Controversial Anchor Point gravel pit gets permit for smaller operation

A controversial Anchor Point gravel pit earlier denied a conditional land-use permit by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission will proceed with a smaller, 2.5-acre administrative permit.

Landowner Emmit Trimble got tentative approval for what’s called a counter permit earlier this week and should receive the permit soon.

At its July 16 meeting, the planning commission denied on a 3-6 vote an application by Trimble to operate a 27.7-acre permit between Anchor Point’s main public beach access road to the north and neighborhoods on Kyllonen Drive, Echo Drive and Seaward Drive to the south. Trimble manages Beachcomber LLC, the company which would own the denied gravel pit. He said in July he plans to appeal the decision.

However, borough rules allow landowners to get administrative permits provided the gravel operation is no larger than 2.5 acres. That’s what Trimble did, said Planner Bruce Wall. A property owner can develop no more than 2.5 acres per lot, Wall said. The same rules apply, with a tougher provision that requires the pit to be 4 feet above the groundwater table instead of 2 feet. The pit would be in an area already disturbed, Wall said.

“In this particular case, he has that 2.5 acres tucked in a corner where there’s some vegetation for the required screening,” he said.

Trimble’s initial application raised controversy, with many neighbors complaining that the larger operation would disturb the quiet of the recreational area near the Anchor River and the Anchor Point beach. Some weren’t happy about the smaller operation.

“We’re in an uproar,” said Mike Brantley, owner of Anchor River Fly Fishing.

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