Point MacKenzie Townsite Plan Raises Community Ire

 The Point MacKenzie community council met on Wednesday evening in a special meeting to consider the proposed Point MacKenzie townsite, which was approved by the Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly earlier this year

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Tammy Hoerauff ,  secretary of the Point MacKenzie community council, says that the townsite project has raised concerns in the community

 “We voted unanimously against the proposed townsite on Alsop Road, as it directly affects both the Goose Bay and Susitna Flats Game Refuges. There is a major wildlife corridor that would be affected, and the wildlife in our area would be completely devastated by a townsite there. “

The community council’s resolution requests the Matanuska Susitna Borough halt the the townsite process so that the public is able to participate.

Concerns were raised about a wildife protection corridor and about the watershed, which would be impacted by gravel needed to fill wetlands for housing if the townsite is established.

The resolution for a townsite at Point MacKenzie was brought forward by Borough mayor Larry DeVilbiss in January. The Borough Assembly approved the resolution which suggests that the Point MacKenzie community council was in agreement with the idea. Hoeroff says that is not accurrate

“The wording in the resolution was inaccurate. It was not a unanimous vote, it was a majority vote, but also the fact that we weren’t aware that it was directly, the townsite map is directly over this area that we have for years been trying to protect. And it is documented back until, I believe 2001, if not 1999.”

Loren Driscoll, the Borough’s chief planner, says the Borough made a presentation of the Greater Point MacKenzie Development Plan at this week’s community council meeting, and that the townsite is only a small portion of that plan.

“Oh, I definitely think there is an opportunity for flexibility here.”

Driscoll says the Borough has been working on the townsite for several months, but the process is far from complete

“This is a unique piece of property that’ s in a highly desired area. It’s all Borough owned property, and it is our first attempt to really plan a community ahead of time. And because it is on all Borough owned land, the Assembly has given us the go ahead to do that. And the nice thing with being able to plan ahead is we do get to consider things like wildlife corridors and wetlands and make sure that we can achieve all the ideals. “

Driscoll says the maps her department has designed for the townsite are in the very initial stages, and do not represent a final plan.

Other concerns raised at the community council meeting indicate possible conflicts of the townsite plan with the Point MacKenzie comprehensive plan, which was passed by the Borough Assembly two years ago.  Driscoll says there is no deadline for public comment concerning the proposed townsite