The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly has their first vote tonight on code changes aimed at boosting development of land sold by the borough.

Developed by the Borough Lands Committee, the proposed changes would give buyers a 10 percent rebate if a home is built and lived in on the land within three years of the sale.

Two other proposed changes would disallow anyone from buying land if they owe the borough money and raise land for sale value from $250,000 to $1 million “to reflect the current times,” according to borough manager Michael Powers.

The assembly has already approved preparing 13 parcels for a potential sale this fall.

With numerous members of the public commenting on affordable housing, especially in light of next month’s closing of Jackson Mobile Home Park, much of the assembly conversation at an Aug. 11 work session focused on the borough role in land disposal.

“I know we’re not going to give any land away to satisfy immediate needs for Jackson residents … it doesn’t work that way, I don’t see how it can work that way,” said assembly member Kyle Crow. “We do need to, I think, make it a priority to get some affordable (land out) in some way.”

Assembly member Frank Peterson concurred.

“What I see here is great … but, we’re not really doing anything to help those that make less money buy land,” he said. “A 10 percent rebate, you still have to have the money up front in order to be able to buy the land, in order to build a house, which costs more money, in order to get a rebate in 36 months. I don’t see that we’re doing anything in here to make it easier for lower income families, beginning families, new families a chance.”

Assembly member Larry LeDoux recommended the borough hire a housing coordinator to develop affordable housing and call for proposals by builders to develop such housing.

“Both of them take an active rule on the assembly’s part to give the manager the resources to do it, the personnel to do it, or the creativity of the lands committee to develop those public private partnerships to make it happen,” LeDoux said.

Powers said borough staff has discussed affordable housing and a housing coordinator. He noted the borough doesn’t have housing powers.

The meeting is at 6:30 in the borough assembly chambers. The code change vote is on the agenda for a first reading, and if passed, would be forwarded to a public hearing and final approval at a second meeting. 

Contact staff reporter Julie Herrmann at julie@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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