Borough Lands Committee Strives to Make Land Available to Public

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The issue of reforestation in the burned area of Chiniak will come again before the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly at its regular meeting tonight (THURS). The assembly will review a draft for a contract with Anchorage-based Koncor Forest Products to purchase 300,000 spruce tree seedlings.

In the regular meeting packet is a letter to Resource Management Officer Duane Dvorak from forestry consultant Wade Wahrenbrock (war-in-brok) with three different density options. He writes 200 trees per acre is the minimum density to satisfy reforestation requirements, the reforestation standard under the Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act is 450 trees per acre, and he recommends 360 trees per acre.

He explains that he might have recommended fewer trees per acre had there been more mature trees to provide a “seed source,” which is a more work-intensive method which might aid reforestation in some cases of fire damage. With 360 seedlings, it would take 25 to 35 years for growth closure.

Also on the agenda is a code amendment which addresses methods of borough land sale. At the work session last week, Borough Manager Michael Powers explained the major changes the Borough Lands Committee suggested. The first, he said, is to increase the sale amount from $250,000 to a million dollars. Also…

“An applicant or bidder for disposal of land is not qualified if they’re in default or breach of contract lease, deposit, or payment with the borough, and then lastly, offering a 10 percent rebate of the purchase price if a dwelling is established and legally occupied within 36 months of the land purchase, and the intent of that was to try to get people to build on land rather than to buy it and sit on it.”

Matt Van Daele, who sits on the lands committee, explained how the committee approached the code changes.

“This title 18 process was developed to be a very surgical, strategic strike to just get very small parts of the code that would have large, positive implications for the upcoming land sale, because the whole goal of the land sale is to make land available to the public, make it affordable to the public, and get people actually being able to build homes in a timely manner.”

The assembly will go over the amendment at its regular meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the assembly chambers and will be aired live here on KMXT.

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