The Planning Commission has shifted focus as it overhauls Sitka’s comprehensive plan, last updated in 2007. At their meeting last Tuesday (03-01-16), the commission voted to focus their energies on updating the land use section first.

In reviewing land use, Planning and Community Development Director Maegan Bosak says the process will include conducting a land-use inventory. The inventory will assess all parcels within Sitka road system to determine how their both adheres to and deviates from the comprehensive plan.

In 2015, the commission granted 34 variances for development projects. Bosak said the code needs to reflect the times.  “We’ll do a comparative look as to how we are currently operating and then also decide how we want to move forward. Do some of those zones need to change? Do setbacks need to change? Does density requirements and development standards need to change? All that will be encapsulated in the land use plan,” she said.

Bosak says the commission is developing various avenues for public input, including surveys, an interactive mapping website, and what Bosak called “meetings in a box.”

“We’ll have boxes that people can take and in their living rooms, with a group of approximately 8-10 people, they can sit around maps and look at future land growth strategies and how they see them best fitting in Sitka,” Bosak said.

As for the remaining sections, Bosak says they will be reviewed through a public participation session to determine if they need updating. The Planning Commission hopes to finalize the revised comprehensive plan by the spring of 2017 and is dedicating the first Tuesday meeting of every month to that project.