- Associated Press - Sunday, March 30, 2014

SITKA, Alaska (AP) - The Department of Natural Resources will hold an open house Monday on the potential sale of up to 485 acres of state-owned land on the water along Lisianski Peninsula.

The open house will be 6 p.m. at Centennial Hall.

The state has released a preliminary decision for the proposed Nakwasina Sound subdivision land sale that stretches along the water for about four miles, from Lisianski Point north to a point almost due east of Eastern Point. The property is located off the road system eight miles north of downtown Sitka.

State officials say the sale is in line with a constitutional mandate to “encourage the settlement of state land.”

Although DNR has listed the land sale for remote settlement as the “preferred alternative,” the department says it is considering other alternatives:

Alternative 2: Do not subdivide the project area prior to offering. Offer the project area as a single 485-acre parcel.

Alternative 3: (status quo) Do not offer this project area for private ownership. Retain the land in state ownership.

Several parcels are excluded from the proposed sale area, including Dog Point, the lighthouse east of the Siginaka Islands and a half-mile square parcel south of Dog Point.

The state said it plans to make about 50 parcels of at least 2.5 acres available for sale through a public auction process.

The comment period on the preliminary decision ends 5 p.m. March 20.

Blair French, natural resource specialist, said public comments and questions will be welcome at Monday’s event.

“It’s for people to find out more about what we’re proposing to do, and how we’re proposing to do it,” he said.

It will be up to individual property buyers how they want to develop the property, whether it’s leaving it as it is or building a cabin, Blair said.

The official announcement of the preliminary decision on the land offering cites the Alaska statute on land disposals requiring a 30-day comment period. DNR Resource Manager Tim Shilling said the preliminary decision was signed Feb. 10, and public notices were posted online, and sent out that week to nearby property owners, the City and Borough of Sitka, libraries and the U.S. Post Office.

He said the requirement to post notice in a newspaper is no longer in effect, and that this is one of the first projects in which DNR did not advertise the proposed action in the newspaper nearest to the site. DNR sent out its first news release about its Nakwasina land sale proposal on Monday afternoon.

City Administrator Mark Gorman said he had recently learned of the project, and would include information in the packet for the Assembly meeting that will be held the day after the DNR open house.

DNR’s preliminary decision statement said a municipality may hold a hearing within 30 days after receiving notice, and if a hearing is held, the commissioner of DNR or his representative “shall attend the hearing.”

Maegan Bosak, Planner I for the City and Borough of Sitka, said she and Planning Director Wells Williams have met with DNR representatives on the project to talk about the requirements for subdividing and selling the land. She said the sales are likely two years out.

“They’re just starting the public process,” Bosak said. DNR still needs to go through the major subdivision process, before the lots are put up for sale. Property owners in the new subdivision will need to pay property tax, and follow city and borough platting and zoning regulations, she said.

The property is currently not zoned under the city planning map.

If the preliminary decision is approved, the state will come up with a final design for the subdivision, with lots going up for sale and available to any Alaska resident over the age of 18. The minimum bid is the fair market value of the land, French said.

The preliminary decision, including a map of the area, is available at https://landsales.alaska.gov/mlw/landsale/public_notice/.

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Information from: Daily Sitka (Alaska) Sentinel, https://www.sitkasentinel.com/


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