When the Sitka Assembly meets tonight (2-11-20) it will, for the second time, consider making room for tiny houses in city code. 

An effort to increase the availability of affordable housing in Sitka was put on pause when the assembly met in January and postponed voting on a proposal that would bring tiny houses under Sitka’s residential zoning code.

Tiny homes on wheels currently have no legal standing in Sitka, and it’s hard to find examples from other municipalities to work from. – In most places tiny houses on wheels are treated the same as RVs. If the proposal passes, Sitka would join only a handful of other cities to apply international building standards to tiny homes.

But assembly members had reservations about the code changes after hearing concerns from the public about the safety regulations for tiny homes on chassis. 

The assembly will also consider whether to sell the city-owned marine services center. The city currently leases part of the building to Seafood Producers Cooperative and Northline Seafoods,  while setting aside some of the cold storage facilities for independent fishing businesses. But the center is in need of major repairs, including replacing the sea wall- a project with an estimated cost of $7 million.   

In other business, the assembly will  consider hiring Jessica Leremia as the new library director. Leremia has worked at the Petersburg Library for the last 9 years. When the assembly met in January, it approved increasing the salary for the position, which was the lowest paid city department head position, from $71,000 to $82,000. 

In other business, the Sitka Assembly:

  • Will consider a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the Sitka Cycling Club
  • Will consider, on second reading, updates to city code to rezone a portion of Halibut Point Marine’s property from industrial to commercial
  • Will discuss possible repairs to the Crescent Harbor High Load Dock and consider making financial appropriations to fund the project
  • Will consider several other financial appropriations for FY20
  • Will go behind closed doors for an executive session regarding legal and personnel matters with the Sitka Police Department, stemming from three separate lawsuits filed in 2018 and 2019 (Two of those suits have since settled out of court)

The Sitka Assembly meets at 5 p.m. tonight at Harrigan Centennial Hall, and reconvenes for its regular meeting at 6 Raven News will broadcast the meeting live, following Alaska News Nightly.