Petersburg’s planning and zoning commission thinks the borough should look into two parcels of land near Papke’s Landing, about ten miles south of downtown Petersburg.
The commission Tuesday voted unanimously to recommend the borough assembly explore acquiring the land.
The area is owned by The Department of Transportation, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the Mental Health Trust. State officials have expressed interest in wanting to transfer ownership of the dock to the borough. The dock and ramp at Papke’s are well-used by area residents, so that transfer could lead to much-needed repairs.
Commissioner Ronn Buschmann said that acquiring the land won’t just benefit those living near Papke’s now, but could benefit others in the borough as well.
“There are a lot of us, like myself, that live in town, want to fish at the south end of the Narrows, so they go launch their boat out there and operate there instead of operating from the harbor in town,” Buschmann said.
However, there were some concerns. A few members mentioned the problem of abandoned cars in the area, some of which may have been parked there for years. Commissioner Dona Laubhan suggested the borough could look into a permitting system for the vehicles. She said the system had been effective when Petersburg acquired land at Scow Bay.
“To prevent the problem and to be able to clean it up, we were given permits with a 30-day notice,” Laubhan said. “And so at the same time, when it was going through the transition to the city, they were able to clean it up and it transitioned really easily. People had to have those permits, and it really did help clean it up. And it didn’t cost anything for the people.”
The commission ultimately decided to recommend the assembly look for a solution to the issue as it explores acquiring the land. Possibilities for that acquisition could include purchasing it, a land exchange, or as part of land selection for the creation of a new borough.