17.70.005    Definitions

17.70.010    Applicability

17.70.020    Permit required

17.70.030    Application procedures

17.70.100    Standards

17.70.110    Special standards for liquor uses

17.70.200    Nonconforming uses

17.70.210    Violations and enforcement [Repealed]

17.70.215    Violations, enforcement, and penalties

17.70.220    Appeal procedure

17.70.300    Definitions [Recodified as MSB 17.70.005]

17.70.310    Map amendment [Repealed]

17.70.005 DEFINITIONS.

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

(1)    “Buffer along arterials” means a horizontal distance intended to reduce or soften the visual impact of development, which incorporates substantial planting such as trees, shrubbery and ground cover.

(2)    “Buffer along property line” means a horizontal distance intended to reduce or soften the visual impact of development, which incorporates any one of the following:

(a)    substantial planting such as trees, shrubbery and ground cover;

(b)    a solid fence or wall eight feet or more in height;

(c)    a densely planted earth berm;

(d)    a combination thereof.

(3)    “Commercial” relates to sales, trade, goods, professional or other services, offices, stores, transportation or financial institutions. It excludes residential, educational, recreational, manufacturing, construction and industrial uses.

(4)    “Planted berm” means a linear mound of earth planted with trees, shrubbery and ground cover and arranged in such a manner as to reduce the visual impact of development.

(5)    “Residential character” means a quality of design that incorporates elements commonly found in residential scale buildings, such as wood siding, pitched roof forms, varied setbacks, moderately sized window openings, and the absence of large unvaried vertical surfaces.

(6)    “Sign” means a structure or device for advertising intended to direct attention to a business, which is placed upon a building, structure or parcel of land, and which can be read from a public right-of-way.

(7)    “Under construction” means the substantial placement of construction materials and performance of labor for construction of facilities which cannot reasonably be used except in a manner which does not conform with these regulations.

(Ord. 84-35, § 2 (part), 1984)


(A)    Permits pursuant to MSB 17.70.020 are required in all areas of the borough.

(B)    This chapter shall apply in all areas of the borough outside the cities of Palmer, Wasilla and Houston. Areas annexed to any of these cities shall be subject to the land use regulations of the respective city, subject to rights under any existing permit.

(Ord. 93-015, § 2, 1993; Ord. 84-35, § 2 (part), 1984)


(A)    The following land uses are declared to be potentially damaging to the property values and usefulness of adjacent properties and potentially harmful to the public health, safety and welfare if they are located outside of established or potential commercial areas:

(1)    uses requiring a beverage dispensary license under A.S. 04.11.090 (bar, lounge, and the like), but excepting uses licensed pursuant to A.S. 04.11.400(d);

(2)    uses requiring a package store license under A.S. 04.11.150.

(B)    Such uses are permitted only upon the issuance of a conditional use permit, as provided in this chapter. Unless such uses are maintained under and in accordance with a lawfully issued permit, such uses are declared to be public nuisances. Maintenance of such a land use without a permit is prohibited.

(Ord. 84-35, § 2 (part), 1984)


(A)    Application.

(1)    An application to the planning commission 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 planning director on a form provided by the planning department.

(2)    The application for a conditional use permit shall be accompanied by an appropriate filing fee as established by the assembly, payable to the borough.

(B)    Site plan. A detailed site plan showing the proposed or existing location of all buildings and structures on the site, size, height and bulk of building, signage, access points, buffering, proposed contouring and landscaping, drainage, vehicular and pedestrian circulation patterns, parking areas and the specific location of the use or uses to be made of the development shall be submitted with the application.

(C)    Action by planning commission.

(1)    The planning commission shall hear any interested parties and shall render a decision on the application for a conditional use permit within 30 calendar days from the date of public hearing. In recommending the granting of a conditional use, the planning commission shall state in writing the conditions of approval of the permit which it finds necessary to carry out the intent of this chapter. These conditions may increase the required lot size, control the location and number of vehicular access points to the property, require screening and land filling where necessary to reduce noise and glare, and may require maintaining property in keeping with surrounding lands. The commission may impose other conditions and safeguards designed to ensure the compatibility of the conditional use with other lawful uses.

(2)    The planning director shall incorporate any conditions or requirements stipulated by the commission in the conditional use permit.

(Ord. 93-047, § 2, 1993; Ord. 91-107, 1991)

17.70.100 STANDARDS.

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

(1)    Findings. In granting a conditional use permit the planning commission must make the following findings:

(a)    the conditional use is compatible with and will preserve or not materially detract from the value, character and integrity of the surrounding area;

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

(c)    that sufficient setbacks, lot area, buffers or other safeguards are being provided to meet the conditions listed in subsections (A) and (B) of this section.

(2)    General standards. In considering whether the general standards are satisfied, the planning commission may weigh factors contributing or detracting from the development of a safe, convenient and attractive community, including, but not limited to:

(a)    any potential negative effect upon other properties in the area due to such factors as dust, noise, obtrusive advertising and glare;

(b)    any potential negative effect on the safe, efficient flow of traffic on any highway, arterial, collector or street from which access to and from the establishment is obtained;

(c)    the effectiveness of any measures to reduce any negative effect upon adjacent and nearby properties by property line buffers and arterial buffers, planted berms, landscaping, reduction or elimination of obtrusive or garish signing or other features, lowered building elevation, clustering with other commercial establishments and use of frontage roads to reduce the number of entries and exits onto highways, arterials and collectors and, where the surrounding area is predominantly residential in character, site and building design features that contribute to the residential character of the development;

(d)    whether there are adequate parking facilities to accommodate a reasonably expected increased demand for parking created by issuing the permit;

(e)    whether access to the premises will create an unreasonable traffic hazard;

(f)    whether a reasonably expected increase in traffic will overtax existing road systems;

(g)    whether the use is incompatible with the character of the surrounding neighborhood

(3)    The commission shall deny the application if it does not meet the applicable standards.

(Ord. 84-35, § 2 (part), 1984)


(A)    In addition to the general standards, a commercial liquor use shall only be approved if it meets the requirements of this section.

(B)    An application shall be denied if the planning commission finds, based on the evidence presented, that one or more of the following are applicable:

(1)    There is, or the use would tend to result in, a high crime rate or a high incidence of alcohol-related accidents in the area.

(2)    The applicant or a person with an interest in the application has had an interest in a liquor license which was suspended or revoked in the 12 months preceding the application.

(3)    The applicant or person with an interest in the application demonstrated that the person is untrustworthy or unfit to conduct the operation of a licensed business, or is a potential source of harm to the public.

(Ord. 87-93, § 3, 1987; Ord. 84-35, § 2 (part), 1984)


(A)    Within the borough there may exist non-conforming uses as of the date of adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter, or amendments thereto, which were lawful before the effective date of applicable regulations, but which would otherwise be prohibited, regulated or restricted under this chapter. Such existing nonconforming uses are permitted to continue subject to the provisions of this section, but shall not be expanded except as specifically provided in this chapter.

(B)    Nothing in this chapter shall require the relocation or removal of a nonconforming use existing or under construction at the time of adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter if such use was lawful at the time of its construction. No non-conforming use shall be constructed or operated except in accordance with these regulations, except to the extent it was in existence or under actual construction as of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter or amendments thereto.

(C)    Issuance of a beverage dispensary license or package store license for a particular site, which is in good standing with the State of Alaska as of July 1, 1984, shall be sufficient evidence of a nonconforming use. However, such nonconforming use shall terminate if the license is revoked under the provisions of A.S. 04.11.370 or is suspended for a period of more than one year under that section.

(D)    No existing nonconforming use shall be expanded to include an adjacent parcel or parcels unless the area of expansion meets the requirements of this chapter, except that contiguous, unplatted tracts constituting a block of land in the same ownership held for the same purpose on July 1, 1984, and containing a nonconforming use permitted under subsection (C) of this section shall be considered to be one parcel. No nonconforming use which is abandoned shall be used until it meets the requirements of this chapter. “Abandonment” is defined as a discontinuation of use of a non-conforming use or a discrete portion or parcel thereof, or the failure to complete construction and begin use for a contiguous period of more than one year. If abandoned, the land shall not thereafter be used except in conformity with the requirements of this chapter.

(Ord. 84-35, § 2 (part), 1984)

17.70.210 Violations and Enforcement. [Repealed by Ord. 95-088(SUB)(am), § 14 (part), 1995. For current provisions, see MSB 17.70.215]


(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.

(Ord. 95-088(SUB)(am), § 31 (part), 1995)


Appeals from a decision of the manager or the manager’s authorized representative of an enforcement action or a decision of the commission granting or denying a permit under this chapter shall be filed and conducted in accordance with MSB 15.39.

(IM 96-013, page 1 (part), presented 3-19-96; Ord. 84-35, § 2 (part), 1984)

17.70.300 Definitions. [Recodified as MSB 17.70.005]

17.70.310 Map Amendment. [Repealed by Ord. No. 93-015, § 3, 1993]