Local News

Sewer maintenance measure moving forward

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly met for another couple of hours Wednesday night to complete the regular meeting that started Monday.

The Assembly introduced an ordinance to require residents outside of city limits to maintain their sewer systems, and established a fine for those who don’t comply.

The suggested fine was $100 a day, but the Assembly changed that to $300 a day, at the suggestion of Assembly Member Glen Thompson. He said borough staff are always willing to work with homeowners who are making a good-faith effort to comply with regulations. The fine is meant as a last resort.

“It’s for people who go on for years and years and years, and nothing ever happens that we need the teeth to say, ‘You know, you’re looking at $300 a day and it’s been a year. Do the math,’” he said. “It’s a valuable tool in the kit, and it’s only when it hits their pocketbook that some of these scofflaws will actually do something.”

Thompson’s amendment passed 5-1 with Assembly Member Alan Bailey voting no. The main motion then passed unanimously. The ordinance will come back to the Assembly for a public hearing and final vote on April 7th.

Also on Wednesday, Planning Commission Member John Harrington asked the Assembly to reconsider its Monday decision to send a recommended rezone for property off the Third Avenue Bypass back to the commission.

On Monday, Assembly Members expressed concern about rezoning what now is low density residential into heavy industrial. The instructions to the Planning Commission were to look at light industrial as an option, with certain heavy industrial activities allowed for a limited time during property development.

But, Harrington said Wednesday, the Planning Commission follows strict guidelines, and the code won’t allow them to do that. He suggested that the Assembly could make that kind of change.

Harrington also recommended that the borough revamp some of the definitions of what’s allowed in certain zones.  Harrington said rock crushing, as long as the rock is not sold on site, is allowed in any zone, including residential.

Assembly Member Bill Rotecki, asked for clarification; “So, anybody anywhere can develop their site, crush their rock and if I heard you said, take it to a heavy industrial site and sell it there. So therefore, we can have a rock pit anywhere, and that seems to me a rather big mistake.”

Harrington responded: “That is one of the things I would like to clean up and limit that rock crushing.”

While the Assembly understood why Harrington asked for reconsideration, members were reluctant to take the issue up again without first notifying the public. There was significant public comment on the rezone during Monday’s portion of the meeting.

Monday’s regular meeting lasted much longer than usual, and the Assembly chose to recess at about 10 p.m., and finish up on Wednesday.

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