PALMER — A fight is brewing over on 49th State Street as neighbors worry what a new high-density subdivision will mean for their property.

You can see the subdivision in question if you peer through the trees heading north from the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. It’s the 20-acres on the right after the car wash.

Chuck Kaucic, who owns property bordering the development, said he’s concerned.  

“You’re going to put over 500 people in this 19.55-acre parcel?” he asked.

So far, Kaucic said he’s been frustrated with the Mat-Su Borough’s process, which hasn’t required the developer to study the traffic impacts or plan for storm water runoff. That last one is of particular concern for Kaucic.

“I’m the lowest property on the east side and they have a major drainage toward my property, and I already have a drainage problem,” said Kaucic, who is also the district manager for the Wasilla Soil and Water Conservation District.

In a letter to the borough’s platting commission, Eric Henderson brings up another concern. He’s owner of Supersuds Car Wash on the corner of 49th State Street and the Palmer-Wasilla Highway.

“The proposed subdivision will infringe on the availability of water that I need to run my business,” he said.

He has rights to draw 5,000 gallons a day from the aquifer.

“These rights are registered with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and renewed annually,” Henderson said.

Unknown is whether the aquifer could supply enough water for Henderson, the other subdivisions in the area as well as an additional 500 new people.

Wayne Willett, another neighbor, worries in a letter to the platting board about possible well contamination from such a large septic system operating so close to his well.

“I am concerned that the sewage will drain straight into our water supply,” he said.

The platting board was the most recent borough body to sign off on the subdivision plan.

Kaucic said he testified there and got the sense that the commissioners’ hands were tied by statute, that they weren’t allowed to make note of many of the residents’ concerns.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is the next step for the subdivision plan. It will look at the plan for a community well for the buildings and for septic.

Kaucic said there are other things no one’s considering. What kind of impact will the development have on an already busy 49th State Street? How about the schools?

“There was no quality of life at all in their analyses,” he said of the platting board.

He said he doesn’t think this subdivision is in the right place and fears it could come to resemble another notoriously poorly planned subdivision.

“I don’t mind a development there,” he said. “I do mind a Williwaw subdivision.”

Contact reporter Andrew Wellner at or 352-2270.

(9) comments

Ivan Putski
Ivan Putski

Has anyone seen the Traffic Impact Analysis for this site? I'd be curious where they plan on putting all of the trips that are generated from this development.


The assembly representative for this district will be up for election next fall. Another one of the good ol boys that stood by and let them unravel the subdivision code. Remains to be seen if he will run again but you can be sure the "owned by business" and "develop" at any costs folks will be ready with a back up singer to continue their quest. And since the valley seems content to have less than 10% of us vote our assembly in dont expect anything to change. [sad]

Matsu Watchdog
Matsu Watchdog

Another neighborhood that is the casualty of incredibly poor leadership and decisions made by our Borough Assembly.

The "Open for Business" mantra touted by the Mat-Su Business Alliance and the Assembly results in more impacts to us all, and in the long run, more costs to our wallets.

With the projected population in the Valley continuing its rapid expansion, our elected officials have got to take their heads out of the sand and pay attention to public health and safety, and quality of life.


I think that the Assembly just repealed a subdivision code. I can't remember which Assembly person led the charge to get rid of it. It was one of the "C" names so it must have been Colligan or Colver. Maybe both. A good place to start the phone calls to anyways.


My understanding, and I may be wrong, is that there is an appeal process that the neighbors can take. It seems to me that the only thing missing from this development is a flood area. Or is it? (remember last week the subdivision in Wasilla that flooded that was supposedly not in a flood area).That many roofs and that much pavement on roads and driveways will almost certainly create problems for drainage towards the neighbors and/or into the right of way. According to the MSB guy that maintains my road the gravely soils may drain well now but most drainage problems occur in the mid-winter thaw when all is frozen.Who controls drainage into the right of way? Maybe all the neighbors should file for water rights. Maybe go complain to the Assembly and Mayor and make them listen to your plight. At least call all of them personally- not just your own representative whoever that is. Dense development is needed to avoid sprawl but maybe that is not a good location.They will probably need a new tower to handle the increased cell traffic as well. I guess there are no land use regulations here either that would protect peoples constitutionally created property rights.


Progress and development, sometimes two different meanings. I wouldn't even call this project a subdivision. It sounds more like a warehouse to stack people in compartments for the sole purpose of volume economics. Where do all the kids go to get out of their cage? Sewage? Crime?.....

This story is truly one of the most negative aspects to irresponsible planning and development. I'd rather live next to a gravel pit and at least have some space then border a human sardine camp.

Might want to go talk to the developer and discuss your concerns before they get too far into the process. Trying to get anything out of the borough is pretty much a waste of time.


Voters had the power to change the direction of this assembly into a more thoughtful body and they blew it. Same good ol boy system back in the saddle by fear mongering and bullying people into thinking any planning is at their demise. THey will gladly stand by and watch this happen and say their hands are tied and the open market will fix it..their answer to everything. Not a prayer in the world for responsible development..might as well sell whats left to developers to build strip malls from one corner to the other of the borough.


Another product of your current corrupt assembly that is doing all it can to eliminate any rules that might protect an existing homeowner from the actions of a developer, whether it be towers, resource extraction, or subdivisions.

You think they give a hoot about your quality of life. They care about making a buck (or their friends a buck).

That is great that you have water rights, but it is unlikely the state will actually enforce anything if your well dries up or the car wash business has to go out of business (unless the owner contributed generously to some political campaigns).

Your concerns are valid, and hopefully someone will actually listen, besides a few of us Frontiersman readers that have no power to help.

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