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On Tuesday, Sep. 7, the Seward Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on a resolution recommending to Kenai Peninsula Borough approval of the preliminary right of way acquisition plat in order to facilitate DOT construction efforts involving the removal of the longer of the airport’s two runways, along with the extension of the shorter. The plan, controversial among many citizens, is designed to protect the airport from runway flooding occurring periodically from the Resurrection River, but critics say an alternative approach preserving the long runway is highly preferable.

Critics of the plan take exception to several of the proposed provisions, with issues ranging from ecological and safety concerns to the prospect that a shorter runway will prohibit larger cargo planes from delivering crucial supplies in the event of a natural disaster akin to the 1964 earthquake. Others have expressed frustration that the resolution seems to be moving forward in direct opposition to the will of the people.

“They just don’t care what the people of Seward want,” said Glacier Towing & Recovery owner Leif Olson. “Every single meeting, everybody’s saying, ’No, no, we don’t want that,’ and they’re just doing what they want anyway. I’m trying to figure out why. What is the end game for them?” 

Initially before the commission in late July, the resolution was later amended to reflect recommendations made from a joint work session between Port and Commerce Advisory Board, P&Z and the Seward-Bear Creek Flood Service Area Board. Now returning to the P&Z commission, the matter will again be subjected to public hearing on September 7 at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers before advancing to the borough for an ultimate ruling. Those interested in signing up to speak at the hearing may sign up at the beginning of the meeting or contact the city clerk’s office at (907) 224-4046.