“Minimized Development” plan for Near Island development advanced to public hearing

The Borough Assembly voted last night to advance the “minimized development” version of the City of Kodiak’s Near Island Development Plan to a public hearing at the next assembly meeting.

A view from the South End Trail on Near Island. (Photo by Kavitha George/KMXT)

Development plans for Near Island have been the works for several years now. In 2017, the city contracted with DOWL Engineering to draw up a comprehensive analysis of Near Island’s existing land use, and propose three plans for future development. The three proposed plans, “minimized development,” “moderate development,” and “maximum development,” were presented for public comment and city council consideration in the summer of 2017.

The three versions are exactly what they sound like. Concept A, the “minimized development” plan, would not expand any industrial areas on Near Island, and would create no new commercial or institutional land areas. Conversely, Concept C, the “Maximum development” plan, would expand the industrial area around St. Herman Harbor as well as expand commercial and institutional areas into the existing public use and conservation land.

Public comments on the plans were by no means unanimous, though it appeared that the most support was behind the “minimized development” plan.

“For those that have lived here, that is a jewel of our community,” city councilmember John Whiddon said during a work session back in July, 2017. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone. There’s no getting it back.”

The plan was approved by the city Planning and Zoning commission on Aug. 21 and forwarded to the Borough Assembly for review, according to borough documents.

At Thursday’s assembly meeting, assemblymember Julie Kavanaugh was clear that she was interested in advancing the development plan to a public hearing, but that she wasn’t in support of the plan itself.

“I don’t want people to miss understand my vote,” Kavanaugh said during assembly discussion. “My vote is to move it forward and continue the process. As an individual assemblymember, I don’t support Concept A.”

The vote to advance the “minimized development” plan to public hearing was unanimous. That public hearing will be held at the next regular Assembly meeting on Oct. 3.

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