March 8, 2022: What’s happening tonight at the Sitka Assembly meeting?

When the Sitka Assembly meets tonight (3-8-22), it will consider a temporary moratorium on new short-term rental permits in residential areas for one year.

Short-term rentals have grown in popularity over the past decade as online platforms like Airbnb and VRBO have grown to dominate the vacation rental market. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of conditional use permits for short-term rentals in Sitka more than doubled. Some Sitkan residents worry that the short-term rental boom will make affordable housing less accessible.

The intent of the ordinance, according to a memo from sponsors Kevin Knox and Kevin Mosher, is to protect the availability of affordable housing in Sitka, by limiting short-term rentals, at least temporarily. Those who are already licensed will still be able to operate legally – but without a conditional use license, the order makes it illegal to rent residential property to someone for less than 14 days.

In other cases, the assembly will consider raising cruise ship tendering fees by just under seven percent. And he will consider reconvening a ‘bear task force’ to investigate Sitka’s recurring problems with bears, after 14 were euthanized last year.

View the full meeting agenda here

The Sitka Assembly meets at 6:00 p.m. tonight. Raven News will broadcast the meeting live, following Alaska News Nightly.

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