Sitka to act on recommendations in landslide study

SITKA — Sitka officials say they plan to make land development improvements following the release of a study on the August 2015 landslides.

The geotechnical and environmental consulting firm Shannon & Wilson presented their findings at a Sitka Assembly meeting on Tuesday, The Sitka Sentinel reported.

The report examined the causes of the Aug. 18 landslide above Kramer Avenue that left three people dead and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage. It also listed potential risk areas for future slides on a stretch of the mountainside.

The Kramer Avenue slide on Harbor Mountain was one of four major slides in Sitka that day, according to the geotechnical consultants.

The report also included a notice warning city officials against relying too heavily on the study for future uses of the examined area. The consultants said conditions naturally change over time, so future construction activity in the study area should not move forward without another examination.

City Administrator Mark Gorman found the report “highly readable and functional.” He said he plans to meet with city staff to review potential land planning projects over the next year.

In response to the report, the city is considering changes to planning and zoning codes and an ordinance that would create special guidelines for development in “critical areas,” Gorman said.

The city is also deciding on commissioning a report on the mountainside above Gary Paxton Industrial Park as well as Sitka’s entire road system.

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