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Commission delays Clam Cove decisions

Daily News Staff Writer

After a long public hearing of emotional testimony, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Planning Commission on Tuesday voted to postpone consideration of a proposed rezone of the Clam Cove area of Gravina Island until a community development master plan is approved for that area.

The Planning Commission also voted unanimously Tuesday to postpone consideration of a requested rezone of a specific, approximately 5-acre parcel in the Clam Cove area, a rezone issue that has been at the center of controversy on Gravina and Pennock Islands for several months.

Members of the Planning Commission voiced concern Tuesday that the borough Planning Department’s neighborhood planning process for Clam Cove and related development of a proposed Public Unit Development rezone for 240 acres in that area — which the Planning Department had endeavored to complete in time for Tuesday’s meeting at the behest of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly — had proceeded too quickly. The Planning Department had not finished the neighborhood planning process by Tuesday.

The Planning Commission had twice recommended that the Assembly deny a rezone requested by Tab and Sarah McNabb for a property currently zoned as rural residential with a cottage industry overlay. The requested rezone is to general commercial to allow the property to be used for the McNabs’ Ketchikan Outdoors tour business.

In April, the Assembly remanded the issue back to the Planning Commission, and the Planning Department began work on a Clam Cove neighborhood planning process and development of the proposed Public Unit Development rezone.

On Tuesday, the Planning Commission heard a volume of public comment that was mostly dissatisfied with how the neighborhood plan process had proceeded, and dissatisfied with the proposed Public Unit Development rezone. There were some comments in support of the proposed 240-acre rezone, and in support of the McNabbs’ proposed property use.

The comments highlighted strongly held views on zoning rights and rural lifestyles, in addition to the varied interests of owners of property in the Clam Cove area.

Planning Commission members, seeking a way to find a more inclusive, measured process to determine how to proceed on Clam Cove zoning, voted unanimously Tuesday to postpone consideration of both the Planned Unit Development rezone or the more specific five-acre rezone until a community development master plan as described in a 2005 Clam Cove and Blank Inlet plan had been completed and approved.

Further coverage of Tuesday’s meeting of Planning Commission  is anticipated in a future edition of the Ketchikan Daily News.