Assembly Passes Code Exemptions for Homes Outside City Limits

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

The Borough Assembly gave another look at possible building code exemptions for homes outside the city limits at its regular meeting last night.

The last time the code exemptions came before the assembly for a vote, Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner was absent and the assembly voted against the exemptions. That includes Assemblyman Kyle Crow, who voted no to be on the prevailing side in order to bring the ordinance back for reconsideration.

Crow has been the driving force behind the exemptions and last night gave a vehement defense for relaxation of code.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of passion. I have a lot of passion for this. Because it’s my children that I think about and their children that need an opportunity, the same opportunity that I was given. I don’t think that because I made it through the door that we should shut the door on all of them. I have my place. I’m all set. I don’t need this. I want to give the people the same opportunities that I had.”

That rang true for Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner, who said she thinks the exemptions allow the kind of flexibility she experienced as a child in Kodiak.

“The way I grew up, I’m pretty sure the house I was in did not meet code, and I feel like I came out okay, and I had opportunities because of how I grew up, and there’s a lot I appreciate about how I grew up.”

Skinner said she understands the concerns for safety and that she thinks a small number of people will be interested in the exemptions and jump at a chance they wouldn’t otherwise get.

She noted that it’s an emotional and intense issue, and no matter the results of the vote, one side will be unhappy.

Larry LeDoux commented that he was unhappy with the tone the debate had taken over the last few months.

“I hear a lot of hyperbole on both sides of ‘Oh, this might happen, or this might happen,’ and I hear testimony on this side or this side, and that bothers me that it’s just sides, and I’ll say, oh, I agree with that, but I don’t agree with that at all, or I agree with that, and I’m not hearing that kind of ‘Let’s solve this problem’ in dialogue here.”

LeDoux said such division drives people to extremes to defend their points of view, and that kind of environment does not lead to good decision making.

Last night, with all assembly members present, the exemption passed 4 – 3 with Dennis Symmons, Dave Townsend, Crow, and Skinner voting yes. Assemblymen Scott Smiley, Matt Van Daele, and Larry LeDoux were against.

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