan, which discourages development within floodplains. Floods are frequent in Seward and the surrounding area, which is built on gravelly soil deposited by rivers and creeks.
“The magnitude of the flooding Seward has been historically high,” according to the mitigation plan. “Debris and surge-release flooding will continue to be a problem due to the topography and traditional weather patterns of the area.”
The borough Planning Commission recommended denial by unanimous consent, while the Seward/Bear Creek Flood Service Area supported it.
Willy Dunne was the only Assembly member who voted against the sale.
“I’m not strongly opposed to this but I think we should not take lightly the planning commission’s decision against it, and it does appear that a solution could be obtained with an easement rather than a sale,” Dunne said.
Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com