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State gives land sought by Juneau to Petersburg

Commission designates Hobart Bay, Endicott Arm to new borough

Posted: June 3, 2012 - 12:09am

A new Petersburg Borough won approval from the Local Boundary Commission Friday, including in the new borough land that had been sought by Juneau.

The LBC voted 4-1 to approve the dissolution of the city of Petersburg, and formation the new Petersburg Borough with boundaries objected to by Juneau and other neighbors.

Under the LBC plan, Hobart Bay and Endicott Arm, two areas sought for inclusion in the City and Borough of Juneau by CBJ officials would instead become part of the new Petersburg Borough.

“I’m disappointed, but I’m not entirely surprised,” said Mayor Bruce Botelho, one of the members of a Juneau delegation that attended the multi-day LBC meeting in Petersburg to consider the city’s expansion proposal and the objections.

Botelho said that when the commission declined to consolidated the two petitions for consideration together it indicated they’d probably.

Among those from Juneau attending the hearing along with Botelho were Assemblyman David Stone, community leaders Wayne Regelin, Mal Menzies, Bruce Simonson and Eran Hood.

Two board members from Juneau’s Native corporation, Goldbelt, also attended. Ben Coronell and Katherine Eldemar both urged the LBC not to include its 30,000 acres of Hobart Bay land in the new Petersburg Borough.

The area Juneau seeks to have joined to its existing borough has long been considered to be a future part of Juneau under the state’s model borough boundaries, but Juneau had not sought to annex the largely uninhabited area.

When Petersburg last year sought to create its borough and asked for that land, it that may have given it a jump on Juneau, Botelho said.

After Petersburg acted, Juneau filed its own annexation proposal, but the delay may have hurt Juneau’s case.

“From my perspective, that’s how it played out,” Botelho said.

“There was a fair amount of testimony critical of Juneau for not having petitioned to get it sooner,” he said.

The accusation was that “now that Petersburg wants it, we want it,” Botelho said.

The commission appeared to give a lot of weight to testimony from Petersburg fisherman who testified about the community’s historic and current use of the area.

The LBC staff had earlier proposed that the southern portion of Tracy Arm, which had also been sought by Petersburg, should become part of Juneau, along with that portion of Tracy Arm already within CBJ boundaries. The commission reserved that area for possible future inclusion in Juneau.

The LBC action will become final in 30 days, although that may be extended to make technical corrections to the boundaries.

After that, Botelho said it would be up to the assembly to decide how to respond. An appeal to the Superior Court is possible.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com

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