Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho says he’s disappointed the state’s Local Boundary Commission has denied the city’s request to consolidate competing land claims between Juneau and Petersburg.
Botelho says it would have been more efficient for the commission and the public to consider the claims at the same time.
“Now, with the Petersburg petition moving on its own, unless there is a separate public hearing in Juneau, the testimony would be gathered in Petersburg, which would require us to make sure that we had adequate voices before the commission in Petersburg,” Botelho says.
Petersburg filed a petition to form a borough in April. Seven months later, Juneau responded by filing its own petition to annex part of the same area. Juneau had previously considered annexing the land, but the Assembly didn’t make a move until hearing about Petersburg’s claim.
The disputed area stretches from Juneau’s southern boundary down to Cape Fanshaw and east to the Canadian border. Both communities claim historical and contemporary ties to the land, which is largely unpopulated and undeveloped.
Consolidation of competing claims is up to the Local Boundary Commission’s discretion. Commission staffer Brent Williams says there’s no formal way for Juneau to appeal the decision to deny consolidation, since it’s not a ruling on an actual petition. He says the city can ask for reconsideration, but the commission does not have to take it up.
The commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Petersburg’s petition in May 2012. Juneau’s will likely be heard seven months later.