Talkeetna Community Council briefs, May 7th, 2012

SPUD ordinance governing roadside tree clearing, Public Toilets, Road Service Area changes, Susitna-Watana Dam

The Talkeetna Community Council held its May meeting Monday night at the Elementary School. It was an active meeting, with several resolutions passed to write letters in support of a number of issues within the borough.
In Brief: the council and audience discussed Talkeetna’s Special Use District, or SPUD regulations, and how they could be enforced. Talkeetna has a codified number of regulations designed to preserve the character of the area. One of the codes calls for property owners along the Spur Road to maintain a vegetative buffer between their property and the Spur Road’s right of way. The vegetative buffer, a minimum 25 feet of natural brush and trees, has been clear cut at several sites along the spur road, roughly between Answer Creek at mile 5 and Comsat road.

The council agreed to create a committee to come up with an awareness campaign that would remind land owners of the SPUD guidelines. They also plan to send a letter to the Borough Assembly urging them not to eliminate funding for the office of Code Compliance, which has been stripped in the proposed 2013 budget, which is currently in deliberations.

The landowner who recently cleared the property adjacent to the Railroad Depot just outside of downtown Talkeetna was in attendance at the meeting. David Tisch introduced himself to the council and laid out his plans for the newly cleared lot. Tisch plans on making a parking lot at the site, with 80 spots for cars and trucks, and 13 spots for buses and RVs. There will also be bicycle rentals at the location, and Tish’s goal is to divert parking away from downtown and alleviate summer time traffic congestion. Tisch also said he would like to donate a portion of his property for public use toilets, and had already contacted the Borough to negotiate a transfer. The council welcomed the idea of additional toilets that could meet some of the demands of summer visitors, and encouraged Tisch to contact the Parks Advisory Committee, who have been working with he borough to come up with a solution to increase the flow of public facilities.

The council discussed the proposed 2013 Mat Su Borough Budget, now being deliberated by the Assembly. The Council agreed to send comment to the assembly that they would rather see the Code Compliance office continue to receive funding. Another item in the budget the council will ask for funding is the Health and Human Services Matching Grant, which is likewise stripped in the proposed budget. The Health and Human Services Matching Grant is intended to enhance rural access to health care.

The Council agreed to send a letter to Assemblyman Vern Halter, Borough Manager John Moosey, and Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss concerning a change in Road Service Area allocations. Christiansen Lake Road could possibly be transferred from State maintenance to Borough Maintenance as part of a swap with the state for maintenance responsibilities for Seward Meridian Parkway in Wasilla. The transfer of a state maintained road to the borough for maintenance would balance that change. The roughly one- and a half-mile Christiansen Lake road is expected to cost 75-hundred dollars annually, which accounts for a quarter of the area’s maintenance budget.  The Borough-wide Road Service Board calls the plan under consideration would place the burden of the transfer solely on the local Road Service Area, rather than being distributed across several Areas borough wide.

And finally, the council agreed to submit comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in response to the Scoping Documents for the proposed Susitna-Watana Dam. The comments will reflect the concerns identified during the scoping hearings held in Talkeetna in March. The comment period for the Scoping documents has been extended until May 31st.

KTNA News will have follow-ups on these stories as they continue to develop.

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