Lawton Acres – Here we go again!

Ref: November 3rd article Kenai council manages land in Clarion

This is at least the THIRD time this year the city of Kenai has brought up Lawton Acres. Since about 1985 the residents have said “NO!” to the commercial development of this city owned property that is zoned conservation and contains a neighborhood park. What does the city not understand about “NO!”?

Maybe the new Mayor and council will break with tradition and listen to the citizens. The council should just say “NO!” I hope they do, but I’m not holding my breath, are you?

I don’t understand why a business would want to move to a neighborhood where the neighbors don’t want them. Many times the business owner does not live in the neighborhood, or even in Kenai.

It is obvious that going to Planning and Zoning Commission, and City Council meetings is ineffective. Most citizens are ignored.

Maybe it is time to start looking for more effective ways for citizens to “work” with those involved.

Here are a few suggestions:

Write letters to the business owner
Email, fax, or phone the business owner
Letters to the Clarion editor
Call Soundoff
Picket the business
Boycott the business
Might a law suit be in order?

We should not have to resort to measures such as these to get the city council to work with us, but what choice so we have?

What do you think?

For more information go to or email


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Community Participation


In 2004 there were about ten committees and commissions reporting on a regular basis. These would change over the years as things changed in the city. However, in the last few years the number of committee and commissions have been reduced. This means that the number of citizens involved in city government has been reduced.


In January of 2014 a council work session was held to deal with the commissions. The administration wanted to reduce the number of commissions even further. The council said no, but the reductions have continued. In 2015 the Library commission was suspended. There has been one or two attempts at getting rid of the Harbor commission. These failed, but the council has not been supporting the harbor commission, and has been reducing the commission’s responsibilities.

In recent years there has been an an ongoing process of reducing the general public’s access and input to city government and putting power in the hands of fewer and fewer bureaucrats and politicians.

Things need to change!

I will work to reverse this trend. I will work to make the harbor commission an effective body to do the job they are suppose to do – advising the council. I will determine if anyone is interested in reviving the Library commission. I will work to make the commissions effective citizen advisory bodies.

I will also work with the Chamber of Commerce and the business community to develop a business advisory committee that the council will listen to. Businesses know what businesses need, not the bureaucrats and politicians.

I will work with residents to develop one or more community councils to advise the council. Citizens, not bureaucrats and politicians, know what they want in their neighborhoods.

Neither the business advisory committee nor the community councils will be formed or run by city bureaucrats or politicians, but by the businesses and residents themselves. They will not be answerable to the council, the council will be answerable to them, as it should be.

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Candidate Statement

Here are some of the issues I will work for:

Term limits for city council and Mayor.

Needed to encourage new blood in the city government. Also, incumbency carries with it name recognition, contact, sources of funds, and other advantages new comers son’t have.

Tax or spending cap with changes approved by voters.

With the state budget situation, the city will be receiving less money from the state. W need to make sure the city does not compensate by raising taxes or spending unless those that pay the bill agree. Also, the current administration and council has put the city into a good financial condition, and with a new city manager and council, we need to make sure it stays that way.

Public meeting formats to encourage citizen participation.

The council should answer questions from the public. The public should be allowed to participate in floor debates and discussions.

Use of technology to encourage public participation and to better inform public.

Use of facebook as a TWO-WAY communication with public. Implementation of iLegislate and ecomments. More access to public records on website.

Community Council of residents to advice council.

A business council and separate residents community council to advise the city council. These councils would be formed and run by businesses and residents themselves, not bureaucrats and politicians.

Planning and Zoning Commission that is responsive to neighborhood residents.

Outdoor Event Park – is now the time? Let voters decide.

Neighborhood buffer zones should be maintained, not developed.

Since the 70’s and 80’s the residents have said keep Lawton Acres and the strip of trees along Waker Lane as buffer zones. They have also wanted buffer zones by the airport. The planners and politicians have refused to accept this and have over and over and over tried to reclassify this land to develop it against the objections of the residents. ¬†When will the city realize that “NO” means “NO?”

Do we want to be funding nonprofits?

Should we be giving money and land to non profits? The council voted to give a $32,000 piece of land to the Kenai Performers. Did they even try to raise funds to purchase land from the public? If they did and the public did not voluntarily give them the money or land, why should the council. This goes for all non profits that do not provide a service or product in return.

No urban sprawl along Spur Highway.

This is another case where the residents spoke and the planners and politicians refuse to listen. The voters not once, but twice said at the polls they did not want the Spur Highway classe as mixed use or commercial in any way. Yet in the current Comprehensive Plan, the city designated this for future development. NO MEANS NO!!!

Annual review and update of Comprehensive Plan with involvement of residents.

The Planning and Zoning Commission reviews and updates the Comprehensive Plan on a annual basis. This process should be more open to public participation. This can be accomplished by the business and residential community councils and with more public friendly meetings.

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