The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Petersburg in an annexation dispute with Juneau.
Both Southeast borough governments made claims to about 1,500 square miles of largely wilderness land between the two communities.
Petersburg petitioned the Local Boundary Commission to annex the property in 2011. Juneau followed with a competing claim. Petersburg won rights to most of the land.
A Superior Court judge agreed and Juneau appealed to the Supreme Court.
Petersburg Mayor Mark Jensen says his borough was ready for today’s decision.
“We’ve already spent a couple years since the vote, moving ahead with taxing people outside service area 1. And going through ordinances and changing every ordinance to match the borough government,” he says.
The previously contested land is almost completely uninhabited national forest. But with the land goes federal receipts.
Hobart Bay, which includes a tourist attraction, is part of the annexed area.
Jensen says a dock at Entrance Island, at the mouth of the bay, has to be dealt with.
“It’s owned by the state, so that will be an ongoing discussion. With the state of the budget, the financial affairs of the state, they’re probably not going to give us a bunch of money to fix it before they give it to use, so that’s something we’re going to have to address,” he says.
The Hobart Bay tourist development is owned by Juneau’s Goldbelt urban Native corporation. Jensen says talks are planned for February.
This is a developing story and will be updated with more information.