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)

Assembly Advances Affordable Housing

By SHANNON HAUGLAND

Sentinel Staff Writer

The Assembly took its first step Tuesday night toward creating a six-home affordable housing project on the old city shops property.

The vote was 6-0 to approve an ordinance selling the plot at 1306 Halibut Point Road to Sitka Community Development Corporation for $1. The ordinance states that all this, and the other two parcels, 1410 and 1414 HPR, will be dedicated to affordable housing.

The initial project will be to build six affordable homes at 1306 that will be sold to private owners, but with the land remaining in the ownership of the Community Land Trust, established by the SCDC. 

Voting in favor of the ordinance, which will be up for final reading Nov. 24, were Ben Miyasato, Aaron Swanson, Tristan Guevin, Matthew Hunter, Steven Eisenbeisz and Bob Potrzuski. Mayor Mim McConnell recused herself because she is executive director of the nonprofit corporation.

In a 2006 election voters approved a proposition to dedicate the vacant land to affordable housing. A fully designed project for the site by an outside development firm was ready for bid about six years ago, but it failed when the necessary state and federal funding was not awarded.

The ordinance that passed on first reading Tuesday night will allow for six houses to be built on the parcel closest to a veterinary clinic to the south.

Supporters of the plan hope that if this first development is successful, the other parcels will be transferred. 

SCDC President Randy Hughey said today only one parcel is being transferred at this time to allow the corporation to come up with a plan for protecting the future homeowners from a potential slide on the western and northern end of the property. Hughey noted the slide that occurred in the area in 2005.

There was no debate about the ordinance. McConnell said today she’s happy with the vote.

“I was so excited,” she said. “I’m really pleased. It’s been a long time coming. SCDC has been around since 2006, a lot of members have come and gone, and they’ve all been trying to get affordable housing going here. I feel like getting 1306 is the first step closer to having six houses built. It is a huge deal.”

She also likes the structure of the community land trust, in which the title for the land remains in the trust, with the homeowner purchasing only the house.

“I’m excited about getting affordable housing that is permanently affordable on that land,” McConnell said. 

At the Assembly meeting, Hughey said he believes the ordinance will have a “positive impact on affordable housing in Sitka.”

The Assembly approved an amendment that allows the administrator to execute documents necessary to convey “Parcel 1306 subject to final platting of the lot to ensure there is no encroachment of city assets or existing utility easements.”

Miyasato, one of the co-sponsors of the ordinance, said he’s pleased to see the project moving forward.

“It’s been discussed since I ran for Assembly. It’s true we’re losing people because they can’t afford to live here,” he said.

Potrzuski also spoke in favor, saying this will help people remain in the community.

Asked how the project will be funded, Hughey said SCDC is applying for a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation to cover initial development costs, including drainage and utilities.

In a separate project SCDC is building an affordable house on Lillian Drive. It is not yet completed, but it has been listed for sale. McConnell said today there has been some interest, but the house hasn’t sold yet.

Guevin said this project is one piece of the affordable housing issue, and he’s interested in the possibility of affordable rentals as well.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the Assembly:

– dissolved the Tourism Commission and the Strategic Planning Commission.

– appointed Pamela Ash to the Marijuana Advisory Committee. She was among seven applicants for the position. The Assembly separately introduced an ordinance to make the Marijuana Advisory Committee the city’s regulatory authority on marijuana through Feb. 24, 2016.

– appointed Mike Nurco to Port and Harbors Commission, Jeff Arndt to the Health Needs and Human Services Commission, and Hugh Bevan to the Citizens Task Force.

– amended a zoning map to rezone an island just off Galankin Island from General Island to Large Island.

– approved a liquor license renewal for the Bayview Restaurant and Pub, a liquor license ownership transfer to the Bayview, and a liquor license transfer for the Mean Queen at 206 Harbor Drive, the former location of Van Winkle and Son restaurant.

– approved a project to expand the Jarvis Street bulk tank improvement project to include remedies of defects identified after the diesel spill the weekend of August 14.

 

 

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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.

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– 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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