Last night at the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly regular meeting, borough staff cleared up confusion regarding a slash pile situation in Chiniak.
The assembly had been under the impression that private land owners in Chiniak would like to hire A-1 to remove burned trees on their land and was requesting that A-1 be able to transport those trees via borough land, where there is an already established road. The meeting packet explains that would mean “limbing” and “topping” the trees on borough land and creating slash piles that would be closer than 500 feet to residences on borough property.
That creates a conflict with the timber salvage contract between A-1 and the borough. Both parties have agreed to restrict how close slash piles can get to residences by 500 feet in order to avoid littering the areas with timber by-products.
At the meeting, the assembly believed it was reviewing a possible exception to that 500 foot rule. In the packet, the staff had recommended a new limit of 200 feet, which is still a safe distance away from residences.
Resource Management Officer Duanke Dvorak clarified that the issue is more about the borough’s timber than the trees on the private properties. And, with regard to the slash…
“There is an opportunity to bring the stuff between the 200 foot line and the road, which is typically what their standard practice is if they were going to pile it, and so for the most part these piles would be well beyond the 200 foot line, but the alternative is they’re going to scatter it, and really it’s more about the borough’s timber.”
Assemblyman Dan Rohrer said he thinks the real question is about allowing the property owners to put their slash piles on borough land.
“I think the question is, do we want to take on the management responsibility of other people’s slash piles, which is going to create an economic incentive – I mean, there’s an economic benefit for them as land owners, and that’s fine, it’s their property, and they can do what they would like with it in those regards, but the foregone conclusion that we would just take on their slash pile responsibilities doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”
The assembly decided it needed more to discuss the issue and so postponed its decision until the next regular meeting, which is September 15. Its next work session is scheduled for Thursday.