Smaller lots

This illustration shows examples of homes that could be built on lots that are 3,600 square feet in size.

The borough may soon have another zoning district that would allow single-family homes to be built on smaller lots. 

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly is set to vote tonight on an ordinance that would amend the borough’s zoning code to add a new zoning district called RSL-Residential Small Lot Single-Family. 

The new zoning district would allow subdivisions for single-family housing on areas of land that are 1.5 acres or larger with access to public water and sewer services. 

Lots would be 3,600 to 6,000 square feet, excluding water bodies, private roads and public access easements. 

Parcels meeting the 1.5-acre size requirement could be subdivided into a minimum of 10 lots. 

If adopted, any rezone of land to the new district would have to go through the normal procedures.

The intent of the proposed ordinance is to generate opportunities for the public to buy affordable property and to encourage construction of smaller homes, according to meeting documents.

During packet review, some assembly members expressed hesitation at passing the ordinance as is.

A cluster of small homes – or large homes taking up the majority of small lots – would be more jarring than having the lots interspersed throughout communities, suggested assembly member Rebecca Skinner. She said she would prefer to hear from the public before moving forward on the ordinance.

“My concern is people don’t understand what this would look like,” she said.

Assembly member Kyle Crow said he found the language in the ordinance too restrictive and would prefer to allow small lots throughout communities.  

He called the ordinance “social engineering” and expressed concern that the ordinance would cause economically disadvantaged citizens to be clustered together and separated off from the general population.

Mayor Dan Rohrer pushed back on that assessment, saying it was not the intent of the ordinance.

“I think we need to be careful that we’re not making it sound like we’re trying to hide undesirables off somewhere, because that certainly was never the intent and I feel bad that it comes across that way in the writing of it, because it certainly, at least four or five years ago when we were originally talking about it, wasn’t the goal.”

Those who drafted the document did so with young professionals in mind, he said. 

Other assembly members indicated they would like to see elimination of the 1.5-acre minimum lot size or a reduction in the minimum number of lots for subdivisions.

Assembly member Dave Townsend spoke in favor of the ordinance as written. 

Community members may comment on the proposed ordinance at the public hearing. The new zoning district should apply only to properties that are currently undeveloped, he said. 

“If we’re going to say, ‘Oh, anybody with a lot can reduce their lot size,’ that is going to change the character of the neighborhood. This is supposed to be a new zoning district,” he said. 

Community members will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed ordinance at the public hearing during the assembly regular meeting tonight. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Assembly Chambers. 


In other business, the assembly will vote on:

– the second reading of an ordinance that would amend borough code to allow keeping of small animals with some restrictions in R1, R2 and R3 zoning districts, and to establish “general agricultural activities” as a permitted use in the RR zoning district

– introduction of an ordinance that would amend the recently passed tobacco excise tax ordinance to add lines listing the borough’s authority under state statute and to create a new chapter under Title 5 for business licensing information

– authorization of a 90-day extension to the Providence Kodiak Island Counseling Center lease 

– a resolution that would evenly allocate $40,000 in small competitive grant funds evenly amongst 10 applicant organizations as reported in Mirror on Tuesday.


Snoderly can be reached at (907) 512-2624. Follow her on Twitter, @KDMjoann 

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