- Associated Press - Monday, December 7, 2015

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Petersburg Borough in a territory dispute over about 1,500 square miles of land with the City and Borough of Juneau.

Alaska’s highest court, in its decision released Friday, sided with Petersburg and the Local Boundary Commission of Alaska, which set Petersburg’s northern boundary along a series of peaks south of Tracy Arm.

Officials with the Petersburg Borough had petitioned the commission for the city’s northern boundary to be extended to the southern edge of Juneau, which runs mostly north of Tracy Arm. Juneau officials filed a counter-claim, seeking the annexation of Tracy Arm about 1,900 square miles sought by Petersburg, according to The Juneau Empire (https://bit.ly/1N5PBek).

“This wasn’t a situation where the CBJ had a dispute against Petersburg,” Juneau municipal attorney Amy Mead said. “This was really a case where we had doubts and concerns over the analysis engaged.”

The boundary commission gave Petersburg most of the rights to the land. It decided on a compromise that set Petersburg’s northern boundary south of Tracy Arm but farther north than what was requested in Juneau’s claim.

Juneau officials challenged the decision on the basis of the Alaska Constitution, which states that boroughs must “embrace an area and population with common interests to the maximum degree possible.”

Friday’s decision “affirmed that it’s really up to the commission” to decide who has the closest ties to the area, Mead said.

Petersburg Mayor Mark Jensen told KSFK-FM (https://bit.ly/1NQuGzr) that his borough was prepared for the state Supreme Court’s decision.

“We’ve already spent a couple years since the vote, moving ahead with taxing people outside service area 1. And going through ordinances and changing every ordinance to match the borough government,” he said.

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com

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