The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Planning Commission will give a presentation during a Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday.
The regular Assembly meeting was rescheduled because of Monday’s Labor Day holiday.
Planning Commission member John Harrington, a former Assembly member, said the presentation will focus on three items. The first is the planned rewrite of Title 60, which deals with planning and zoning.
Harrington said regulations in Title 60 are spread out in a way that’s not user-friendly.
“So if a person wanted to build a house or a building, he has to go through several different sections of the code to figure out the rules regarding a house or regarding a building in the central,” he said.
Harrington said the rewrite would allow someone to find all the needed codes in one section. He said the code also needs updates to maintain consistency. The process will take many months.
The second item is a potential change to activities allowed in General Commercial zones, to accommodate a proposed new floatplane business.
The business owner lives next to Rose’s Caboose, and wants to use the tidelands in front of his home for a floatplane dock, which is allowed only in areas zoned Airport Development or Heavy Industrial. The area can’t be zoned as an airport, and if it becomes Heavy Industrial, the family no longer could live there.
Harrington said the problem could be solved during the Title 16 rewrite, but “that means putting a business on hold for a year and that just didn’t set well with some of us, so we want to bring up to the borough Assembly some possibilities, that if they would consider the option that we might be able to just look at the possibility of allowing this to move forward.”
The proposed change would amend the zoning code to allow commercial float plane use in General Commercial zones, but only with a conditional-use permit.
The third item is the long-talked-of Hopkins Alley development.
“When Berth 4 went in, a lot of us assumed it would bring a revitalization to Newtown. But it really hasn’t,” Harrington said. “People are taking the long walk into (downtown) and avoiding the Newtown area. And that whole Hopkins Alley, Newtown area (is) pretty much a blighted area, and until some things get taken care of, nobody wants to invest a lot of money in there.”
The commission anticipates three phases to improve the historic, but dilapidated, Hopkins Alley. The first would be an updated survey, plus a public process to find out whether there is support for the project.
Phase two would result in a project plan, to create a proposed historic district, draft a management plan and prepare for infrastructure improvements. Construction would happen during the final phase.
Harrington said improving that area should benefit attempts to improve the local economy. He said that, right now, the way it looks likely is harming the economy.
“I can visualize a newcomer to our community as they look down from their ship at Berth 3 and Berth 4 at the old Marine Bar and that whole section, and say, ‘Why do I want to get off the ship?’” he said.
Also on Tuesday, the Assembly will consider a motion allowing the borough manager, finance director and clerk to sign investment transactions related to Wells Fargo accounts.
The borough recently moved about $4.9 million in cash and $1.2 million in fixed income bonds out of US Trust to Wells Fargo. That is expected to save about $20,000 a year in management fees.
The Assembly meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Borough Assembly chambers at the White Cliff building. Public comment will be heard at the beginning of the meeting.