Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

02/05/2010 08:00 AM EDUCATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 295 UNIVERSITY LAND GRANT TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 206 HIGH SCHOOL ASSESSM'T/POSTSECONDARY CLASS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 317 EDUC. FUNDING: BASIC/SPEC NEEDS/TRANSPORT TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                  HB 295-UNIVERSITY LAND GRANT                                                                              
8:05:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  295 "An  Act relating  to the  grant of  certain                                                               
state land  to the University  of Alaska; relating to  the duties                                                               
of the Board of Regents; relating  to deposits made to the Alaska                                                               
permanent  fund  received  from certain  lands  conveyed  to  the                                                               
University of  Alaska; ratifying and reauthorizing  certain prior                                                               
conveyances  of   land  to  the  University   of  Alaska;  making                                                               
conforming amendments; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:07:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEBBIE  SPENCER, Owner,  Shoreline  Incorporated, suggested  that                                                               
the consternation  surrounding the  Mite Cove and  Sumdum parcels                                                               
stems  from   having  the   land  use   designations,  previously                                                               
determined  via  public  process, being  disrespected  under  the                                                               
University of  Alaska (UA)  land selections.   The many  years of                                                               
work, incorporating  all of the stakeholders,  were not mentioned                                                               
in a letter  [not cited] from Commissioner  Tom Irwin, Department                                                               
of  Natural Resources  (DNR), regarding  the  parcels, only  that                                                               
land  selections  were  the result  of  cooperation  between  the                                                               
department and the  UA.  She directed attention  to the committee                                                               
packet report  from DNR titled  "University of Alaska  Land Grant                                                               
List 2005,"  dated January  12, 2005, Revised  2010, and  the tab                                                               
labeled  "Parcel Descriptions,"  page 9  of 15,  Approx. Area  in                                                               
Acres column,  to point  out that  Mite Cove is  listed as  a 320                                                               
acre parcel,  but under the heading  Description/Plan Designation                                                               
it is  described as  being nearly  200 acres.   Elsewhere  in the                                                               
document, it  is identified as a  180 acre area; the  document is                                                               
in conflict  with itself.   Neither does the  written description                                                               
correspond with  the land use  plan developed through  the public                                                               
process [Northern  Southeast Area Plan (NSEAP),  adopted 10/15/02                                                               
by DNR].   The final  sentence in the description  column states,                                                               
and she  read, "Considered appropriate for  remote residential or                                                               
commercial recreation marine services,"  and does not reflect the                                                               
NSEAP,  which  specifies  the  area  for  public  recreation  and                                                               
tourism, undeveloped; coded RU.  Turning  to page 11, of the same                                                               
document, she pointed out the  description for the Sumdum parcel.                                                               
The  designation   reads  "Public  Recreation-Dispersed."     Ms.                                                               
Spencer said  the NSEAP  indicates the  same use  designation for                                                               
Sumdum, as for  Mite Cove, and further that they  must be held in                                                               
the public  domain.  These two  parcels will continue to  be held                                                               
in contention  due to  the inconsistency of  the list  before the                                                               
committee  and the  land use  plan developed  through the  public                                                               
process.    Pelican  passed  a   city  resolution,  in  2005,  in                                                               
opposition to the bill previous  to what is before the committee,                                                               
and will be passing a similar resolution to oppose HB 295.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:14:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  directed the  committee's  attention  to a  letter                                                               
dated 2/2/10, from the witness, page  2, and the excerpt from the                                                               
NSEAP  describing  the  intended  use  of  Mite  Cove  and  fully                                                               
defining the RU designation.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:15:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIM  LYDEN, urged  the  committee to  remove  the Sumdum  parcel,                                                               
indicating  that   it  is  central  to   Tracy  Arm-Fords  Terror                                                               
Wilderness,  and  serves  as  a  vital  public  access  area  for                                                               
Endicott Arm.  There is a  safe anchorage and camp located on the                                                               
five acres,  unique to the  area that is primarily  sheer cliffs.                                                               
Privatizing  the  area  would  have an  effect  on  the  public's                                                               
ability to utilize this remote locale.   He stated his fears that                                                               
privatization would bring development to the area.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:20:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LYDEN referred  to a  document signed  by 17  tour operators                                                               
that  depend on  use  of  the Sumdum  area,  and paraphrased  the                                                               
statement, which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The  undersigned  seventeen commercial  tour  companies                                                                    
     bring thousands  of visitors to Southeast  Alaska every                                                                    
     year.    Our  businesses  provide  guided  hunting  and                                                                    
     fishing  kayak  expeditions, and  week-long  excursions                                                                    
     aboard  small and  mid-size vessels.    Our segment  of                                                                    
     Alaska's  tourism industry  provides  vital and  unique                                                                    
     economic benefits  to southeast Alaska, and  many of us                                                                    
     are local  business people.   We stand out  among other                                                                    
     segments  of the  tourism industry  because many  of us                                                                    
     provision our excursions locally,  and a high number of                                                                    
     our clients  dine and seek local  accommodations before                                                                    
     and after  their trips.  University  of Alaska research                                                                    
     shows  businesses like  ours pump  millions of  dollars                                                                    
     into the Southeast economy  annually.  Bringing clients                                                                    
     to  wild  Alaskan landscapes  is  the  backbone of  our                                                                    
     businesses, and  it's the reason  for our  concern over                                                                    
     the Sumdum  parcel.   The Sumdum  parcel is  in Sanford                                                                    
     Cove, in  the heart of  the Tracy Arm-Fords  Terror and                                                                    
     Chuck  River Wilderness  Areas.   For each  of us,  the                                                                    
     area is a hi9ghlight of  the services we provide.  Many                                                                    
     of us use Sanford Cove  as a safe and scenic anchorage.                                                                    
     With bears, wolves, salmon and  cultural ruins, it is a                                                                    
     common location  for walks ashore, fishing  hunting and                                                                    
     camping; not  only for our commercial  clients, but for                                                                    
     many independent and local travelers, too.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Tracy Arm-Fords Terror  Wilderness is especially unique                                                                    
     because  it  currently   contains  no  lodges,  private                                                                    
     cabins,  or  other  developments.    Some  of  us  have                                                                    
     operated in southeast Alaska  for several decades, long                                                                    
     enough  to know  that such  undeveloped anchorages  are                                                                    
     increasingly rare.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Privatization of the Sumdum  parcel would displace many                                                                    
     of  us  from  long-standing business  activities.    It                                                                    
     would   also  displace   many  independent   and  local                                                                    
     recreationists and  mar an undeveloped landscape.   But                                                                    
     removing the  Sanford Cove parcel  from the  bill would                                                                    
     have  only a  minor impact  on university  funding, one                                                                    
     that could be compensated by other means.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Thank you  for your  consideration, and please  help us                                                                    
     maintain  current   use  of  this  important   part  of                                                                    
     Southeast Alaska.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:23:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY  IRVINE reminded  the committee  of  her previous  testimony                                                               
[1/29/10]  and the  request which  Representative Munoz  made for                                                               
DNR to provide further documentation  of the archeological nature                                                               
of  the site.   She  said  that as  a private  individual she  is                                                               
restricted  from receiving  archival information  from the  state                                                               
[Office  of History  & Archeology  Alaska Historical  Commission,                                                               
Division  of Parks  & Outdoor  Recreation, Department  of Natural                                                               
Resources],   which   is   available  to   state   agencies   and                                                               
legislators.   One  1946 report,  titled HAA  AANI, published  by                                                             
Goldschmidt and  Haas, is an anthropological  report on Southeast                                                               
Alaska, which contains maps  and historical information including                                                               
the Sumdum  area.   She described the  history that  has revolved                                                               
around this  area dating from the  1800's, marking it as  a multi                                                               
culturally layered historic area.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:27:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.  WILSON  asked   if  there  are  archeological                                                               
remains at the site.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  IRVINE   said  that  without  access   to  the  confidential                                                               
documents held by DNR she  cannot answer that question.  However,                                                               
photographs of the area compiled  by the UA, and state libraries,                                                               
available  for viewing  via the  internet at  [vilda.alaska.edu],                                                               
are indicative of the industry  and activity that once existed in                                                               
the thriving  Sumdum community.   She encouraged the  excising of                                                               
this five acre parcel from the university land grant.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:30:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DICK  MYLIUS,  Director,  Division  of Mining,  Land  and  Water,                                                               
Department of Natural Resources (DNR),  explained that one of the                                                               
criteria used  in the land  selection was based  on consideration                                                               
of  land   available  to  municipalities,  under   the  municipal                                                               
entitlement  act.   The  type of  lands  that municipalities  can                                                               
select is specified in AS 29.65.130, which reads:                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     (10)  "vacant, unappropriated,  unreserved land"  means                                                                  
     general grant land  as defined in (3)  of this section,                                                                    
     excluding  minerals as  required  by Sec.  6(i) of  the                                                                    
     Alaska Statehood Act, that                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     (C)  is   unclassified  or,  if  classified   under  AS                                                                  
     38.05.300,  is  classified for  agricultural,  grazing,                                                                    
     material,  public recreation,  or settlement  purposes,                                                                    
     or  is  classified  in  accordance  with  an  agreement                                                                    
     between  a municipality  and  the  state providing  for                                                                    
     state management of land of the municipality                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MYLIUS   said  that  because   of  the  allowance,   by  the                                                               
legislature,   to    transfer   public   recreation    lands   to                                                               
municipalities,  the department  surmised that  it would  also be                                                               
appropriate to transfer  the same public recreation  lands to the                                                               
university;  hence   the  Mite  Cove  and   Sumdum  parcels  were                                                               
selected.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:32:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON pointed out the  conflicting use designations of the                                                               
Sumdum parcel:   The University  of Alaska Land Grant  List 2010,                                                               
page 11 of 15, use  description of "Public Recreation-Dispersed,"                                                               
versus the NSEAP stipulation for  "Public Recreation and Tourism-                                                               
Undeveloped.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MYLIUS replied:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     In terms  of the  actual land classification  that gets                                                                    
     applied to  those, it's the same  classification as the                                                                    
     public  recreation classification.   So  that's why  we                                                                    
     considered that one as appropriate  for transfer.  Even                                                                    
     though it says it's  dispersed recreation, and tourism,                                                                    
     it still ends up ... classified as public recreation,                                                                      
     when you actually put the land classification on it.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:33:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER inquired  about the  public process  that                                                               
occurred during the selection.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MYLIUS  said  there  was   not  a  public  process  for  the                                                               
selection, because  it was based  on the previous  decisions made                                                               
in determining land  use plans, which did  incorporate the public                                                               
process.    The  selected  parcels   were  reviewed,  and  public                                                               
testimony occurred, during the 2005 legislative hearings.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:34:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER remembered  that  the  governor, at  that                                                               
time, stated a  desire to have the list be  accepted as presented                                                               
without change.   She sympathized with the  small communities who                                                               
may  have  felt  up  against  the wall  in  the  decision  making                                                               
process.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MYLIUS  indicated  that  the  legislature  did  remove  nine                                                               
parcels,  following  the 2005  public  testimony.   The  original                                                               
legislation, SB  7, introduced in  2007, put  the onus on  the UA                                                               
and DNR to  sort out the details.  The  department expected there                                                               
to  be some  contention,  and decided  to bring  it  back to  the                                                               
legislature to address  the public concerns.   He suggested that,                                                               
without exception, any of the high  value parcels of land will be                                                               
objected to by the locals.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER summed  up that  there is  general public                                                               
support for  the university to  have land, as  long as it  is not                                                               
"their land."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:36:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  asked whether  the land  use code  for                                                               
Mite  Cove will  be maintained  under university  ownership; what                                                               
uses can the university apply to the parcel.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MYLIUS said  once  the transfer  occurs  the university  can                                                               
utilize parcels for whatever purposes they choose.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:37:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON opined that  state land ownership is not                                                               
vast,  given  the  federal  holdings,  and  particularly  in  the                                                               
southeast  region,  due to  the  Tongass  National Forest.    She                                                               
suggested  that  land  selections  may be  inappropriate  in  the                                                               
southeast  region,  but  not  as   hard  felt,  and  contentious,                                                               
elsewhere in the state.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MYLIUS concurred that state  land holdings are minimal in the                                                               
southeast  region.    The  lands   acquired  were  identified  as                                                               
suitable  for  recreational  development  or  private  ownership,                                                               
which makes them valuable as well as contentious.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:39:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  recognized that the  southeast region  doesn't want                                                               
to lose population;  however, if there is not  land available for                                                               
development, opportunities  diminish.   A value exists  in having                                                               
undeveloped  land, but  it presents  a  dichotomy for  supporting                                                               
population growth.   The committee,  and legislature,  is charged                                                               
with   striking  the   appropriate   balance  between   competing                                                               
interests.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:41:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.   WILSON  opined  that  because   an  area  is                                                               
designated for  community use, such  as Mite Cove, it  should not                                                               
be assumed  that transferring it  to the university  would result                                                               
in the  type of benefit  that the  town desires.   She questioned                                                               
whether  the   legislature  should   allow  this  type   of  land                                                               
conveyance.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:42:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON inquired  whether  the  communities have  suggested                                                               
alternative parcels for selection.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. MYLIUS said  it depends on the parcel and  the community.  In                                                               
the case of Pelican, the city  limits do not extend far enough to                                                               
include Mite  Cove.   Other communities,  such as  Wrangell, have                                                               
formed boroughs large enough to  select some of the parcels under                                                               
municipal entitlement.   The Ketchikan Gateway borough  is a non-                                                               
issue  as all  of the  entitlements  have been  received.   These                                                               
represent  the three  categories  of communities  that are  being                                                               
dealt with:   no  borough and  no entitlement  currently; borough                                                               
still working on entitlement; and entitlements satisfied.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:44:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  underscored the  importance of  holding a                                                               
public  process  in  selecting lands  to  address  the  competing                                                               
values represented and  ensure that voices have been  heard.  She                                                               
then summarized the process described:   a public process is used                                                               
to identify  land use  plans and  classifications; the  plans and                                                               
classifications  were the  basis of  the selections  made by  the                                                               
department and  university; a public  process ensued  through the                                                               
legislative  process, allowing  further testimony;  and once  the                                                               
land is transferred to the university  it is no longer subject to                                                               
the land use plan that was initially developed.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MYLIUS concurred.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:45:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  asked  what uses  would  be  considered  regarding                                                               
development of  the Sumdum parcel,  should ownership  be conveyed                                                               
to  the  university.   Further,  he  questioned the  universities                                                               
regard for the historical and cultural concerns of the area.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARI MONTGOMERY, Director, Office  of Land Management, University                                                               
of Alaska  System, said there  are no specific  development plans                                                               
for  any  of  the  parcels  being  conveyed.    Lands  considered                                                               
archeological resources are protected  under state law.  Sealaska                                                               
Corporation has  indicated an interest  in purchasing  the Sumdum                                                               
parcel for cultural  preservation reasons.  Others  would like to                                                               
acquire this  property, but no  decisions are being  made pending                                                               
acquisition.  The  possibility exists for it to  be preserved for                                                               
academic study.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:49:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER   inquired  about  the  annual   cost  of                                                               
managing the UA land office,  and the annual average revenue that                                                               
is derived through the office, to benefit the university.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MONTGOMERY  reported that  the  office  budget averages  2.5                                                               
million.   She  said  the  office has  a  mission which  includes                                                               
managing and permitting  academic research land, as  well as land                                                               
acquisitions,   disposals.     The   office  generates   revenues                                                               
averaging $10 million.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:51:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NORM CARSON,  President, Pelican  Chamber of Commerce,  said that                                                               
given  the   circumstances  unique   to  Pelican,  it   would  be                                                               
beneficial to the  city to have land closer to  the town conveyed                                                               
to the  university.  He  pointed out that  there is a  DNR parcel                                                               
[C18],  within  2  miles of  Pelican,  currently  designated  for                                                               
settlement,  unlike  Mite  Cove,  which  is  13  miles  away  and                                                               
designated RU.  For purposes  of furthering community growth, the                                                               
city would welcome the conveyance of the C18 parcel.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON clarified  that  this  is a  request  for a  parcel                                                               
exchange and not opposition to conveyance.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. MYLIUS noted  that the land cited was originally  on the list                                                               
and  could be  reconsidered by  DNR:   ST 1002  Warm Springs  Bay                                                               
[University of  Alaska Land Grant List  2010 Parcel Descriptions,                                                               
page 10 of 15].                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:56:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CAROL  CAIRNES,  Representative,  Tongass  Conservation  Society,                                                               
expressed  concern  with using  this  approach  as a  significant                                                               
funding  support  for  the  UA budget.    The  Ketchikan  parcels                                                               
conveyed to the university have  resulted in several issues.  She                                                               
reported on property that was  sold, without local advertisement,                                                               
adjacent to residences, for $1,200 per  acre, and clear cut.  The                                                               
existing residents had no opportunity  to purchase the land.  The                                                               
Moser  Bay  parcels  are  near   existing  settlements,  but  the                                                               
selections  for Cleveland  Peninsula, and  Leask Cove,  may prove                                                               
marginal for development.  If  the university were to develop the                                                               
parcels for  academic purposes, it would  be acceptable; however,                                                               
a law suit  has been filed due  to the concept of  using the land                                                               
in this way  for funding higher education.  The  program has only                                                               
contributed a small percentage to  the university budget, and the                                                               
clear cutting  has devalued neighboring  property.   She stressed                                                               
that any land sales should be  well advertised, and she asked for                                                               
reconsideration for how the dispersals are handled.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
[HB 295 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:00:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 9:00 a.m. to 9:02 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 295 Background.pdf HEDC 1/29/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 295 Fiscal Notes.pdf HEDC 1/29/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 295
Alaska Historic Preservation Act.ppt HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 295
University of Alaska Land Grant Booklet link.docx HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 295
HB 206 material.pdf HEDC 4/15/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 206
Briefing paper for high schoolers taking postsecondary courses HB206.doc HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 206
Post Secondary courses for High School Students - HB 206
HB 317 materials.pdf HEDC 2/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 317
HB317_EED_ACYA_1-27-10.pdf HEDC 2/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB317_EED_ESS_1-27-10.pdf HEDC 2/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
House Education questions on HB 295 .doc HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 295
HB 206 Version P February 4, 2010.pdf HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/19/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/8/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/17/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 206
HB 206 version P Sponsor Statement February 4, 2010.docx HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/19/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/8/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/17/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 206
HB 317 version S.pdf HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 317