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Boro completes full agenda: Moves toward online sales tax commission, Gravina rezone denied

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly on Monday signaled its interest in working toward collecting an online sales tax from remote retailers. The Assembly also approved a new definition for shooting ranges in its zoning code, denied a proposed rezone near Clam Cove on Gravina Island, and approved the appointment of AJ Pierce as the vice mayor.

The Assembly voted unanimously to authorize the borough to enter an agreement toward the formation of a single statewide commission that would collect sales tax for online retailers with no physical presence in the borough. The commission of municipalities would administer the collection and remission of sales taxes from online retailers.

 Borough Attorney Glenn Brown explained that approving the authorization would not require the borough to join the final agreement, which is still being discussed. Authorizing participation in the process now would give the borough “better representation [and] better influence” in writing the bylaws and structuring the proposed commission to collect the sales taxes, Brown said.

Also at Monday’s regular meeting, the Assembly unanimously adopted a proposed ordinance to define and allow shooting ranges to be built. The ordinance also outlined conditions and zones where construction of outdoor shooting ranges is forbidden.

The Assembly set a second public hearing for a proposed rezone for Danger Island from future development to general commercial with special limitations. The landowner, Steve Seley, is interested in using the island in Tongass Narrows as an excursion destination for visitors.

Seley told the Assembly on Monday that he wants to create a “small museum” on the island to show visitors what the timber and fishing industries were like in Ketchikan in the mid-20th century. The public hearing for the proposed rezone ordinance will be at the Nov. 25 meeting.

Also set f public hearing at the Nov. 25 meeting was a proposed ordinance to rezone a parcel of land near Ward Cove to be used for a gun manufacturing facility and an outdoor gun range. Members of the Assembly discussed the noise concerns and noted that approving the rezone would not guarantee that the range would remain an outdoor range.

Assembly members did not raise any objections to a borough letter in support of a public hearing in Petersburg about the economic effects of a proposed National Marine Fisheries Service critical habitat designation for protecting humpback whales.

Assembly members voted unanimously to deny a proposal to rezone property near Clam Cove.

 The rezone proposed by Tab and Sarah McNabb would have changed the zoning of about 5 acres from rural residential/cottage industry to general commercial with special limitations zone for use in the McNabb’s tour business.

Six members of the community spoke out against the proposal on Monday, saying the rezone would bring commercial tourist traffic to a residential area, and that it would negatively affect the community in the area.

The Assembly approved everything on the consent calendar and confirmed Mayor Rodney Dial’s appointment of Assembly Member AJ Pierce as vice mayor.

Further coverage of Monday nights meeting will be  published in later editions of the Daily News.