“Okay, but this is the very last one”…A Plat in six acts

This is the story of a plat and the platting process.

Most of the documents can be found in this packet:  packet-20171207 stone creek

The Setting

Bogard Road is becoming more and more congested because seven schools, including the three largest Mat-Su Borough high schools – Palmer, Colony, and Wasilla – are located along Bogard and Seldon and residents use this route as an alternative to the Palmer-Wasilla highway.  There are very few breaks in the traffic at peak travel times. Maybe all the roundabouts were not the best idea after all.

There is a lot of new development north of Bogard (between the Fishhooks and west of Trunk) and the residents of these new subdivisions take N. Engstrom to get to Bogard.  There is really no other easy way out of that area.

http://www.frontiersman.com/news/arterial-blockages/article_3cfe6a62-c5a8-11e7-a3f6-033d11163583.html

The Players

Developer Jess Hall (It seems like he has developed almost ALL of the subdivisions in the Valley over the past 30 years.)

The Kerttula family (Politicians/Gov’t leaders Jay and his daughter Beth)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Kerttula

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beth_Kerttula

The Platting Board

MSB Manager John Moosey

MSB Platting and Planning and Dept of Public Works Staffers

The Story 

  1.  Act One – The Stone Creek Subdivision’s Master Plan was approved by the Platting Board on June 4, 2015.  Developer Jess Hall and land owner Jalmar Kerttula petitioned to develop a subdivision of 150 lots on a parcel of land located off of N. Engstrom (containing 165 acres) to be known as “Stone Creek.”  The subdivision will be created in five phases.

 

Note: It is very sad that the Kerttula farm was subdivided. (A friend tells me that this was not their main farm; it may have been hayfields.)

http://snrenews.blogspot.com/2008/08/dedication-of-kerttula-hall.html

2.  Act Two – Fast forward two and a half years.  Stone Creek Phase 6.  The Kerttula Joint Revocable Trust makes a request to create 20 more lots to the east of the existing Stone Creek subdivision.  The Platting Board will hear the case at their October 19, 2017 meeting.

According to the “Staff Review and Recommendations” report, there are some concerns with the proposed plat.

The MSB Dept of Public Works states that “N. Engstrom Road has far exceeded the traffic volume for which it was designed and constructed.  No new subdivisions should be allowed to record until N. Engstrom and its intersection at E. Bogard is upgraded OR another collector road is constructed to connect the area to (the east) N. Trunk or N. Palmer Fishhook.”

Some neighbors commented: “..there is a dire traffic issue that MUST be addressed before someone is seriously hurt. There are numerous new subdivisions in this area and the increased traffic on Engstrom Road has led to very unsafe conditions for motorists trying to turn onto Bogard Road from Engstrom.”  “The traffic on Engstrom Road has gotten considerably heavier since Mr. Kerttula’s land was subdivided…Dangerous intersection.”

Nevertheless, the MSB Staff recommends approval of the plat.

3. Act Three – The Platting Board, in a close vote, denies the plat at their Oct 19th meeting.

The Platting Board has numerous concerns re: traffic congestion and safety.  They agree with the DPW Engineer.  “The Platting Board needs the Assembly, DOT, and/or anyone else to weigh in and provide some projection for fixing this issue prior to any further development impacting this severe traffic issue.” They send a formal notice of their denial with their findings to the Kerttula Join Revocable Trust.

4.  Act Four – The MSB Manager gets involved.  The Manager’s memo does not explain exactly what (or who) prompted him to request reconsideration of the Platting Board’s decision denying the Stone Creek Phase 6 plat. However, this memo puts the Platting Board in its place. “It is not in the purview of the Platting Board to halt development in any area of the Borough, as long as the proposed subdivision meets the requirements of Title 43.”

Scan_20180307 (6)

5.  Act Five – At their November 2nd, 2017, meeting, the Platting Board discusses the reconsideration request.  “The board would like legal counsel before the reconsideration is heard.”  According to the meeting minutes, “the motion passed with all in favor.” It is unclear whether this means the request for legal counsel passed or the request for reconsideration passed. In any case, the Stone Creek Plat does get set for another hearing.

Scan_20180307 (7)

6.  Act Six – The Platting Board reviews the proposed Stone Creek Plat again at their December 7, 2017 meeting.   The MSB staff has submitted a new and improved “Staff Review and Recommendations” report.

 

The gist of the new and improved recommendations is  – Well – even though the Department of Public Works is requesting that the the Bogard and N. Engstrom intersection be fixed before this plat (or any more plats) are allowed – we have asked the State to fund a fix for the Bogard/Engstrom intersection problem and thus, one alternative is to allow this plat to go through – but this should be the very last one until the intersection project is complete.  Also, the developer needs to put a right of way heading east out of the subdivision (so that in the future, if there is a way to connect the subdivision to Trunk, there is a ROW there.)

Beth Kerttula and Jess Hall both attended the meeting. Ms. Kerttula thanked the staff and the platting board for their service.  Jess Hall summarized the changes to the project and stated that he is ready to move forward with the project.

The Platting Board approves the plat.

 

 

 

 

 

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