Planning commissioners have asked the Haines Borough Assembly to negotiate — and possibly purchase — an easement between Haines School and a neighboring property where a local developer is building an RV park.

For decades planners have assumed there’s an easement where the school’s rear alley runs, behind Thor’s Gym. But that assumption wasn’t accurate, according to a memo from borough planner Dave Long. The easement either was never officially recorded or expired decades ago, Long said.

Long made this discovery after the parcels were surveyed last year.

The borough approved a conditional use permit for the RV park in 2020 with several conditions including that owner Chris Thorgesen consolidate two lots into a single lot larger than an acre. A survey showed his property line extended into the school’s alley and suggested the assumed 20-foot easement wasn’t valid, Long said.

Emails to Long from Haines Police sergeant Josh Dryden and fire chief Brian Clay indicate maintaining the alley where the easement was assumed is important for public safety because it sees pedestrian and vehicle traffic and provides access to the school for the fire department.

Planning commissioners last week directed the assembly to work toward a solution with Thorgesen.

In other news, the planning commission approved a 65% design plan for Jenae’s Playground at the school and repairs on Beach Road for damage from the December 2020 storm. Commissioners also approved a 35% plan for disaster-related repairs on Dalton Street, with a few additions including creating space for parking on the upper side of the street. The commission sees design plans at three stages — 35%, 65% and 95% — before construction begins on engineering projects.

Margarette Jones was elected to the planning commission over Bill Jurewitz. Richard Clement was elected last month over Ayana Young. Unlike other committees, members of the planning commission vote to elect new members, who then must be appointed by the Mayor and approved by the assembly. Two more seats will be vacant at the end of November. Application are due Nov. 30.