Tonight (4-26-16), the Assembly will consider legalizing bed & breakfasts on boats, cracking down on texting while driving, among other items.

At tonight’s regular meeting (4-26-16), the Assembly will consider allowing short-term rentals in the public zone with conditional use permits. The request aims to create rental opportunities in Sitka’s harbors.

Right now, rentals and bed and breakfasts on boats are not allowed. Tim Fulton, who filed the ordinance, pitched the same idea to the Planning Commission in December, without the conditional use process. It was voted down.

Here is the Agenda for 4/26/16 regular Assembly meeting. 

One item was pulled from tonight’s agenda: an Assembly-sponsored idea to subsidize utility costs for low-income homeowners.

Under the proposed program, the city would credit eligible homeowners 30-percent of their utility charges, directly on their account. That subsidization would end after a certain period of time.

The ordinance is sponsored by Assembly members Tristan Guevin and Bob Potrzuski, inspired by conversations this winter about how some Sitkans are struggling to pay their utility bills. Utility rates increased 6% last year and are projected to increase this year.

Guevin said they pulled the item in order to adjust eligibility criteria and expects the ordinance will receive a first reading at a future meeting.

The Assembly will also provide a final reading to several proposals, including a law to restrict cell phone use in cars, requiring conditional use permits for marijuana businesses, granting the administrator the power to establish furloughs, and revising the city’s procurement policy for contracts and purchases.

The Assembly will get a status update on the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau from executive director Rachel Roy and hear their marketing plan for the summer. The first big cruise ship, the Norwegian Pearl, arrives May 9th with a passenger count of 2,394.

Here is the Sitka CVB’s Visit Sitka Marketing Plan Final 2016 04 18

Before entering executive session at the meeting’s close, the Assembly will receive direction for recruiting a new municipal attorney. Robin Schmid, the city’s attorney since 2013, was resigned after her annual evaluation last week (4-19-16).

The Sitka Assembly meets in regular session at 6 p.m. in Room 229 at UAS. Raven Radio will join the meeting live in progress, after Alaska News Nightly.