NEW ROUND – Sitka Fire Chief Craig Warren chats with Patrick and Catharine Weaver this afternoon at the fire hall during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. The Weavers were waiting fifteen minutes after receiving the Moderna version of the COVID-19 vaccine. About 100 Sitkans were scheduled to receive their first dose today. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses for full efficacy. Sitkans can sign up to receive vaccinations at covid19.searhc.org. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Multiple-Unit Project Next for Land Trust

By Sentinel Staff

As the Sitka Community Land Trust makes plans to break ground on a multiple-unit housing project, it’s still seeking a buyer for the first home it has built.

Land Trust president Randy Hughey spoke at the Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday about the newest project at the Old City Shops land on Halibut Point Road, and the groups’ first home on Lillian Drive. The goal of the Community Land Trust is to create affordable housing for Sitka.

Mim McConnell and Randy Hughey talk about the Sitka Community Land Trust Project. (Sentinel Photo)

An open house for the Lillian Drive property will be held 5-7 p.m. next Thursday. The three-bedroom house was built on a 3,800 square foot lot given by the city for the purpose of increasing affordable housing. 

The idea behind a land trust is to make “starter homes” affordable by removing the cost of the land from the price paid by the buyer. The resident owns the house, but the land it’s  on would be held in trust. When the owner eventually moves on and sells the house, there’s a cap on the sale price, allowing the seller to make a profit but keeping the cost low for the next owner.

Hughey said the project at Lillian Drive has highlighted just how challenging it is to build affordable housing in Sitka. 

“The reason there aren’t a lot of affordable houses on the market is because it’s really hard to do. We got a great education on that,” Hughey said.

Finishing touches are under way on the house, and the final cost to the trust is expected to be around $250,000, he  said.

Adding to the costs were the need to excavate and fill to a depth of 10 feet to provide a solid foundation. In addition,  the 1,367 square-foot structure is bigger than the size used for estimates.

Still, the group figures that the purchaser will pay around $1,100 a month based on estimates from Baranof Realty.

Responding to a question from the audience about the value of the lot itself, Hughey said estimates came in at around $80,000. That cost is being deferred from the expense paid by the buyer because the land trust will retain ownership of the land.

Hughey said the CLT is hoping to do even better on affordable housing with the planned cottage neighborhood at the Old City Shops site located off Halibut Point Road. The group received a $234,000 Rasmuson grant to begin work on the project, which is going to emphasize smaller homes. 

The houses are on 4,000-square-foot lots, which is half of the minimum required in an R-1 zone, Hughey said. 

The difference will be made up in shared spaces for the community, including parks and storage areas. 

“Even though these houses are densely packed, they have a lot of the features of a larger lot,” he said. 

Preliminary work is expected to begin this building season.

Hughey said the idea is not for low-income housing but for making it easier to buy a house than it currently is. 

“We do not see this as just a low-income housing issue in Sitka but also a medium-income issue,” he said. 

 

 

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August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:

 

On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff

 

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 1-15-21)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 10:55 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 296

Total statewide – 49,835

Total (cumulative) deaths – 228

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,126

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

Active cases in Sitka – 17

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 301 (274 resident; 27 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 281

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

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20 YEARS AGO
January 2001

Photo caption: Sarah and Jeremy Pickard and Dr. James Brooks show off Lauren Marie Pickard, the first baby born in Sitka this year. She arrived at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital at 10:05 a.m., Jan. 4, weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces and measuring 20 inches. She’s the first child for the Pickards,who moved here in May with the U.S. Coast Guard.

50 YEARS AGO
January 1971

Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Foster and daughter Marchele have ended a two-week vacation trip to Idaho. They bought a new Mustang in Seattle, drove it to Sandpoint, Idaho, to visit relatives and stopped in Everett, Wash., to visit Mrs. Foster’s cousin, whom she hadn’t seen in 13 years. Mrs. Foster and Marchele returned by plane and Foster is following with the car, on the ferry.

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