The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix Log 

Council, residents take aim at housing needs


The residents of Seward took a huge step toward identifying and addressing a severe shortage of seasonal and transitional (long-term) housing on Monday afternoon. Local residents met with members of the Seward City Council to draft a rough outline of the issues and limitations the community faces.

Foremost among the issues facing the city is the expense of connecting utilities - electrical, water, sewer, etc. - to prospective properties. City officials agreed that extending utility services to development projects is expensive. At a recent meeting, Seward Assistant City Manager Ron Long estimated that the cost for extending utility services could be "roughly" $250 per foot.

During the meeting, Long said local developers could alleviate some of the front-end costs of adding utilities to a property by forming Special Assessment Districts. Through that, a developer could have the cost associated with extending services to multiple properties spread out over a longer period of time. Those costs could then be recouped through the sale of the properties.

Residents also touched on other issues facing the community, including the proliferation of vacant lots that are not being utilized, as well as the sub-standard housing conditions being used by seasonal workers.

"The trouble is there isn't a lot of extra land out there," Long said.

To combat the shortage of seasonal housing, residents attending the meeting suggested local businesses co-op to build acceptable bunkhouses or other suitable sites.

The Seward City Council will hold a two-part work session on the housing issue on July 11. Beginning at 5 p.m., the council will meet with residents on needs associated with seasonal housing. They will discuss transitional (long term) needs beginning at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Community Room at the Seward Community Library & Museum.


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