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By SCOTT BOWLEN
Daily News Staff Writer
A public hearing about a proposed rezone of beachfront property on Gravina Island from rural residential/cottage industrial to general commercial took up more than three hours during Monday’s meeting of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly
The topic highlighted a range of issues from maintaining rural lifestyles and zonings and finding room for the growth of the visitor industry in the Ketchikan area — and whether moving the rezone forward would set a precedent for other properties
In the end, Assembly unanimously voted to introduce an amended version of Ordinance 1882, which moves the proposed rezone forward to a public hearing in early April, accompanied by a list of special conditions that would limit the use of the five-acre property to only the uses presently specified by the applicants.
The applicants are Tab and Sarah McNabb, who have operated the Ketchikan Outdoors tour company in Ketchikan for more than a decade.
The McNabbs have purchased the beachfront property, which is located on Gravina Island south of Clam Cove and just north of the terminus of Gravina Highway.
As proposed, the property would be used as part of the Ketchikan Outdoors business. Testifying during the public hearing Monday, Tabb McNabb noted that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had recently approved a permit for the proposed structures on the property.
However, the Ketchikan Gateway Planning Commission in February recommended that the rezone request be denied, in part because the proposed rezone was “inconsistent” with the 2005 Gravina Island Plan and Future Land Use Map, and that surrounding properties would be affected by a “significant increase” in activity and boat traffic.
The conversation about the proposed rezone Monday included extensive Assembly discussions with Borough Planning Director Richard Harney and Tab McNabb regarding the uses of the property, the planning processes involved and status of existing borough planning documents that apply to the property.
There also was extended public testimony by supporters of the rezone and the McNabbs and their business, and by residents in the general vicinity of the property who voiced concerns about rezone.
As the discussion went past 10 p.m., the Assembly unanimously approved moving the rezone forward, and requesting the planning department to draft a list of special conditions. A public hearing on the topic will occur in April.
In other business, the Assembly:
• Unanimously approved the final reading of Ordinance 1878, which effectively ends the Herring Cove Tourism Management Program.
• Unanimously approved the final reading of Ordinance 1879 that in part, establishes new unlimited annual and seasonal passes for the buses operated by the Borough Transit Department.
As of the Daily News deadline Monday, the Assembly meeting was continuing with Assembly members discussing a proposed joint resolution that would oppose Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed state budget.
A town hall meeting on the proposed budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 28 at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.