Haines government leaders continue to grapple with the question of whether yurts should be allowed as permanent residences throughout the townsite. The assembly’s Government Affairs and Services Committee talked about the issue for about an hour Tuesday night.

The discussion comes after the planning commission last month recommended the assembly adopt a proposed ordinance from 2013 that would have banned yurts, wall tents, and similar structures as permanent residences within the townsite. The assembly at that time failed to pass the ordinance, and in June the body sent the proposal to the GAS committee for more discussion.

“We need to do something that is neutral and just all-encompassing for yurts, whatever containers, whatever temporary things people are going to want to put on their property while they’re building. Because clearly this isn’t going to go away,” said assembly member Caitie Kirby at Tuesday’s meeting.

In a June memo to the assembly, the planning commission said commissioners are “concerned with the “creep” [of] temporary rentals to primary residence of yurts and other such structures.” The memo said commissioners are also concerned about yurts degrading property values.

Committee chair Cheryl Stickler suggested considering designating certain zones where yurts would be allowed as permanent residences, while only allowing them as temporary residences in others.

“It would be my recommendation that defining a yurt as a temporary residence is not applicable to every zone,” said Stickler.

As committee members struggled to figure out how to move forward, Mayor Doug Olerud suggested they not take any action.

“Do some more research, see if there can be some kind of a concrete idea going forward,” said Olerud.

Stickler agreed and adjourned the meeting. The next GAS committee meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 3.