The Pillar Creek fish hatchery plans to expand, but first it needs to downsize.

On Wednesday night, the Kodiak Island Borough’s planning and zoning commission recommended approval of a land swap between the Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association and the Kodiak Island Borough.

Under the terms of the swap, KRAA — acting as an agent for the state-owned hatchery — will give up 19 acres of property to gain 2.61 acres on which KRAA operates two water wells.

Tina Fairbanks, KRAA’s operations manager, said the swap is intended to clean up KRAA’s application for a new property lease. The lease for Pillar Creek hatchery, signed in 1988, expires this year.

“We thought that this would be a good opportunity to redraw those lines in a way that makes sense for the facility,” she said.

The land occupied by the hatchery is leased by the state from the borough. The land swap would change the boundaries of the leased area.

This summer, KRAA plans to remodel Pillar Creek Hatchery, adding new roofs and improving drainage in a $1.67 million project. Since KRAA began operating the hatchery in 1993, it has produced millions of salmon and trout for rivers and lakes in the Kodiak archipelago.

Fairbanks said KRAA has no immediate plans to extend the hatchery’s buildings into the new land area, but the swap gives the hatchery organization the flexibility to do so if plans change.

The land swap and a new lease for KRAA must be approved by the borough assembly before coming into effect.

Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at editor@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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