HATS OFF – Sitka High School graduates toss their mortarboards in the air after receiving their degrees Monday night in the Sitka High gym. This year 74 seniors graduated in a ceremony that included addresses by teacher Howard Wayne and class representative Nai’a Nelson, a performance by the symphonic band and a video of graduates. A car parade was held after the ceremony. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

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Daily Sitka Sentinel

Amendment Urged For Cluster Housing


Sentinel Staff Writer

In a discussion at the Planning Commission meeting Wednesday, commission members and city staff agreed that a zoning amendment is needed to set guidelines for cluster housing developments.

Also at the meeting the commission heard a report on Sitka tourism following research conducted by students at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

In the meeting’s regular business, the commission unanimously approved a final plat for a minor subdivision resulting in two lots.

Members Chris Spivey, Darrell Windsor, Stacy Mudry, and Katie Riley were present. Wendy Alderson was absent.

Cluster Housing Developments

Planning Director Amy Ainslie said many Sitkans have expressed interest in a form of residential development called cluster housing, in which several housing units that aren’t connected to one another are operated like apartments or condos.

As an example, Ainslie referred to a project on Alice Island, where SEARHC is building identical independent dwelling units that the consortium will own and manage as housing for its employees and their families.

Ainslie had hoped that criteria for cluster housing developments – which are a conditional use in some zones and not permitted by right in any zone – could be laid out through administrative interpretation, which would be a shorter and more internal process than a zoning amendment.

But after discussion Ainslie and the commission decided that a zoning amendment is more desirable for a number of reasons. 

Concerns were raised that unclear guidelines could result in poorly constructed subdivisions, that gray areas could lead the commission to set hard-to-follow precedents, and that without further guidelines, developers could create cluster housing for short-term rentals instead of contributing to Sitka’s long-term housing stock. 

Tourism Research

Priya Gandi and Samantha Matthews of the Pardee RAND Graduate School presented the findings of a tourism research project they conducted through surveys and interviews in Sitka this past summer. Pardee RAND is a public policy graduate school in Santa Monica, California.

The researchers said their survey drew 439 responses, representing 6.5 percent of Sitka adults, a majority reporting “impacts” on traffic, housing, recreation, environment and pollution in Sitka “from one of its busiest visitor seasons ever.” 

Suggestions to mitigate congestion included using university housing for summer workers, the implementation of a lottery or permitting system for use of recreational services, and “local hours” at downtown businesses.

The researchers said they worked hard to distribute their survey throughout the community. Those who responded tended to be older, have more education, and were more likely homeowners.

The students also expressed hope in Sitkans’ ability to collaborate and problem-solve. The full report is available at sitka.legistar.com under the March 16 Planning Commission meeting agenda.

Regular Business

In a unanimous vote, the Planning Commission approved a final plat for a minor subdivision at 206 Cascade Creek Road, in the R-1 single family and duplex residential district.

The property is along Cascade Creek Road to the west and Edgecumbe Drive to the east. One of the two resulting lots has a bunker and carport on the property, and the second lot is undeveloped.

Property owner Jamal Floate plans to live on the developed lot and to build a single-family home on the second lot.

The plat includes a temporary access easement to the second lot from Cascade Creek Road while Floate works to develop access to the second lot from Edgecumbe Drive.

Floate told the commission he will start development on the driveway as soon as he gets a grading permit. 

The temporary access easement will sunset once the driveway is complete and approved by the city.

Floate said that constructing the driveway is “a win-win,” as it will offer privacy to both resulting lots.


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May 2004

Dr. Arthur Cleveland, a former dean at Columbus State University in Georgia, was named the new president of Sheldon Jackson College, SJC officials announced today. He will be replacing C. Carlyle Haaland, who has held the position for four years.


May 1974

Coaching and managing the Little League teams this year are John Abbott and John Calhoun, ANB; Dale and DeWayne Vilandre, Alaska Federal; Walt Barker, Elks; Frank Simmons and Frank Vilandre, Lions; Leo Bacon, Pat Ness, Cliff Robards and Bob Edenso, Moose; and Everett Webb, Sportsmen. Head umpire is Carl Karpstein.


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