City resolution to oppose State’s use of eminent domain for Tundra Ridge Road project

A map of the area of H-Marker Lake and the proposed Location A that would connect BIA Road to Ptarmigan Road.

The City of Bethel will be considering a resolution that opposes the statewide transportation plan’s Tundra Ridge Road Project and the State’s use of Eminent domain. The issue is on the City Council’s March 9th, 2021 regular meeting consent agenda.

The City of Bethel supports an alternative, preferred route, listed as Location A in the image. This route avoids the need to commence eminent domain procedures against a property owner, which is the Polk family, and modifies the Ptarmigan Road intersection point to a location that is supported by the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Long Range Transportation Plan, Municipal Code and planning standards, says Resolution 21-03.

“Eminent domain should only be used if absolutely necessary to support the government’s function, and should not be utilized if alternative means for development are available and fiscally responsible,” Res. 21-03.

The City is in full support of and requests an amendment to the 2018-2021 Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan to reflect the alternate route as indicated below, at a budget of $9,300,000.

The City further requests, the State of Alaska Department of Transportation to work with the City to evaluate a solution amenable to each agency that avoids the difficult public maneuvering of taking land through eminent domain, support the community’s growth and minimize the harmful effects of poorly planned development (because of ease and expense).

The resolution is brought forth by City Manager Pete Williams.