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PHAB to mull parking expansion possibility: Potential project would involve former Bar Harbor Restaurant property

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The City of Ketchikan’s Port and Harbors Advisory Board on Tuesday is scheduled to review two issues related to parking areas near Bar Harbor South Ramp 2.

According to a memo by city Port and Harbors Director Steve Corporon, one issue is that a recent property survey indicates that the western portion of the Harbormaster Condominium complex extends about 9 feet onto City of Ketchikan along the entrance driveway to Bar Harbor South Ramp 2.

Although there was a belief that the Harbormaster Condominiums had received an easement for the area — which includes two parking spaces — a search of city records going back to the 1970s was unable to find evidence of an easement, according to the memo.

As such, the Harbormaster Condominiums Owners Association needed to apply for an easement or a revocable permit, according to the memo, which added that the city preferred a revocable permit.

The condo association board also was informed that Port and Harbors personnel intended to use the two parking spaces during an upcoming repair project involving the entrance to the Bar Harbor South Ramp 2 trestle. The spaces would be returned to use by the Harbormaster Condos after the project if the association “applied for and received either a permit or easement,” the memo states.

Potentially affecting the easement issue is the possibility of a city purchase of the former Bar Harbor Restaurant property just west of the Ramp 2 trestle.

The current owner of the property has offered to sell the former restaurant building and tidelands to the city for an expansion of the adjacent city-owned parking lot, according to the memo.

If the city were to acquire the property, the “basic concept would be to demolish and remove all of the structures and pilings at 2813 Tongass (Ave.) and most of the city’s trestle, leaving the turn around area and the existing transformers and switchgear,” states the memo.

“A rock wall would be installed to bridge the existing rock wall of the parking lot with the existing rock wall of the Harbormaster Condos, and the area between the new rock wall and the street would be filled and paved,” the memo continues. “The water lines and electrical conduits and power cables that are attached to the trestle would have to be replaced and relocated to new lines and conduits placed in the new fill.”

The project would expand the city’s existing parking capacity of 30 spaces to 57 spaces, according to a project schematic included in the Port and Harbors Advisory Board meeting agenda packet.

The city’s acquisition of the property and parking project would cost an estimated $1.3 million, although any hazardous material remediation work that might be needed in the demolition of the building would increase the cost.

The Port and Harbors Department wouldn’t be able to pay for the parking lot project in full, according to the memo. While the department now has $400,000 in its harbor construction fund and $900,000 in appropriated reserves, about $627,000 of that money is reserved for the Bar Harbor North Ramp 3 replacement project.

An analysis of potential city funding for the project indicates a potential of a split between the city Public Works and Port and Harbors departmental budgets.

According to the memo, Public Works would pay the costs of property acquisition ($395,000) and demolition, while Port and Harbors would pay costs of trestle demolition, repair and utility relocation.

All other costs would be split 56 percent to 44 percent between Public Works and Ports and Harbors, respectively, according to the memo. That ratio is based on the “percentage of the resulting new parking areas located on their respective property.”

Corporon adds that the proposed project and funding split would make economic sense from a Port and Harbors standpoint, but not from the Public Works standpoint.

 For Port and Harbors, the funding-split strategy would help eliminate $300,000 from the more than $400,000 currently estimated as needed for repairs to the entire trestle, according to the memo.

“It would also likely eliminate the issue regarding the encroachment from the Harbormaster Condos as the recommendation would be to deny the request and use all of the city property for public parking,” the memo states. “With all of the additional public parking available directly adjacent to their facility, they will not miss the two spots they have currently carved out on the city property.”

From the Public Works’ perspective, the proposed expansion probably doesn’t make economic sense, according to the memo.

“The Public Works director confirmed that the proposed $800,000 (Public Works) share for the project would not sort very high on the Streets Division capital improvement list, as they have many more pressing needs,” the memo states.

The Port and Harbors Advisory Board is scheduled to consider the issues during its regular meeting on Tuesday evening.

Corporon wrote that if the board agrees with the memo’s assessment and does not recommend pursuing the parking lot expansion project, “then a recommendation regarding the granting of an easement or revocable permit to the Harbormaster Condos would be in order.”

Any recommendations made by the board Tuesday would be forwarded for consideration by the Ketchikan City Council at the council’s meeting on Feb. 7.

The Port and Harbors Advisory Board meeting starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the city harbormaster’s office at Bar Harbor, 2933 Tongass Ave.

There is time for public comment at the start of the meeting.