Salcha-Badger Road Area Plan finalized, community plan for growth from Eielson’s F-35’s

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Fairbanks North Star Borough has finalized the Salcha-Badger Road Area Plan, which provides guidance on the future of an area that has seen a lot of growth in population in the borough. It will see more growth with two new squadrons of F-35’s at Eielson Air Force Base which will bring around 3,300 new residents to the area.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough has finalized the Salcha-Badger Road Area Plan, which provides guidance on the future of an area that has seen a lot of growth in population in the borough. (Photo courtesy of Fairbanks North Star Borough)

“It’s a specific area plan for the North Pole, Badger Road area, all the way down to Salcha, really what it is, is a separate plan that really gave that community the opportunity to envision and value what’s important for that community in guiding growth for future development,” said Kellen Spillman, deputy director of community planning for the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Spillman says by state statute, every community has to have a comprehensive plan. “This is one of our first area plans for a community but it would guide future growth, it would guide transportation improvements in the area, it would guide future land use actions, not just construction but maybe future zoning actions in the area that have to be consistent with that plan.”

Although this area has been the fastest growing area in the borough, the main reason create this plan now is due to the increase in residents from the build up at Eielson. Spillman says with all of the growth the Badger Road area has seen, there have been some transportation conflicts, and some land use conflicts.

Spillman says the plan is already being used and some of their research is being used by the Fairbanks Area Surface Transportation or FAST planning to plan some transportation improvements in the area. One aspect they are considering is more bicycle and pedestrian facilities in the Badger Road area, looking at Nelson Road, Woll Road, and Bradway Road, with potential improvements in the next couple of years.

With the expansion of the water system in North Pole, Spillman said is a huge opportunity for the borough to look at minimum lot sizes, possibly having lots smaller than one acre, since there will be piped water in the area.

The number one issue brought up by residents in the area was trails in the area, which Spillman says the Badger Road area is lacking in recreational trails compared to other areas in the community like Salcha.

Agnew Beck Consulting was contracted by the borough to help with this project, and Shelly Wade was the project manager and said they were very happy with the level of participation from the community. “We really tried to connect directly with residents in any way possible, to get their perspective and hear what their priorities are, for today and also for the future of their community and for the Salcha Badger Road area,” said Wade.

Due to this participation, Wade says the plan accurately reflects what area residents would like to see in their community’s future and what they clearly value today.

She says personal freedom was really valued by the community and is expressed in the plan, “it really is kind of uniquely Alaskan, but really uniquely Salcha Badger Road area perspective, so any future implementation should really look back to the vision of the plan.”

Spillman wants the community to know that this plan is not zoning, it’s a long term plan for the area so any additional implementation or new zoning or improvements would go through a separate public process before the assembly.

For more information: http://salchabadgerplan.com/

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