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Controversial North Pole subdivision plan withdrawn

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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 12:00 am

FAIRBANKS — A controversial subdivision plan for the Repp and Brock Road area in North Pole has been withdrawn.

Last January, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Platting Board approved the plan for the subdivision, Elbasan Acres, and a school in the area despite protests from residents.

Jeanne Olson, a local veterinarian, appealed the decision to the Planning Commission, citing health, safety and welfare concerns, and the commission upheld the plan.

Olson and other opponents of the subdivision believed the plan would create too much building density in the area and worsen air pollution. Olson, along with Planning Commission member Dave Lanning and resident Patrice Lee, filed an appeal in the Alaska Superior Court to stop the plan.

“Then, the borough contacted us to see if we would be interested in discussing a settlement,” Olson said. “We met with the mayor. We agreed to withdraw the lawsuit if they agreed to withdraw the plan.”

“We decided to settle rather than going to court,” Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins said. “We said we’d pull the platt, and I’m not going to develop it in my term.”

The subdivision proposal included plans for 115 residential lots and a school site on more than 600 acres.

“We want to conserve trails and create less density,” Olson said, “You just can’t have that dense of a community in that geography.” Olson would like to see another citizens group created to work on another plan for the area.

The borough has since changed the way properties are developed. Rather than laying out roads and plots themselves, private contractors will be doing the surveying.

“We find that that is the best way to not only quickly get land out for development, but in the end, is probably the least costly to the borough,” Hopkins said.

School development in the area still is a possibility, but right now, there is no interest or need for one in the area, according to Hopkins.

“There are other parcels that have a lot more viability,” Hopkins said. “It’s going to sit there as general-use land that the borough owns.”

Contact the newsroom at 459-7572.

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