Assembly Passes Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The right of neighbors to give input on private property came up at the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly regular meeting last night.

Since last year, the assembly has been working on an ordinance that would permit accessory dwelling units in certain residential districts. ADUs are living areas with their own kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and entrance that are located on the property of an existing home or within that home.

Some members of the public have expressed concern about ADUs changing their neighborhoods.

Jeff Stewart stepped up at the regular meeting and said he lives in the rural residential one district. He said permitting detached units in rural residential areas like his would attract the wrong type of person.

“You’re going to have some people come in as renters and maybe some are excellent renters, and we all hope for that, but we also have people that show up here, they’re gonna be around for six months. Basically, they’re a nuisance. The radios go loud. They really don’t care about the property because they don’t have an investment in it, and in six months they’re going to be gone.”

That worry is why ADUs are listed as permitted for some residential zoning districts and listed as conditional use for others. When under conditional use, an ADU is subject to public input from people who live near that property.

But, said community development director Sara Mason, it’s not a popularity contest.

“For somebody’s comment to block somebody else from moving forward on a conditional use, it’d have to be some pretty substantive evidence that there is some negative impact to health, safety, or welfare, or that there is going to be some detriment to the character, the overall scenic value.”

Ultimately, one of the amendments the assembly made shifted around some of the zoning districts listed as conditional or permitted use.

Assemblymen Dave Townsend and Matt Van Daele moved attached units in the Rural Residential One District to permitted use and detached units in the Rural Residential One District under conditional use.

For the other districts, under permitted uses are: conservation, rural residential two, single family residential, and two family residential. Under conditional use are: rural residential and single family residential.

The assembly spent almost two hours on the ordinance and eventually passed the updated code 6 – 1 with Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner against.

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