Housing supply

Ketchikan Borough Assembly passes reforms to boost housing supply

A view of Ketchikan from the top of the Edmonds Street stairs. In support of the plan, developer Bruce Hattrick said Ketchikan’s steep, rocky terrain makes it difficult and expensive to develop new lots. (KRBD File Photo)

The Ketchikan Borough Assembly on Monday passed a four-part measure aimed at easing the area’s housing crisis.

Beginning in mid-August, the Borough of Ketchikan will permit construction of quadplexes in mid- to high-density residential areas without a public Planning Commission hearing, provided there is at least one parking space available for each unit. This includes most residential lots within the city limits of Ketchikan, except for the Shoreline Drive neighborhood and some undeveloped lots near the Ketchikan Lakes.

Requests for triplexes in low-density areas, largely outside the city limits, will also bypass a public hearing as long as they meet the same parking requirement.

Residents will also be allowed to build so-called “detached secondary suites”, which are small houses that share land with a larger house without a public hearing.

The measure also reduces the lot size needed for a custom residential zoning system known as a “planned unit development” from two acres to 10,000 square feet, or about a quarter of an acre. Borough officials say this could allow for the development of tiny house parks in the borough.

Developer Bruce Hattrick praised the plan during the August 1 assembly meeting. He said Ketchikan’s steep, rocky terrain makes it difficult and expensive to develop new lots.

“I think it would help you a lot in the town of Ketchikan or even the whole borough, if you could be able to put more housing on the lot than you already have. I mean, you have to do something to alleviate the housing crisis, he said.

Assemblyman David Landis said he had heard no pushback on the plan.

“That’s what we asked for. And that’s what we got and I haven’t heard from anyone who doesn’t think it’s a good idea,” he said.

The housing reform is passed unanimously.