KODIAK — The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly directed borough staff last week to investigate two areas of borough-owned property for possible development of housing lots.
Assembly members have been pushing land sales as part of a strategy to diversify borough revenue sources, but also in response to a need for more housing.
One recent result of this push was assembly approval July 7 to rezone three lots in a new subdivision in Bell’s Flats that will become part of a future borough land sale. That sale has not yet been scheduled.
But assembly members also asked Thursday about the possibility of developing borough land along the hillside facing Monashka Bay.
Some areas now accessible by roads on the hillside have been degraded by illegal tree cutting and four-wheeling, borough resource management officer Bob Scholze said.
“One way to … at least address that is to extend the road and have private property owners nearby.” Scholze said.
Borough Mayor Jerome Selby suggested bringing in a consultant to chart a course for further development.
“The hillside gives you some limited options once you start putting road in,” Selby said. “You start limiting your options fairly quickly about the rest of what you are doing up there.”
The borough may choose to sell only a portion of the hillside for development, Selby said, but a consultant could look at the whole thing and present an overall plan.
Assembly member Chris Lynch said she wants a consultant not just to choose parcels for development, but to present the borough a 20-year vision for moving forward in the area.
Another alternative brought before the assembly last week was to explore selling borough land in Chiniak.
The Chiniak subdivision has 11 lots first sold in the 1980s, Scholze told the assembly.
However, another 90 acres of borough land at Chiniak also could be developed, he said. A conceptual design done in the 1980s for additional lots shows an additional 36 lots.
“I think it would be probably wise to take a few lots to the market and see what kind of demand there is” without flooding the market with new lots, Scholze said.
The assembly also directed a consultant to investigate the best way to develop the Chiniak land.
A month ago, the Kodiak Board of Realtors proposed expanding residential housing to land owned by the city of Kodiak and the borough behind Selief Lane to alleviate a housing crunch in Kodiak.
“I think this is the most logical place to get developable land with public utilities,” board member Bob Brodie said at the joint work session of the borough assembly and city council.
The proposed expansion could eventually contain some 80 to 100 lots and run between the area of Maple Avenue and Von Scheele Way.
However, in an update to the borough assembly last week, Scholze pointed out some of the difficulties in getting that project off the ground.
He referenced an email from city of Kodiak public works director Mark Kozak that raised the issue of reserving the area for flood plain control for a potential failure of the Upper Bettinger Dam.
That would eliminate the lower areas owned by the city of Kodiak from the potential development equation. The rest of the borough land has such a rise in elevation that getting water and sewer to those areas may require an engineering study, Kozak said.
Kozak’s first impression is that the lines downstream could not handle the additional growth without major upgrades.
Scholze also noted a number of issues for developing borough land along the corridor, including wetlands, drainage and steep slopes.
Mirror writer Wes Hanna can be reached via email at email@example.com.