Assembly Moves Forward on Mobile Home Ordinances

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly moved forward on several ordinances to assist Jackson Mobile Home Park residents in moving their trailers by the park’s closing date. One issue that residents face is where to store their homes until they relocate or find another option.

The first ordinance on the agenda addressed the issue of storage. Borough Community Development Director Bob Pederson says it would extend the number of districts open to that kind of arrangement from just business and industrial districts to public lands and conservation zoning districts. He says it would be up to the discretion of the property owner as to what the terms would be for storage.

“Do they want to do that through a lease? Through a contract?” says Pederson. “Whatever conditions they wish to attach to that regarding bonding, security, fencing. All of those sorts of things, we wanted to leave that to a landlord-tenant relationship with the mobile home owner and the property owner because different property owners might have different ideas of how to handle those issues.”

The ordinance carried 7 to 0.

The next item on the agenda was a change of code that would allow nonconforming mobile home parks to open spaces to displaced trailers from Jackson Park. As of now, says Pederson, only Rasmussen’s Mobile Home Park is fully conforming.  

“As long as they’re a mobile home park,” he says. “We didn’t see a public harm in letting additional mobile homes locate in those parks provided they meet the basic safety requirements of the separation of structures under the fire code and the building code. The building officials will require GFIs and proper utility hook-ups for those mobile homes.”

Pederson adds that the Kodiak City Council and borough assembly are discussing whether to waive the fees associated with moving the trailers.

Assemblyman Dan Rohrer calls the ordinance a win-win.

“Not only for the people in Jackson’s, but also some of the owners,” he says. “I’m excited about adopting this tonight for multiple different reasons. I think it’ll be beneficial to those trailer park owners – for those noncomplying ones – to have some additional income to hopefully be able to improve those parks beyond what they’ve been able to currently.”

The assembly accepted the code change.

Later in the agenda, members discussed an ordinance to establish a new Kodiak Island Borough lands committee, which they would advance to the next regular meeting. Mayor Jerrol Friend says seven members would sit on the board: two assembly members, two Planning and Zoning Commission members, an Alaska Native organization representative, a Coast Guard ex-officio, and a member of the public.

“I feel that it helps staff,” he says. “We’re gonna get a new resource manager hopefully here before too long and work with that person to get more property out and available so we can get some cost-effective property out on the market so people can afford to build and live here and stay here, so that’s the big push of what I’m trying to do with this.”

Assemblyman Larry LeDoux says it’s one of the most significant actions he’s seen take place since he’s been on the assembly.

“I think it’s very, very important that affordable land become available to the community of Kodiak because from affordable land comes affordable housing, and part of the problem with Jackson’s is that there is no affordable housing for people to move into and there’s not land that people can buy to their move trailers on if they could.”

Assemblywoman Chris Lynch says she’s not confident about adding another committee.  

“While I think it’s a great idea to get these different identities together to discuss property and availability, I feel that by adding another layer, we’re deepening bureaucracy,” she says. “Because you will have this new lands committee, then you will have still to go through P & Z and you’ll still have to go through the assembly process, so I still have concerns, and I’m not convinced this is our saving grace, but I will move this forward.”

The assembly will discuss the ordinance at its next regular meeting, which is scheduled for August 20.

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