The city of Sitka is coming out strongly against a proposed land sale of Alaska Mental Health Trust land to a buyer in Montana.

The property in question is just over 3 acres of waterfront land at the base of the O’Connell Bridge on Japonski Island.  

A three page letter from municipal administrator John Leach, included in Tuesday’s assembly packet, outlines the reasons why the city opposes the sale. The city accesses its work float from the northern portion of the lot –a right-of-way it obtained from the Bureau of Land Management that was recently renewed for another 30 years. If purchased, the applicant has pledged to allow the city to continue use of the right-of-way to access its work float, but Leach writes that until a “legally binding means of securing access” to the float is provided, the city will object to the sale.

Read the full letter here

The waterfront property is priced at $156,000, less than $5 per square foot. The letter from Leach also challenges the Trust Land Office’s approach to the sale, and says that the office did not work in good faith with the city to allow a fair opportunity to submit a competitive proposal. 

Public comment on the sale closes at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow (6-15-22).