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10/5/2019
Three meetings set for Assembly: New mayor, members to be sworn in

By SCOTT BOWLEN
Daily News Staff Writer

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly has three meetings scheduled Monday — one to certify the results of Tuesday’s municipal election; one to swear in the newly elected mayor and Assembly members; and one to conduct the Assembly’s regular business.

Borough voters on Tuesday decided electoral races for the borough mayor position, in addition to two seats on the Assembly and three seats on the Ketchikan School Board. They also approved an extension of the borough’s tobacco excise tax, while a total of five voters registered in the Old Dairy Road area voted 4-1 to approve the formation of a new Old Dairy Road Service Area.

In Monday’s second meeting, Rodney Dial will be sworn in as borough mayor. Austin Otos and outgoing mayor David Landis will be sworn in as Assembly members.

The three individuals elected to the School Board — Bridget Mattson, Jordan Tabb and Leslie Becker — are scheduled to be sworn in Wednesday evening at the start of the School Board’s next regular meeting.

Monday’s regular Assembly meeting agenda is relatively light, with a public hearing on a proposed rezone in the Knudson Cove area and possible Assembly approval of the Ketchikan community’s state capital project funding requests and policy issue statements comprising the main agenda items.

The proposed rezone would change the zoning for a lot located at 25 Potter Road from low density residential to general commercial.

The rezone request was submitted by Jeffrey Wedekind and Nadra Angerman, co-owners of the Chinook Shores fishing lodge that’s also located in the Knudson Cove area.

 According to the borough Planning Department staff summary, the intent is to use the property for a variety of retail services and service uses.

“According to the applicant, a new access road to the property will be developed,” wrote borough staff. “The rezone will enhance public welfare by providing additional moorage facilities and services for the boating public as well as retail, group gathering, and dining options in a substantially commercialized cove.”

In a Sept. 17 email to the borough’s Jeremy Weber, Angerman described the principal uses for the property as stipulations that could be included in a rezone as an alternative to a full, less restrictive general commercial rezone.

The proposed principal uses listed include retail and wholesale businesses limited to marine craft rentals; food and beverage service; meeting and event space; marine wildlife viewing tours; charter fishing tours; retail store; membership marine fueling facility, not open to the general public; commercial parking for vehicles and marine craft; commercial recreation and lodges.

The proposed rezone was considered on Sept. 10 by the borough Planning Commission, which recommended that the Assembly deny the proposed rezone because in isn’t consistent with a goal of the borough’s Comprehensive Plan, and would have “substantial negative impacts to neighboring properties,” according to the Planning Commission’s resolution that’s been sent to the borough.

The resolution also stated that the commission is of the opinion that a Planned Unit Development type of rezone would be a better option. According to the borough staff summary, a PUD rezone could “limit the amount of commercial and industrial uses the (general commercial zone) allows.”

The agenda materials include more than 15 letters addressing the rezone request, some that were submitted to the borough before the Sept. 10 Planning Commission meeting and others that have been submitted more recently.

All but one of letters are from property owners, residents and/or business operators in the Potter Road, Mattle Road and general Knudson Cove area — and some are quite detailed. The letters are divided on the rezone, although a larger number support than oppose the request.

The borough staff summary acknowledges the Planning Commission’s findings, but adds that the staff is recommending approval of the rezone “primarily based on the Future Land Use map within the (borough’s) Comprehensive Plan that indicates the Knudsen Cove area become a commercial hub.”

The staff summary notes borough planning staff had assisted the rezone applicants in crafting a set of special limitations for use of the property to address the concerns of neighboring property owners. The staff included a draft substitute ordinance that would rezone the property to general commercial while including the proposed limitations.

Monday’s meeting is scheduled to include a public hearing on the proposed rezone, and the possibility of the Assembly to move an ordinance to a second public hearing and reading on Oct. 21.

The other main item on Monday’s agenda is Assembly consideration of the Ketchikan community capital project priority and policy issues list that was developed and unanimously approved by the Borough Lobbying Executive Committee on Sept. 24.

The committee includes representatives from the borough, City of Ketchikan and City of Saxman. The final list will be submitted to the governor and Alaska Legislature for consideration.

Assembly members on Monday will consider approving a community capital project list that included, in order of priority, North Tongass water storage tanks for fire protection ($1.17 million); Saxman Seaport development ($377,000); Schoenbar Road raw water and drinking pipe replacement ($5.97 million); and Schoenbar Road sanitary sewer mains replacement ($2.12 million).

The proposed lists contain four main policy issue statements, two with several subsections.

The first statement opposes “Actions by the State of Alaska to shift the costs of its constitutional obligation to maintain a system of public schools open to all children of the state.” This includes opposition to the state’s required local contribution as “an invidious and unconstitutional measure, contrary to the mandate of the Alaska Constitution’s Public Schools Clause.”

The list also includes positions regarding the Public Employee Retirement System and Teacher Retirement System issues, and support for the state of actively oppose the imposition of the federal Roadless Rule.

The first of the Assembly’s three meetings Monday is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. in the Assembly chambers at 1900 First Ave., followed immediately thereafter by the special meeting to swear in the incoming mayor and Assembly members, and recognize the service of the outgoing mayor and Assembly members.

The Assembly’s regular meeting is set to start at 5:30 p.m. in the Assembly chambers. There is time for public comment at the start of the meeting.