The Sitka Assembly will meet with a group of national experts tonight (09-12-17) to talk about updating the municipality’s code for land use.

The consultation, provided by a group called Smart Growth America, was awarded to Sitka and five other cities in the United States for free. They’ll give an introductory presentation this evening at 5 p.m. at Harrigan Centennial Hall. 

According to a press release from the city, the audit will assess regulatory barriers and gaps in current municipal code and make suggestions for aligning that language with “community goals.” Smart Growth America representatives will focus specifically on housing affordability and choice, downtown redevelopment, and economic revitalization.

Planning and Community Development Director Michael Scarcelli said he’s looking forward to their input. “As we reach the end of our Comprehensive Plan process, it’s time to turn the public comments into action. Smart Growth America can help us evaluate our zoning and subdivision code and identify barriers to change.”

During the Assembly’s regular meeting, they’ll entertain two proposals for bulk water: one from a new customer and one from an old prospect. Eckert Fine Beverages wants to ship Sitka water in small volumes – 40-foot containers – to California for bottling. According to their purchase agreement (Eckert Fine Beverages), Eckert would be required to design and construct new water loading infrastructure that the City would own and maintain. 

The second purchase agreement (Arctic Blue Waters Inc.) is with Arctic Blue Water Alaska Inc. (ABWAI) to ship 50 million gallons of raw water at 1-cent/gallon. This isn’t CEO Fred Paley’s first offer before the Assembly.

In 2016, the Assembly approved a joint purchase agreement with ABWAI and another company with a similar acronym, Alaska Bulk Water Inc. (ABWI), which required a non-refundable payment of $871,795. Both companies failed to make the payment on time and the agreement ended.

Both purchase agreements are for 20 years and recommended by the Gary Paxton Industrial Park Park. Should the Assembly approve both, Sitka will have 7.4 billion gallons of water for sale.

See agenda here: 170912_AssemblyAgenda

The Assembly will also review funding plans to renovate the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez airport, repair the O’Connell Lightering Facility, and review options for resurfacing Sawmill Creek Road. At the end of the meeting, they will enter executive session for a legal update on litigation regarding the 2015 Kramer Avenue landslide. 

The Assembly meets at 5 p.m. tonight in Harrigan Centennial Hall. Raven News will join the meeting live in progress after Alaska News Nightly at 6 p.m.