Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 47 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                  HB 4-MILITARY FACILITY ZONES                                                                              
8:08:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR PARISH announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO.  4,  "An Act  relating  to military  facility                                                               
zones."  [Before the committee was CSHB 4(MLV).]                                                                                
8:09:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   STEVE   THOMPSON,  Alaska   State   Legislature,                                                               
presented HB  4, as prime sponsor.   He said in  2012, House Bill                                                               
316 created  military facility zones,  which are "areas  around a                                                               
municipality or  city that are  in close proximity to  a military                                                               
facility."  The  military facility zones enable  enhancement of a                                                               
military mission or lessen the  expense involved in order for the                                                               
military  to  do  its  job.   Further,  military  facility  zones                                                               
encourage the  military to stay  in those areas.   Representative                                                               
Thompson  said CSHB  4(MLV)  would allow  someone  who wants  "to                                                               
build something  or do something  that will enhance  that mission                                                               
for the military" in a military  facility zone to be eligible for                                                               
a low-interest loan or for tax credits.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON  said there  has been  a lot  of interest                                                               
around the state for military facility  zones.  For example:  the                                                               
naval range in Ketchikan needs  a new dock; the military facility                                                               
in  Kodiak needs  new housing;  and there  is a  lot of  activity                                                               
going on  at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson  (JBER) in Anchorage                                                               
and at [Eielson Air Force  Base] and Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks                                                               
that could benefit under CSHB 4(MLV).                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON  said a problem  had been pointed  out to                                                               
him.  He explained as follows:                                                                                                  
     The way  that you  have to  become a  military facility                                                                    
     zone is  you have to  apply to the adjutant  general in                                                                    
     the  state and  he has  to  approve it,  but there  are                                                                    
     certain steps  that have to be  in place.  One  is that                                                                    
     the plan has  to comply with the  comprehensive plan of                                                                    
     the  municipality.   Comprehensive  plans  -  a lot  of                                                                    
     places -  they are  aren't up to  date; they  only redo                                                                    
     them   about  every   10  years;   and   to  change   a                                                                    
     comprehensive plan  could take  up to  a year  or more.                                                                    
     If somebody  has something that  they want to  build or                                                                    
     something that will enhance this  military mission - it                                                                    
     might not  comply with the old  comprehensive plan, and                                                                    
     to change it would be cumbersome.                                                                                          
8:12:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON  indicated that  an amendment  adding "or                                                               
local  ordinance"  would  "allow  this  to  happen  in  [a]  more                                                               
expeditious manner, as far as trying  to get that."  He mentioned                                                               
another  amendment  to  the  bill   that  proposes  an  immediate                                                               
effective  date.    A  third  change was  to  hold  harmless  the                                                               
adjutant general.                                                                                                               
8:12:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER   asked  if,   from  a   local  municipal                                                               
government's standpoint,  a decision  on zoning  has any  more or                                                               
less impact as compared to a decision in a comprehensive plan.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON  answered that sometimes it  takes a long                                                               
period of  time to change a  comprehensive plan.  He  said zoning                                                               
must  go  through  the  community's assembly,  which  is  a  long                                                               
process involving more than one  meeting and public hearings.  He                                                               
concluded, "It's  a process,  but can  be done in  a month  or so                                                               
instead of a year or longer."                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked for  confirmation that "zoning is no                                                               
less  clear  an expression  of  the  local government's  and  the                                                               
people's will than a comprehensive plan change."                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON answered that's correct.                                                                                
8:14:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE  remarked that  the proposed  bill "looks                                                               
pretty good."   He cited language in Section 1,  on page 1, lines                                                               
7-8, which read:                                                                                                                
         consistent with the comprehensive plan of the                                                                          
     municipality or local zoning ordinances                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WESTLAKE commented  that  Kotzebue,  in which  he                                                               
lives, "belongs  to the municipality," and  he questioned whether                                                               
the language could  be misinterpreted, such as,  "Well, we're ...                                                               
the local zoning authority; we can do this."                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON answered  that he does not  see any issue                                                               
there, because  the term  "local zoning  ordinances" is  a common                                                               
one to  use in a  municipality or a  borough, both of  which have                                                               
local zoning  ordinances that address  property use  inside their                                                               
designated areas.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  WESTLAKE noted  that  there still  is a  military                                                               
base in  Kotzebue.  He  said Kotzebue  has both city  and borough                                                               
planning commissions.   He surmised  that other  communities with                                                               
the same composition of commissions may  have worked out a way to                                                               
integrate.  He suggested that changing  the language on line 7 to                                                               
read something  along the lines  of "with the  comprehensive plan                                                               
of the  municipal local  zoning ordinances"  would "make  it much                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON  said he  had not  been aware  there were                                                               
any places  in the state that  had both borough and  city zoning;                                                               
most places  in the state are  set up for the  borough to control                                                               
the zoning.                                                                                                                     
8:16:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   RAUSCHER  mentioned   that  the   House  Special                                                               
Committee on  Military and Veterans'  Affairs had  heavily vetted                                                               
HB 4 and had  come up with [CSHB 4(MLV)], which  he said does not                                                               
overstep or  bring something into play  that is not allowed  in a                                                               
specified  zones.    He  said  he  has  served  on  comprehensive                                                               
planning  boards in  the past  and is  familiar with  the lengthy                                                               
process that can take two to  three years.  He stated his support                                                               
of CSHB 4(MLV).                                                                                                                 
8:18:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND asked if the  borough does not need to be                                                               
mentioned because it is covered under local ordinances.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON answered, "Yes,  whoever the authority is                                                               
in that  particular area  around a military  facility zone."   He                                                               
noted that  [under AS 26.30.020(a)(1)]  a military  facility zone                                                               
is considered to  be within close proximity [to a  facility].  He                                                               
offered his  understanding that the federal  government describes                                                               
a  military facility  zone  as  within 100  miles  of a  military                                                               
facility.   He said, "It'd  have to be an  organized municipality                                                               
that applied  for that."   He questioned whether Delta,  which he                                                               
said is  not an  organized city,  would be able  to make  such an                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND asked,  then, if it was  not necessary to                                                               
add "borough"  to line  7, on page  1.  She  said it  sounds like                                                               
Representative  Westlake has  a comprehensive  plan in  the North                                                               
Slope Borough, as  well as in the  City of Barrow.   She said she                                                               
was involved  with the Anchorage  Municipal Assembly with  a 2020                                                               
Comprehensive Plan,  which she  indicated took  ten years  in the                                                               
8:19:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked for  confirmation that  CSHB 4(MLV)                                                               
would not  require a  new zoning ordinance  of any  community; an                                                               
existing zoning ordinance would allow  for creation of a military                                                               
facility zone.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON  answered that if a  municipality or city                                                               
wanted to change  land use in order to build  something that will                                                               
"enhance the  military," it would  need to change its  zoning for                                                               
that area through a zoning ordinance.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER suggested,  "Or  for  an existing  zoning                                                               
ordinance  allowed  for  the  planning   and  zoning  board,  for                                                               
example, to  make that decision,  without a new ordinance  - that                                                               
would be sufficient."                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON responded yes.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  summarized that the  proposed legislation                                                               
would  not  prevent  a  community   that  has  a  new  or  active                                                               
comprehensive plan  or one with  a regular updating  cycling plan                                                               
from  including an  active military  facility  zone; CSHB  4(MLV)                                                               
would just  "broaden the applicability  of the  military facility                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON confirmed that is correct.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  stated that he  was a sponsor  of another                                                               
bill that created the [military  facility] zones; is a co-sponsor                                                               
of HB  4; and he thinks  the proposed legislation is  a great way                                                               
to "make this beneficial mechanism  available to more communities                                                               
on a more expeditious basis."                                                                                                   
8:21:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR PARISH opened public testimony on CSHB 4(MLV).                                                                         
8:22:07 AM                                                                                                                    
BOB  DOEHL,   Deputy  Commissioner,  Department  of   Military  &                                                               
Veterans'  Affairs  (DMVA),  testified that  DMVA  supports  CSHB
4(MLV) as meeting the intent  of the original legislation of 2012                                                               
that allowed  military zones in  Alaska.  He said  the department                                                               
believes  that   the  proposed  legislation  would   provide  the                                                               
necessary  flexibility  to  enable  local  jurisdictions  "to  go                                                               
forward."   He emphasized that  allowing military  facility zones                                                               
where  appropriate   for  local  jurisdictions  and   the  nearby                                                               
military    bases   is    important    toward   maximizing    the                                                               
competitiveness of bases nationwide.                                                                                            
8:22:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked Mr.  Doehl if  he is  familiar with                                                               
how other military zones are being used around the country.                                                                     
MR. DOEHL answered  that currently they are being  used to enable                                                               
infrastructure or  supply.  He noted  that in a week  he would be                                                               
giving a presentation on the issue in Fairbanks, Alaska.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  noted that most of  the discussions about                                                               
investees have focused on the  Interior or Ketchikan, Alaska.  He                                                               
asked if there is any  possibility for military facility zones to                                                               
be used within 50 to 100 miles of JBER.                                                                                         
MR. DOEHL answered that without  judging a military facility zone                                                               
application  from  Anchorage  or  one  of  the  Matanuska-Susitna                                                               
Valley  jurisdictions, he  thinks there  is ample  opportunity to                                                               
"look  at options  that make  our  bases more  competitive."   He                                                               
related that military bases in  Alaska are challenged by the high                                                               
cost of  transporting goods, housing,  and energy - all  of which                                                               
he said  he thinks are  potential projects that could  reduce the                                                               
costs,  where Alaska  businesses could  thrive from  some federal                                                               
money coming  in and, in  the process, lower the  operating costs                                                               
for  the bases  compared to  bringing the  goods and  services in                                                               
from Outside.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER mentioned  JBER  and an  effort that  had                                                               
been made for Alaska to maintain  a military presence in the face                                                               
of  pressure to  reduce "basing  costs."   He  asked if  military                                                               
facility  zones  would help  JBER  become  more competitive  and,                                                               
thus, more able to resist  closure under the Base Realignment and                                                               
Closure (BRAC) process.                                                                                                         
MR. DOEHL answered  that in the event another  BRAC is introduced                                                               
by Congress, a military facility  zone could considerably enhance                                                               
competitiveness, which  could keep JBER and  other military bases                                                               
in Alaska  open.  He added,  "And as long as  we're sitting where                                                               
we  are today  with  the  military saying  they  have 22  percent                                                               
excess   capacity,   it's   important  that   we   maximize   the                                                               
competitiveness of our bases."                                                                                                  
8:26:48 AM                                                                                                                    
JEFF STEPP,  Special Assistant,  Mayor's Office,  Fairbanks North                                                               
Star  Borough, thanked  the bill  sponsor and  the committee  for                                                               
efforts  to ensure  that  military facility  zones  are a  viable                                                               
mechanism   to   generate   economic  development   in   military                                                               
communities throughout  Alaska.   He said he  would like  to echo                                                               
and affirm  the remarks made  by the  bill sponsor and  Mr. Dole.                                                               
He  said  Mayor  Castle,  of the  Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough                                                               
supports CSHB  4(MLV).   He noted  that a  staff of  the borough,                                                               
Christine Nelson, was available to  talk about issues specific to                                                               
the borough's comprehensive plan and local zoning ordinance.                                                                    
8:28:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  referred  to  the  previous  discussion                                                               
regarding municipalities  and boroughs and asked  if boroughs are                                                               
MR. STEPP said he does not know.                                                                                                
8:29:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTINE NELSON, Director,  Planning Department, Fairbanks North                                                               
Star Borough, stated  that while she could not  parlay the status                                                               
of every  borough, the interpretation  of "municipality"  in "the                                                               
original bill" did  include the Fairbanks North  Star Borough and                                                               
other designated  boroughs, the incorporated status  of which she                                                               
indicated  she  did   not  know.    She  said,   "If  there's  an                                                               
unincorporated city  that is  not in a  borough, [then]  ... this                                                               
may not apply to  them, but if it is in  a recognized borough, it                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER questioned  if  the  bill sponsor  would                                                               
want language  to include boroughs.   He asked the  same question                                                               
of Mr. Doehl.                                                                                                                   
8:30:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  DOEHL  stated  that  the  department  believes  the  current                                                               
language  in CSHB  4(MLV)  is "adequate  for  the purposes  going                                                               
forward."    He  said  the department  believes  that  the  local                                                               
jurisdictions  "will sort  out any  jurisdictional issues  before                                                               
they get to us."  He reiterated  that he does not see a potential                                                               
conflict that would require amending CSHB 4(MLV).                                                                               
8:31:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. NELSON  began her  testimony by offering  a brief  example of                                                               
the reason  the proposed  legislation is  necessary.   She stated                                                               
that in 2014,  the Fairbanks North Star Borough  planned to apply                                                               
for a  military facility  zone to  establish an  unmanned vehicle                                                               
technical  and research  park.   The  site was  near Eielson  Air                                                               
Force  Base and  was  intended to  be  a partnership  cooperative                                                               
agreement  between  the  University   of  Alaska  Fairbanks,  the                                                               
borough, and possibly the U.S.  Department of Defense (DoD).  Ms.                                                               
Nelson explained  that although  the existing general  use zoning                                                               
would  have   allowed  for  the  park,   the  comprehensive  plan                                                               
designation  was for  an agricultural  and open  space and  would                                                               
have required  an extensive  and costly  amendment process.   She                                                               
added that while the borough's  comprehensive plan was updated in                                                               
2006,  the actual  map with  the  land use  designation was  from                                                               
1990.   She  said the  project died  in progress  because of  the                                                               
necessity for that change.                                                                                                      
MS.  NELSON  related  that  comprehensive  plans  cover  general,                                                               
broad-based land use.  Conversely,  zoning is parcel specific and                                                               
tailored to  "exact needs of  the land area in  those locations."                                                               
She  stated that  allowing a  community to  use either  the local                                                               
zoning ordinance  or the comprehensive  plan gives  the community                                                               
more flexibility to determine  compliance and greater opportunity                                                               
to  establish  a military  facility  zone,  "thus supporting  the                                                               
military mission and bringing jobs  and economic development both                                                               
to the community and the state in general."                                                                                     
8:33:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND again directed  attention to the language                                                               
on page 1, [beginning on] line  7 [through line 8], which read as                                                               
      the comprehensive plan of the municipality or local                                                                   
     zoning ordinances                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  noted that "or local  zoning ordinances"                                                           
was proposed  language.   She asked Ms.  Nelson if  the Fairbanks                                                               
North   Star   Borough   would  be   covered   under   the   word                                                               
"municipality"  or  if  following "municipality"  the  words  "or                                                               
borough" should be added.                                                                                                       
MS. NELSON  stated that the borough's  attorneys have interpreted                                                               
"municipality" as inclusive  of the borough, and  she offered her                                                               
assumption   that   the   state's   attorneys   have   the   same                                                               
interpretation.  She  reiterated that the borough  had planned to                                                               
apply "under this  ... previous version of this bill."   She said                                                               
if a  city is not incorporated  or in a recognized  borough, then                                                               
it  would  not  have  a  comprehensive plan  or  a  local  zoning                                                               
ordinance;  therefore,  "this  would be  comprehensive  to  those                                                               
communities that have those tools in which to plan land use."                                                                   
MS.  NELSON,  in  response  to  a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Drummond,  confirmed  that  [Eielson  Air  Force  Base  and  Fort                                                               
Wainwright]  are within  the boundaries  of  the Fairbanks  North                                                               
Star Borough.   She said the  borough does not regulate  land use                                                               
on those bases, but does regulate  land use all around them.  She                                                               
noted  that Fort  Wainwright is  also  partially in  the City  of                                                               
Fairbanks, as  well.  She  related that the Fairbanks  North Star                                                               
Borough is the  local planning authority for  the entire borough,                                                               
including the  few incorporated cities,  and it has both  a local                                                               
zoning ordinance  and comprehensive  plan that cover  "all around                                                               
those bases,"  and the military  facility zones would  be located                                                               
somewhere near either  of the bases should the  borough choose to                                                               
apply in the future.                                                                                                            
8:36:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR PARISH,  after ascertaining that  there was no  one else                                                               
who wished to testify, closed public testimony on CSHB 4(MLV).                                                                  
8:36:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR PARISH announced that CSHB 4(MLV) was held over.                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB004 ver D 2.21.17.pdf HCRA 3/2/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 4
HB004 Sponsor Statement ver D 2.21.17.pdf HCRA 3/2/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 4
HB004 Sectional Analysis ver D 2.21.17.pdf HCRA 3/2/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 4
HB004 Fiscal Note DMVA-CO 2.21.17.pdf HCRA 3/2/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 4
HB004 Explanation of Changes ver D 2.21.17.pdf HCRA 3/2/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 4
HJR 10 sponsor statement.pdf HCRA 3/2/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Document Antiquities Act 1906.pdf HCRA 3/2/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Document Congressional Research Antiquities Act.pdf HCRA 3/2/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Support - RDC.pdf HCRA 3/2/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJR 10
HJR 10 responses to Questions 3-2-2017.pdf HCRA 3/2/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJR 10