17.61.010    Application of chapter

17.61.020    Intent

17.61.030    Conditional use permit required for expansion of nonconforming uses and structures

17.61.040    Commercial and industrial development review [Repealed]

17.61.050    Application procedures

17.61.060    Conditions for approval

17.61.070    General standards

17.61.080    Noise standards

17.61.090    Traffic standards

17.61.100    Hazardous materials standards

17.61.110    Action on permit applications

17.61.120    Amendment of conditional use permit

17.61.125    Prohibited uses

17.61.130    Violations, enforcement, and penalties

17.61.140    Definitions

17.61.150    Appeal procedure


This chapter shall apply only to that area of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough known as the “Core Area” as described in the official Core Area Comprehensive Plan and its amendments.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)

17.61.020 INTENT.

(A)    This ordinance is intended to promote the positive effects of development while insuring the public health, safety, order, prosperity and general welfare of the core area by establishing a review process for commercial and industrial land use activities with the following impacts:

(1)    Any commercial or industrial use that generates noise beyond the boundaries of the lot line of the site on which it is located in excess of the levels permitted by MSB 17.61.080;

(2)    Any commercial or industrial use that generates traffic in excess of 100 vehicles during the morning or afternoon peak hour, or more than a total of 750 vehicles per day (measured from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m.).

(3)    Any commercial or industrial use involving processing, manufacturing, or storage of hazardous substances over thresholds established by federal or state community right-to-know laws and regulations (40 CFR 370, AS 29.35.500), any use which generates combustible dust produced in sufficient quantity to produce an explosion or combustion hazard, any use involving the storage and handling of combustible fiber in quantities greater than 100 cubic feet (2.8 m3), and any use which involves generation or management of more than 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste per month as defined by federal regulations (40 CFR 261, 262). Note that these facilities would also be subject to significant federal/state regulatory requirements. Among other obligations, facilities that exceed community right-to-know thresholds are required to submit annual reports to the state and to the local emergency planning committee (LEPC), and facilities that exceed hazardous waste limits are required to notify the environmental protection agency and comply with requirements for waste storage and disposal.

(4)    Any use that generates contaminated water runoff or other discharges that are likely to violate state water quality standards or negatively impact groundwater or surface water quality beyond adjacent property lines.

(B)    Home occupations and home-based businesses are exempt from the provisions of this chapter provided that the commercial or industrial activity is clearly incidental and subordinate to the use of the property for residential purposes.

(C)    Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to authorize the creation or maintenance of any public nuisance, whether as a nonconforming use or under a conditional use permit issued under this chapter.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    The land use impacts listed in MSB 17.61.020 are declared to be potentially harmful to public health, safety, and welfare or potentially damaging to the property values of adjacent properties. A nonconforming use located within the core area which has land use impacts as described under MSB 17.61.020 shall not be added to or enlarged unless a conditional use permit has been issued as provided in this chapter.

(B)    There may exist nonconforming uses within the core area as of the date of adoption of this chapter, or amendments thereto, which were lawful before the effective date of the applicable regulations, but which would otherwise be regulated under this chapter. It is the intent of this chapter to permit these nonconformities to continue until they are abandoned.

(C)    Abandonment is defined as discontinuance of the use for a period of more than twelve consecutive months.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)

17.61.040 Commercial and industrial development review. [Repealed by Ord. 12-063, § 2, 2012]


(A)    General. An application for a conditional use or modification of an existing conditional use may be initiated by a property owner or the owner’s authorized agent. An application for a conditional use shall be filed with the director on a form provided by the planning department.

(B)    An application for a conditional use permit shall be accompanied by an appropriate filing fee, as established by the assembly, payable to the borough. A copy of local covenants shall accompany the permit request and be provided by the requestor.

(C)    Site plan. A detailed site plan drawn to scale showing the location of setbacks, easements, all existing and proposed buildings and structures, (including tanks and chemical processing equipment, access points, buffering, vehicular and pedestrian circulation patterns, parking areas, copies of any current report on hazardous substances or hazardous waste prepared for submittal to state or federal agencies, and expected types and quantities of combustible fiber to be stored or combustible dust to be produced shall be submitted with the application.

(D)    Traffic Impact Analysis. A Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) shall be submitted with the application if the trip generation rates estimated on the Traffic Impact Worksheet exceed the volumes described in MSB 17.61.020(A)(2).

(1)    For the purpose of completing a TIA, Level of Service (LOS) A through F shall apply. Trip generation shall be based on the proposed land use and density and will be calculated utilizing the Trip Generation Manual, Institute of Transportation Engineers, 6th Edition or most current revision, or if necessary, utilizing the Quick-Response Urban Travel Estimation Techniques and Transferable Parameters, NCHRP Report 187, Transportation Research Board. If neither reference contains appropriate trip rates for the proposed land use, other sources may be used at the discretion of the director.

(E)    The application shall be accepted or rejected for failure to meet the requirements of subsections (B), (C), or (D) of this section. The rejection shall be in writing and shall state the deficient items. Once the deficiencies are corrected, the application shall be accepted as complete.

(F)    A public hearing shall be scheduled before the planning commission within 60 calendar days of the acceptance of a complete application unless the 60-calendar-day limit is waived by the applicant.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    In granting approval of a conditional use permit, the commission, may impose conditions and safeguards, which may include, but are not limited to:

(1)    Ensuring that structures and areas proposed are arranged and screened in such a manner that they are not detrimental to an existing neighborhood; i.e., view obscuring fencing or landscaping;

(2)    Increasing setback or yard dimensions;

(3)    Limiting height of buildings or structures;

(4)    Controlling the number and location of vehicular access points;

(5)    Increasing or decreasing the number of parking spaces as well as designating the location, screening, drainage, surfacing or other improvements of the proposed parking area;

(6)    Limiting hours of operation;

(7)    Providing additional containment and contingency planning for safe management of hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, and explosion/combustion hazards; and

(8)    Providing for additional control of runoff from the facility to ensure water quality is maintained in lakes, streams, wetlands, and groundwater.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    A conditional use may be approved only if it meets the requirements of this section in addition to any other standards required by this chapter.

(B)    In granting a conditional use permit, the commission must make the following findings:

(1)    the conditional use will preserve and not detract from the value, character and integrity of the surrounding area;

(2)    that granting the conditional use permit will not be harmful to the health, safety, convenience or general welfare of the public; and

(3)    that sufficient setback, lot area, buffers, or other safeguards are being provided to meet the conditions listed in subsections (B) (1) and (2) of this section.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    Except as provided in subsection (B) below, no person shall operate or cause to be operated on private property a new commercial or industrial use creating sound in such a manner as to create a sound level that exceeds the limits set forth for the adjacent land use category in Table l when measured at or within the property line of the receiving land use without first obtaining a conditional use permit. The use of the adjacent parcel shall be determined at the time of conditional use permit application. If there are mixed uses on adjacent parcels the most restrictive sound category shall apply.

Table 1: Maximum Permissible A-weighted Sound levels

Land Use of Sound Source

Land Use of Adjacent Property











Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends

Monday through Friday 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Weekend 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.


60dB (A)

50dB (A)

50dB (A)

70dB (A)

75dB (A)


60dB (A)

50dB (A)

50dB (A)

70dB (A)

80dB (A)

(B)    For any sound which is of short duration, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. the levels established in Table 1 may be increased by:

(1)    Five (5) dB(A) for a total of fifteen minutes in any one hour, or

(2)    Ten (10) dB(A) for a total of five minutes in any hour, or

(3)    Fifteen (15) dB(A) for a total of one and one half minutes in any one hour period.

(C)    Exemptions. The following sounds are exempt from the provisions of this chapter at all times:

(1)    Sounds originating from aircraft in flight or during take off, landing, taxiing, or run-up, or by routine maintenance as required by the Federal Aviation Administration. See A.S. 34.75.030;

(2)    Sound created by emergency equipment and emergency work necessary in the interest of health, safety, or welfare of the community;

(3)    Sound created by safety or protective devices, such as relief valves, where noise suppression would defeat the safety effect of the device;

(4)    Sounds produced by the operation of any mechanically powered saw, drill, sander, router, grinder, lawn or garden tool, lawnmower, or other similar device;

(5)    Sounds created by fire alarms, security alarms, or warning devices;

(6)    Sounds created by natural phenomena or the unamplified human voice;

(7)    Sounds originating from agricultural or forest harvesting activities;

(8)    Sounds created by surface carriers engaged in intrastate and interstate commerce;

(9)    Sounds created by the discharge of firearms except in or at a commercial shooting range that is regulated by this chapter;

(10)    Sounds created from equipment used for construction or maintenance;

(11)    Sounds originating from organized athletic events, or events occurring on athletic fields, playgrounds, parks, or other public recreational facility owned and operated by a government entity.

(12)    The restrictions set forth in MSB 17.61.080 (B) (Table 1) do not apply to emergency work of public utilities or to emergency repair work necessary to protect or shelter persons, animals, or property from the weather.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    No new commercial or industrial use that generates traffic in excess of 100 vehicles during the morning or afternoon peak hour or more than 750 vehicles per day may operate in the core area without first obtaining a conditional use permit unless roadway improvements are funded, scheduled for construction, and expected to mitigate any impacts associated with the proposed project and the existing level of service along the roadway is not expected to drop below Level of Service “D” due to the proposed project.

(B)    The minimum acceptable LOS at intersections and on road segments both on the development’s opening date and ten years from the opening date for land uses generating 250 or more vehicle trips during the peak traffic hour of an adjacent highway, is:

(1)    LOS C, if the existing LOS on the date of the application is C or better; or

(2)    LOS D, if the existing LOS on the date of application is LOS D or poorer; however, if the LOS is poorer than LOS D, a lower minimum LOS is acceptable if the operation of the highway does not deteriorate more than ten percent in terms of delay time or other appropriate measure of effectiveness from the LOS before the development’s opening date.

(C)    Commercial and industrial uses requiring a conditional use permit must provide sufficient off-street parking to prevent use of public rights-of-way for parking;

(D)    Conditions. In addition to the conditions listed in 17.61.060(A), the conditions necessary to ensure proposed land use does not cause traffic congestion or otherwise decrease the operational condition of access roads may include but are not limited to construction and or funding of traffic management controls or other mitigation measures identified by traffic impact analysis.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    All new commercial and industrial uses which process, manufacture, or store hazardous substances or hazardous wastes over thresholds identified in MSB 17.61.020 shall first obtain a conditional use permit.

(B)    Activities excluded from conditional use permit requirements under this chapter include:

(1)    households;

(2)    medical and dental facilities;

(3)    school laboratories;

(4)    pharmacies;

(5)    retail gasoline stations;

(6)    application and release of pesticides and other agricultural products or materials intended for use in weed abatement, erosion control, soil amendment or similar applications;

(7)    building materials;

(8)    distilled spirits and wines; and

(9)    other specific exemptions noted in MSB 17.61.020 (B) and MSB 17.61.100 (C) through MSB 17.61.100 (E)

(C)    Activities regulated under this chapter include but are not limited to:

(1)    Operation of a plant pulverizing aluminum, coal, magnesium, or other operations producing combustible dust.

(2)    Storage and handling of combustible fibers in quantities greater than 100 cubic feet (2.8 m3).

(a)    A permit is not required for agricultural storage.

(3)    Storage, use or handling at normal temperature and pressure (NTP) of compressed gases regulated under AS 29.35.500 in quantities equal to or more than 1,000 cubic feet at standard temperature and pressure.

(a)    A permit is not required for compressed gases used in medical facilities, or compressed gas intended for medical purposes such as inhalation, sedation, or analgesia; portable compressed gas containers, tanks, and cylinders for cutting and welding; propane for retail sales; compressed natural gas (CNG) as a fuel for propelling vehicles; or compressed air or inert gases used for inflation of equipment or other devices.

(4)    Manufacturing, storage, or sale of any quantity of explosives, or explosive material.

(a)    A permit is not required for the storage, use or handling of model and high-powered model rockets; use of explosives by the federal, state and local regulatory, law enforcement and fire agencies; the possession, storage, or use of small arms ammunition, commercially manufactured sporting black powder, smokeless propellant, small arms primers; special industrial explosive devices which in aggregate contain less than 50 pounds of explosive material, such as but not limited to explosive bolts, cartridges for explosive-actuated power tools, and charges used for air bag inflation, jet perforation of oil well casings; and items preempted by federal regulations.

(5)    Storage, handling or use of more than 10,000 pounds in any one day of hazardous substances, including solvents, paints, and ignitable liquids such as fuels.

(a)    A permit is not required for the storage or use of standard fuels (diesel, gasoline, heating oil, natural gas, propane) at retail fuel stations or in the tanks/engines of motor vehicles, aircraft, motorboats, mobile power plants, mobile heating plants, or heating furnaces.

(6)    Operation of plants, terminals, refineries, distilleries, chemical manufacturing, and other commercial or industrial operations where more than 2,200 pounds (approximately 5, 55-gallon drums) of hazardous waste is generated monthly. Examples of waste that would meet the definition of hazardous waste includes (but is not limited to) waste methanol, methyl ethyl ketone, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, lead-contaminated sludges, cyanide and sulfide gases, and wastes high in arsenic, cadmium, and benzene.

(D)    Hazardous substances and hazardous wastes in amounts greater than threshold limits established in 17.61.020:

(1)    May not be located in a designated flood hazard area;

(2)    May not be discharged in such concentration as to endanger neighboring residents or the public across the boundaries of the lot or through runoff or percolation into the subsoil beyond the boundaries of the lot;

(3)    May not be disposed of on-site without first obtaining any approval or permit required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC); and

(4)    Hazardous waste, medical waste, or industrial waste incinerators must be located on a lot that is no smaller than five acres in size and must be located at least 200 feet from any lot line. No outside storage of hazardous material is permitted in conjunction with a hazardous waste incinerator.

(E)    Conditions. In addition to the conditions listed in 17.61.060, the Commission may impose conditions necessary to ensure the compatibility of proposed hazardous substance and hazardous waste processing, manufacture, or storage with the surrounding property. These conditions may include but are not limited to preparation and approval of an emergency response plan, security for guarantee of performance, method of disposal of waste, and compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    A conditional use permit must be reviewed and acted upon by the commission following a public hearing. Notice of the public hearing shall be as provided under MSB 17.03, Public Notification.

(B)    After a public hearing, and upon review of staff’s analysis and recommendations, the commission shall consider:

(1)    whether the proposed use, even with mitigation, would be incompatible with and adversely affect surrounding residential neighborhoods;

(2)    whether the proposed use would adversely affect property values of surrounding areas;

(3)    whether the proposed use would create unreasonable noise levels beyond the property lines of the proposed location;

(4)    based upon a completed traffic impact analysis, whether the proposed use would adversely affect the safe and efficient flow of traffic on any highway, arterial, collector, or street from which access to and from the business occurs;

(5)    whether there are adequate off-street parking facilities to accommodate a reasonably expected increased demand for parking generated by the business;

(6)    the effectiveness of any measures proposed by the applicant or any other person to reduce any negative effect upon adjacent properties by property line buffers and roadway buffers, berms, landscaping, clustering with other similar uses, and where surrounding area is predominantly residential in character, whether the site and building design features contribute to the residential character of surrounding development; and

(7)    whether the proposed site plans and plan of operations, together with any amendments thereto, are consistent with the purposes of this chapter.

(C)    Within 30 calendar days of the close of the public hearing on an application made under this chapter, the commission shall render a decision on the application, make specific findings required by law, and grant or deny the application.

(D)    In granting any application, the commission shall require the applicant to comply with the site plans and the plan of operation as approved by the commission, together with the physical and operational requirements of this chapter. The commission may also require the applicant to comply with such additional conditions necessary to ensure the compatibility of the proposed use with surrounding property.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)


The procedure for amendment of a conditional use approved by the commission, or a request to change the conditions attached to a conditional use permit, shall be the same as for a new application.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    The following land uses are prohibited within the core area and are not eligible for permits under any section of MSB Code:

(1)    private landfills.

(Ord. 17-096, § 4, 2017)


(A)    Except as otherwise specified in this chapter, violations of this chapter are infractions.

(B)    Remedies, enforcement actions, and penalties shall be consistent with the terms and provisions of MSB 1.45.

(C)    Failure to correct a violation of any permit condition is a violation of borough code.

(D)    In addition to other applicable penalties, failure to correct the violation of code, after reasonable notice, may result in revocation of the permit.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)

17.61.140 DEFINITIONS.

(A)    For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.

•    “Combustible dust” means finely divided solid material which when dispersed in the air in the proper portions, could be ignited by a flame, spark, or other source of ignition. Combustible dust will pass through a U.S. No. 40 standard sieve i.e. aluminum dust, coal dust, magnesium dust.

•    “Combustible fibers” means readily ignitable and free-burning fibers, such as cocoa fiber, cloth, cotton, excelsior, hemp, henequen, istle, jute, kapok, oakum, rags, sisal, wastepaper or other similar materials.

•    “Commercial use” means the use of land or building that includes as its principal activity wholesale or retail sales, including but not limited to provision of personal and business services.

•    “Commission” means the Matanuska- Susitna Borough Planning Commission.

•    “Construction activity” means any activity incidental to the erection, demolition, assembly, alteration, installation, maintenance, or equipping of a building, structure, road, or appurtenances thereof, including land clearing, grading, excavating, and filling.

•    “Decibel” means a unit of measurement describing the amplitude of sound pressure waves, relative to the standard reference level of 20 micropascals.

•    “Director” means the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Director of Planning.

•    “Explosive” means a chemical compound, mixture or device, the primary or common purpose of which is to function by explosion. The term includes but is not limited to dynamite, initiating explosives, detonators, detonating cord, and igniters.

•    “Grandfather rights” means prior nonconforming uses as referenced in MSB 17.80.010 (A).

•    “Hazardous substance” means a substance subject to SARA Title III reporting requirements established by federal or state community right-to-know regulations (40 CFR 370, AS 29.35.500) and substances present in sufficient quantity to produce an explosion or combustion hazard.

•    “Hazardous waste” means a waste that meets the definition of a hazardous waste under federal regulation: 40 CFR 261. This includes wastes specifically named (listed) and wastes that exhibit a characteristic of ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity.

•    “Household” means single and multiple residences, hotels and motels, bunkhouses, ranger stations, crew quarters, campgrounds, picnic grounds and day-use recreation areas.

•    “Industrial use” use means the use of land or building that includes as its principal activity manufacturing, processing, fabricating, or warehousing.

•    “Level of Service (LOS)” means a qualitative measure describing operational conditions within a traffic stream, based on service measures such as speed and travel time, freedom to maneuver, traffic interruptions, comfort, and convenience. Six LOS, from A to F, are used to represent a range of operating conditions with LOS A representing the best operating conditions and F the worst.

•    “LOS A” means vehicles are almost completely unimpeded in their ability to maneuver within the traffic stream, passing demand is well below passing capacity, drivers are delayed no more than 30 percent of the time by slow moving vehicles.

•    “LOS B” means the ability to maneuver a vehicle is only slightly restricted; passing demand approximately equals passing capacity, and drivers are delayed up to 45 percent of the time; the level of physical and psychological comfort provided to drivers is still high.

•    “LOS C” means the ability to maneuver a vehicle is noticeably restricted and lane changes require more care and vigilance on the part of the driver; percent time delays are up to 60 percent; traffic will begin to back-up behind slow moving vehicles.

•    “LOS D” means the level at which speeds begin to decline with increasing traffic flow, density begins to increase somewhat more quickly, passing demand is very high while passing capacity approaches zero, and the driver experiences reduced physical and psychological comfort levels; the percentage of time motorists are delayed approaches 75 percent, even minor incidents can be expected to back-up traffic because the traffic stream has little space to absorb disruptions.

•    “LOS E” means the roadway is at capacity; the percentage of time delay is greater than 75 percent, passing is virtually impossible, as there are virtually no usable gaps in the traffic stream; vehicles are closely spaced, leaving little room to maneuver, physical and psychological comfort afforded to the driver is poor.

•    “LOS F” means that traffic is heavily congested with traffic demand exceeds traffic capacity, there is a breakdown in vehicular flow, and vehicle delay is high.

•    “Peak hour” means a one-hour period representing the highest hourly volume of traffic flow on the adjacent street system during the morning (a.m. peak hour), during the afternoon or evening (p.m. peak hour); or representing the hour of highest volume of traffic entering or exiting a site (peak hour of generator).

•    “Residential property” means any parcel of ground occupied, used, or zoned as a single or multi-family residence.

•    “Sound” means an oscillation in pressure, stress, and particle displacement, particle velocity, or other physical parameter in a medium with internal forces. The description of sound may include any characteristic of sound including the duration, intensity and frequency.

•    “Sound level” means that quantity measured by a sound level meter using A-weighting (dBA) and the slow setting as specified in the American National Standards Institute specifications.

•    “Trip (directional trip)” means a single or one-direction vehicle movement with either the origin or the destination (exiting or entering) inside a study site.

•    “Weekday” means the days from Monday through Friday that are not a federal holiday.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)


Appeals from a decision of the commission granting, denying, modifying, or revoking a conditional use permit under this chapter, or of an enforcement action or decision, shall be filed and conducted in accordance with MSB 15.39.

(Ord. 02-116 (SUB), § 2 (part), 2003)