Petersburg’s borough assembly Monday approved the transfer of a tidelands lease after hearing about plans to restore a dock behind the Alaska Department of Fish and Game building on Sing Lee Alley.

Local businessman Charles Davis is buying the building that is leased by the state and used for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, children’s services and Alaska Wildlife Trooper. As part of that purchase Davis wants to take over the lease of borough tidelands behind the property from current owner Don Thornlow. Davis worked to remove portions of the dock and ramp this year. He plans to repair and restore a dock used by state workers. He explained that he will seek a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the waterfront and told the assembly his time frame for repairing the dock.

“We will be pursuing the Corps permit needed to do the dredging and we’ve already got a dredge lined up for the project so hopefully the dredging will be done in the next year but the dock by the beginning of April will be up and working and back in the condition you expected it to be,” Davis said.
Current owner Thornlow has agreed to hold back 100,000 dollars of the purchase price for financing the dock work. Petersburg’s assembly voted to wait on the lease transfer last month and said they wanted to hear plans for repairing Fish and Game’s boat access. It’s a requirement of the borough’s lease that the facility be kept up. Assembly member Cindi Lagoudakis wanted to note the facility isn’t in usable condition right now and wanted to set time constraints for Davis to complete the work. “Two things,” Lagoudakis said,”one is that the lease is incorrect because it says it’s in good condition when it’s not. And the other one is that we did not follow through before. I want to put something in this lease that shows our intention that we really do intend to have that facility kept up to standard.”

The assembly passed an amendment to the lease to require the dock work be done by April 1st and dredging be done by the end of 2018. Only Jeigh Stanton Gregor voted against that change. The transfer then passed the assembly unanimously.

In other decisions, the assembly also voted to add property to a January 17 auction. Those parcels are on Haugen Drive and on Fourth Street near Wrangell Avenue. The land is being sold to finance the renovation of the municipal building and fire hall. Another parcel on Sandy Beach Road was rezoned from public use to single family residential in preparation for that sale.

In an update to this story, it turns out the parcel on Haugen Drive needs to be put up for sale by ordinance, rather than the resolution approved by the assembly on December 5th. That means the assembly will have to vote three times on an ordinance to include the parcel in the auction. Local company Hammer and Wikan has applied to buy the property to expand its grocery store.

Borough clerk Debbie Thompson said she thought the property could be approved for sale with one reading of a resolution, like the other land that’s going to go up for sale. However, borough code requires three readings of an ordinance for property valued over a quarter million dollars and a vote of the public for anything worth over half a million. This land is valued just over the threshold for an ordinance at 275,000 dollars.

Thompson said the assembly will consider an ordinance at its December 19th meeting and have second and third readings on January 3rd. The land auction is planned for January 17th.

Also Monday, the assembly approved 56-thousand dollars worth of design work for PND Engineers for future repairs on the dam at the City Creek Reservoir. The work would fix decades of erosion on the spillway of the dam, which holds back one of the borough’s two drinking water reservoirs. Overall the project is expected to cost 420,000 dollars.

Assistant public works director Chris Cotta briefed the assembly about the project. “You know we’ve got a pretty good idea of what needs to be done,” Cotta said. “There could always be surprises. But we’ve had the engineer out to look at it. There don’t seem to be underlying issues that could add a lot of cost to the job. So far it seems pretty straight forward.”

The assembly also voted to renew an annual 42,000 dollar contract with Ray Matiashowski, the borough’s lobbyist in Juneau.