Things are moving forward with the Petersburg borough’s pursuit of Papke’s Landing, a well-used state-owned dock and boat ramp about 10 miles south of downtown Petersburg.
The borough assembly Monday voted to take some first steps toward acquiring that land and those facilities from two state agencies.
The land and boat ramp are owned by the Department of Natural Resources while the road and dock are owned by the Department of Transportation. They’re heavily used by remote residents to access their property, nearby sport fishing lodges and boaters from Petersburg.
The assembly has been supportive of improving that site and a little wary about the cost of upgrades and long-term maintenance. And they’ll have more decisions to make in the near future.
They’ll decide whether that transfer actually makes sense, vote on conceptual plans for the area and decide whether to fund a land survey. The local government has already purchased some land in the area from the state for potential future parking and has paid for conceptual plans, which are not finalized. They’re taking public comment on those drawings through the end of the month.
The assembly asked about deciding on those plans for future improvements. Borough manager Steve Giesbrecht explained that was on the assembly’s to-do list before he could move forward.
“This is going to take a while I guess is my point and it all has to come back to the assembly, the final thing is that resolution that answers all these questions and lays that out,” Giesbrecht said. “The assembly has to approve that and then at that point I can submit an application to start the work at DNR’s end. So these are questions that have to be answered including, exactly like you just said Mr. Mayor, about what are the plans going to look like.”
The assembly unanimously supported requesting land in that area using some of the 14,208 acres granted to the municipality for borough formation. The state has approved transferring some of its land to the borough and has rejected some requests from Petersburg.
The assembly also voted unanimously to ask for the state land from the DNR. The manager reported that the DOT has expressed interest in transferring the dock and road to the borough.
In other decisions, the assembly also approved three ordinances, all in their first reading. They would make changes to the Petersburg borough charter if approved by voters.
One change would remove the requirement for voter-approved service areas for water, sewer and garbage collection outside of the old city limits. The borough is already providing some of those functions to properties on Mitkof Island and officials want the charter to be consistent with current practice.
Another change would let elected boards and commissions decide conflicts of interest among their members, instead of sending that decision to the assembly.
And a third change would allow borough employees and elected officials to take part in an outcry auction for borough property. The charter prohibits that, unless the sale is done by sealed bid. That’s an issue that came up in the recent sale of two borough parcels.
If the assembly advances those ordinances in two more meetings, those questions will go before voters this October.