The Alaska Supreme Court may have a decision in the next month or two on the boundaries of the Petersburg borough.
The size of the new municipality has been up in the air since it was approved by area residents in December of 2012. That’s because the city and borough Juneau sought to annex some of the same land on the northern end of the proposed Petersburg borough. A superior court ruled in Petersburg’s favor last year and Juneau appealed that ruling to the state’s highest court.
The sides made oral arguments in that case in June. Petersburg borough manager Steve Giesbrecht updated the assembly on the case Monday, with information from Petersburg’s attorney Jim Brennan.
“They are circulating an opinion right now among the justices on the Petersburg-Juneau boundary,” Giesbrecht said. “Generally that means a month, give or take, before they actually issue their opinion. So at this point, December or January we should have an answer on the issue. And I asked well can he see the opinion and the answer was no, not until they release it. So we’re still kinda at a wait and see but it is at that final stage right now where the justices are reviewing their own decision and it could come out as early as tomorrow or it could be another month or so.”
The Petersburg borough was incorporated in January of 2013. Juneau argues the state’s Local Boundary Commission did not consider the Capital City’s competing claim to the land. Both Petersburg and the LBC argued that Juneau was able to make its case for that territory during a three-day commission hearing in Petersburg in 2012.
In other news,
Petersburg’s comprehensive plan and harbor master plan will be coming out in final draft form next month. The two documents look at land use and long term trends in the community along with a consideration of harbor facilities, needs and finances.
Giesbrecht said the assembly, planning and zoning commission and harbor board would be reviewing those final plans in December. “The way our ordinance works is P&Z and the harbor board really kind of need to approve their portion of these plans and recommend to the assembly to adopt them,” he explained. “And that will probably not come until January-ish to give both those boards a chance to go through the documents one final time.”
The two documents are being drafted by consulting firm Agnew Beck. The plans cost the borough 195,000 dollars paid for with some of the state money Petersburg received for the transition to a borough government.
The assembly Monday also approved the third reading of an ordinance to rezone some borough land next to the Hammer and Wikan shopping center. That move paves the way for the sale of that property to the company for expanding the grocery store. The assembly will be deciding on actually putting the land up for sale at a later date.
Also approved Monday was the second reading of an ordinance making some budget changes for this year. That measure still needs one more vote before taking effect.