Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Josephson questions Jones Point trail plans

 

October 19, 2017



Haines Borough Planning Commission member and newly elected assembly member Brenda Josephson challenged the borough assembly’s letter of support of Takshanuk Watershed Council’s grant application for recreational trails on the Jones Point property.

Takshanuk’s 50 acres is zoned heavy industrial. Playfields and parks, according to borough zoning code, are not an allowable use in areas zoned heavy industrial, Josephson wrote to the borough manager.

“It is important that all land owners are treated equally when it comes to inconsistent uses with zoning regulations,” Josephson said. “The public is not protected when our administration and borough assembly looks the other way on violations for some land owners in our community while harshly enforcing zoning regulations to restrict other landowners.”

She requested borough staff investigate the property.

Josephson said the assembly’s current desire to limit the University of Alaska timber sale in the Mud Bay zoning district where resource extraction is considered an allowable use while approving a letter supporting trails in a heavy industrial zoned area is inconsistent.

“Code and zoning regulations must be consistently applied,” Josephson said.

The property has a conservation easement, but the easement does not preempt local zoning regulations, according to borough attorney Brooks Chandler.

Trails on the property are included in the borough’s future growth map and objectives in the comprehensive plan.

“Designate natural trail along beach along Chilkat River between Carr’s Cove and Jones Point and provide continued public use and coastal access,” the comprehensive plan states.

Takshanuk Watershed Council’s Derek Poinsette said no trails have been built and that they have discussed applying for a zoning change.

“This is charged with politics,” Poinsette said. “It’s not like we’re doing anything out there. We haven’t built any trails yet,” Poinsette said. “We fixed up the road. We’ve gated it off most of the time but open it up during eulachon season. We basically keep that gate closed.”

If the Jones Point land is rezoned, the planning commission must recommend another 50 acres in the townsite to make up for the loss of heavy industrial zoned land, Josephson said.

 
 

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