After taking almost a year to decide on a request to rezone a piece of land from a hunting lodge in Larsen Bay, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly finally made its decision.
At a recent regular meeting, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly rejected a request made by a hunting lodge in Larsen Bay to change the zoning of the parcel of land it sits on. For years, Foxtail Lodge has operated on property zoned for residential housing instead of business, which is illegal.
The business opened its doors as a bed and breakfast, which can operate in residential districts, in 2000. Somewhere along the line, the b&b grew into a larger operation, which eventually became the hunting lodge Foxtail is today. Foxtail Lodge submitted its current rezone request to come into compliance with borough code.
Representatives from Larsen Bay’s city council told the assembly at the meeting, the community didn’t want Foxtail Lodge’s request to be granted though. One of the reasons being, it’s currently surrounded by residential housing.
Out of the four members of the assembly present at the meeting, three couldn’t see a clear reason to deny Foxtail’s request, even if the community didn’t like it. But, Assemblyman Kyle Crow didn’t agree with his fellow assembly members. He said the borough shouldn’t reward a business for operating illegally for years and also, he thinks the assembly shouldn’t disregard the wishes of Larsen Bay.
“We don’t live in that community. We don’t know what it’s like to live in that community, and we’re making decisions that are going to impact that community forever.”
To pass anything on the borough assembly, four of its members need to vote in favor of a proposal. Since there were only four assembly members present for this decision, that meant Assemblyman Crow was the deciding vote on rezoning Foxtail Lodge.
Before the assembly voted on the matter, borough manager Michael Powers told the assembly denying this request could open the borough up to a lawsuit. Even though the lodge had been operating illegally for years, Powers wasn’t sure that was enough of a reason to reject Foxtail’s rezone request, especially since the assembly has rezoned other lodges that were operating illegally in Larsen Bay.
“One of the things the assembly has directed over the years is that we work with applicants to resolve land use violations.”
That didn’t sway Assemblyman Crow and Foxtail’s rezone was denied. The vote was three in favor and one against. If the lodge continues to operate illegally, the borough could issue a cease and desist letter to Foxtail Lodge and bring it to court. But that’s if the owner of Foxtail Lodge, Jerre Munson, doesn’t bring the borough to court first.
He says he’s going to open up Foxtail Lodge this summer and pursue legal action against the borough to reverse the assembly’s decision.