February 10, 2011 |

HAL variance to be reheard

The Haines Borough Assembly voted 6-0 Tuesday to rehear a contested variance approved by the planning commission for a Haines Assisted Living building expansion.

Resident Mike Denker, whose house abuts the HAL building, appealed a second variance the project received that puts the HAL extension within a few feet of his home. Denker told the assembly the variance violated provisions of state and borough law, including that a variance not be granted if the reason for it was created by the party seeking it.

"After-the-fact decisions circumvent an important part of the process – having a public hearing before a decision is made," Denker said.

Planning commissioners recently said conflicting code language about building separation and setbacks makes it unclear whether a variance was necessary for the project. Denker said another section of code mandates the maximum setback when code requirements are in conflict.

Borough clerk Julie Cozzi said the assembly can overturn the commission’s decision, affirm it or place conditions on it. The assembly will hear the appeal at its Feb. 22 meeting.

Member Daymond Hoffman questioned where the appeal would lead. The work requiring the second variance has been completed. "The toothpaste is out of the tube. What are we going to accomplish?"