Lands bill hurts communities

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, April 25, 2005

As a small mill owner in Tenakee Springs, I was disturbed to find that the land I am planning to lease through the Department of Natural Resources is part of the acreage the Murkowski administration wants to transfer to the University of Alaska.

I've gone through all the proper channels to lease this land. I began communicating with DNR last October regarding the regulatory programs that would need to be addressed and applied to the Alaska Coastal Management program to ensure that every permit required was identified, and now I am submitting our development plan to the Army Corps of Engineers. I find it frustrating that the university doesn't have the same hoops to jump through.

The area where I propose this limited development is within the only state land that is zoned "industrial" in the city district. There are patented tideland leases adjacent to the state lands that are essential to my development plans.

Faced with financial crisis, Tenakee's mandate of promoting and supporting industry is more important than ever. For the state to give this land away only to end in private ownership does not serve the city, the state, or the interest of common sense. How can appropriate light industrial development ever occur if there is no land designated for that use around Tenakee Springs?

My hope is that the governor and State Legislature will consider how this plan could impact Tenakee Springs and towns throughout Southeast for decades to come. If the goal is to help the economy here in Southeast, they should scrap the university lands bills in the state and national legislatures and look for other funding that doesn't hurt communities.

Gordon W. Chew

Tenakee Springs

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