Assembly keeps Pasagshak legal doc confidential

Borough’s attorney wrote legal opinion about zoning dispute with Alaska Aerospace Corporation… 


The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly last night voted against releasing confidential legal findings about the Pasagshak zoning issue.

Several assembly members requested in August that a legal opinion written by the borough’s attorney be made available to local residents to read after a number of residents testified that they felt they were being kept in the dark.

The legal opinion addresses compelling the Alaska Aerospace Corporation to comply with borough land use ordinances in the development of the Pacific Spaceport Complex.

The borough manager said in August that the aerospace corporation claims to be exempt from municipal zoning authority by state statute.

Because it deals with confidential legal matters, there was little public discussion. However, prior to going into Executive Session to discuss the issue, Assembly member Dennis Symmons asked Mayor Dan Rohrer about Alaska Aerospace.

Assembly Member Symmons: “Mr. Mayor, I’m curious, you probably did the most talking to the board, and its president and its newly elect. What’s their feeling or sentiment on the subject.”

 Mayor Rohrer:  “I’m not sure how to answer that question because. Their sentiment on the legal opinion? Because they haven’t seen the legal opinion, obviously. But they know that we are voting on it tonight, I’m sure that they are either listening now, or will be listening tomorrow morning in regards to what the action of the assembly is.  They actually commented at their board meeting that they recognized that it was the right of the assembly to do whatever they wanted with this issue and we’ll wait until tomorrow to see what happens.”

After about a half-hour in Executive Session, assembly members came out and voted against releasing the confidential legal opinion.

“That brings us back to the motion on the table. The motion is to release legal opinion in regards to compelling Alaska Aerospace Corporation to comply with borough land use ordinances … Further discussion on this item? … Alright call for a roll call vote on the motion … Mr. Schroder? Yes.  Mr. Smiley? No. Symmons? Yes. Mr. Crow? Yes. Ms. Kavanaugh? No.  Motion failed to release the waiver.  3 yes, 2 nos.”

Mayor Rohrer then explained that despite there being more yes votes than no votes, the measure failed because it failed to meet the vote threshold for passage.

“And just for the public’s sake, if they are confused in regards to that as I know I used to always be, remember all assembly items have to pass by four.  And so, when there is not a full contingency of assembly members in the room, if an item feels like it passes 3-2, it still has to pass by four, so a motion that is voted 3-2 does fails due a lack of four votes.”


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