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Creek Street Building Proposal Goes Back to Planning Commission
by Joseph Branco


January 26, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - Following several hours of discussion and debate Monday night, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Board of Adjustment, which is made up of Borough Assembly members, voted 5-2 to send a Creek Street building proposal back to the KGB Planning Commission.

Developers Borgmalm and Machini are proposing constructing a new building at Number 17 Creek Street that will house retail space on the first floor and four apartments each on the upper two floors.

Most of the debate surrounding the building proposal has centered on the definition of what constitutes a "third-story". Joseph Machini and Helena Borgmalm, who proposed the project, say that the building would be two stories and an attic, thus complying with the non-specific wording of the code regulations. Opponents consisting of some businesses and residents of Creek Street speaking under the name of Creek Street Neighbors Seeking Compliance with the Code say that the attic in question is a third story and clearly violates the Creek Street building code. The fact that the so-called "attic" was intended to include four bedrooms and four bathrooms was a topic that fueled the opposition to the proposal.
Monday night's discussion focused intensely on the difference between an attic and a story in terms of height and use in the original building code creation. Most in attendance agreed that the code was written too vaguely in defining these terms and should be updated with new, specific guidelines.

Board of Adjustment members Jack Shay, Mike Painter, David Landis, George Tipton and Dave Kiffer voted to send the building proposal back to the Planning Commission for more review. Board members Glen Thompson and George Lybrand voted no.

The board recommended that the Ketchikan Planning Commission's review process also resolve any other design issues and that the developers, Joseph Machini and Helena Borgamalm, work with the borough to modify the original plans to comply with the Creek Street building code that states "no person shall build a new structure of more than two stories, plus attic space.".

After the building proposal is revised it will be brought back to the board for consideration. The board hopes that the decision will satisfy concerned members of the Creek Street community and remain encouraging to business growth in the area through stronger clarification of vague development guidelines.



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