Article I. General Provisions

17.76.010    Definitions

17.76.020    Intent

17.76.030    Establishment of districts: map adopted

17.76.040    Designated large lot single-family residential land use districts

17.76.050    Conformance required

17.76.060    Legal nonconforming uses

17.76.070    Permitted uses

17.76.080    Conditional uses

17.76.090    Prohibited uses

Article II. Conditional Use Permits

17.76.100    Purpose

17.76.110    Application and fee

17.76.120    Public hearing

17.76.130    Planning commission action

17.76.140    General Standards

17.76.150    Planning director action

Article III. Additional Provisions

17.76.160    Minimum building size

17.76.170    Minimum lot size

17.76.180    Setbacks

17.76.190    Waste disposal

17.76.200    Appeals

17.76.210    Violations, enforcements, and penalties


17.76.010 DEFINITIONS.

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

•    “Accessory” as applied to a use, building, or structure means customarily subordinate or incidental to a principal use, building or structure.

•    “Appurtenance” See “Accessory.”

•    “Commercial use” means any activity other than a home occupation where goods or services are offered or provided for sale or trade.

•    “Conditions, covenants, and restrictions” means legally established and recorded terms contained within a contract or deed allowing or restricting the use of land and types of buildings.

•    “Dog team” means five or more dogs over the age of six months housed or kept for competitive, recreational, or private sled use.

•    “Dwelling unit” means a structure or portion of a structure providing independent and complete cooking, living, and sleeping facilities for one family.

•    “Home occupation” means an activity carried out in a dwelling unit or detached appurtenance provided that:

(a)    no more than one person, in addition to members of the family, who resides on the premises may engage in the occupation;

(b)    the use of the dwelling unit and detached appurtenance of the home occupation is clearly incidental and subordinate to its use for residential purposes;

(c)    there is no change in the outside appearance of the building or premises or other visible evidence of the conduct of the home occupation other than one sign, not exceeding two square feet in area, non-illuminated and mounted flat against the wall of the principal building;

(d)    traffic is not generated by such home occupation in greater volumes than would normally be expected in a residential neighborhood;

(e)    equipment or process is not used in the home occupation which creates noise, vibration, glare, fumes, odors, or commercial electrical interference in violation of applicable government rules and regulations. In the case of electrical interference, no equipment or process shall be used which creates visual or audible interference in any radio or television receivers off the premises, or causes fluctuations in line voltage off the premises; and

(f)    outdoor storage of materials or equipment is not required.

•    “Kennel” means any premises or facility used for breeding, buying, selling, keeping, or boarding five or more dogs over the age of six months, whether for profit or not.

•    “Lot” means a designated parcel, plot, tract, or area of land established by plat, subdivision, or as otherwise permitted by law, to be used, developed, or built upon as a unit.

•    “Mobile home” means a detached single-family dwelling designed for long-term human habitation and having complete living facilities, capable of being transported to a location of use on its own chassis and wheels, identified by a model number and serial number by its manufacturer, and designed primarily for placement on a nonpermanent foundation. Travel trailers are not to be construed as mobile homes.

•    “Nonconformity, pre-existing, legal” means a use, lot, structure, building, or activity which was lawful prior to the adoption, revision, or amendment of this title, but which fails by reason of such adoption, revision, or amendment, to conform to the present requirements of this title.

•    “Pit privy” means any outhouse or outdoor toilet.

•    “Residential area” means any unified subdivision development or combination of subdivision developments, or more than three defined lots or parcels, which constitute a contiguous area with common features.

•    “Subdivision” means:

(a)    a term used to identify one or more lots, tracts, parcels, easements, or rights-of-way as a unified, distinct, or separate group usually created by a common plan or platting action; or

(b)    the act of creating, modifying, combining, or eliminating boundaries of lots, tracts, parcels, easements, or rights-of-way in accordance with applicable laws.

•    “Travel trailer” means a wheeled portable structure without permanent foundation, which can be towed, hauled, or driven; identified by a model number, serial number, or vehicle registration number; and primarily designed as temporary living accommodations for recreational, camping and travel use.

(B)    The general rules of grammatical construction, interpretation of terms, and words and phrases in MSB 1.15 apply.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)

17.76.020 INTENT.

(A)    This land use district chapter is intended to protect the public health, safety, and welfare and to provide a method to protect and enhance the large lot single-family residential use of land and improvements within designated districts in accordance with adopted borough comprehensive plans. This chapter is further intended to:

(1)    allow property owners and other interested parties to request large lot single-family residential land use regulations in specific areas;

(2)    provide for orderly development;

(3)    provide greater setbacks to accommodate large lot requirements and increased buffers in a large lot residential setting;

(4)    prevent overcrowding and excessive traffic; and

(5)    protect the value, character, and integrity of large lot residential neighborhoods where appropriate.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    A petitioner seeking approval of a subdivision before the platting board may simultaneously apply for planning commission approval to designate the subdivision as a large lot single-family district. The planning commission shall consider, and act on, a platting action related petition for district designation under the same procedures and standards required for commission review of an application by petition as listed in this section except that the petitioner(s) must own 100 percent of the land to be included within the proposed district.

(B)    The assembly may designate additional areas or delete areas subject to this chapter after recommendation by the planning commission.

(C)    The planning commission may consider extending or excluding applicability of this chapter to an area:

(1)    by its own action;

(2)    at the direction of the assembly;

(3)    at the request of a community council;

(4)    during the review of a proposed use district, community plan, or comprehensive plan element; or

(5)    upon receipt of an application by petition requesting the action.

(6)    An application by petition to establish a land use district, or exclude an area from an existing land use district, must be in writing on a form provided by the planning and land use department. The application must include:

(a)    a petition favoring the application signed by legal owners (as listed by borough tax assessment records) of more than 75 percent of all lots less than five acres in area, and 100 percent of all lots five acres or greater in area, located within the boundary proposed for inclusion or exclusion;

(b)    a map depicting the application area;

(c)    a non-refundable fee as established by the assembly;

(d)    a written explanation of how the proposed action meets the requirements of code; and

(e)    the name, address, telephone number and other information identifying a representative of the group sponsoring the petition.

(D)    The planning commission shall hold a public hearing to consider any proposed action to include or exclude an area from a land use district.

(1)    Public notice shall be provided in accordance with MSB 17.03.

(E)    The planning commission shall make findings and recommend to the assembly for approval, denial, modification, or conditions of approval for the proposed action.

(F)    If the planning commission acts favorably on the proposed action, or in any case, if the applicant so requests within 20 days of the hearing, the application shall be forwarded to the assembly with the planning commission’s findings, recommendations, and an appropriate proposed ordinance.

(G)    The assembly shall hold a public hearing, consider the proposal, make findings, and take action.

(H)    In addition to other applicable codes, review of the proposed action shall be based on all of the following standards:

(1)    The land included in a proposed district must be reasonably compact, contiguous, and compatible in character. Exclusion of individual interior lots shall be avoided unless such exclusion is consistent with the standards of this chapter. Subdivisions and other areas with mostly contiguous and reasonably compact dimensions, existing large lot single-family residential development trends, similar lot sizes, shared traffic patterns, and large lot residential neighborhood characteristics, will be favored. Generally, the combined area of subject lots owned by parties in favor of the proposed action should be larger than the combined area of subject lots owned by parties opposed to the proposed action. Modification of the proposed action and conditions of approval may be required as the planning commission or assembly finds necessary.

(2)    The proposed action shall be consistent with the applicable comprehensive plan and coordinated with existing use regulations in the general area. Existing subdivision covenants, plat notes, deed restrictions, and other valid restrictions of the development or use of the subject land will also be considered; however, they do not mandate or restrict borough actions under this chapter.

(3)    The proposed action shall promote long-term beneficial impact to the public health, safety, and welfare. The proposed action must be reasonable considering existing development trends, promote the development of an improved unified neighborhood, and be coordinated with the larger community and the borough, including environmental conservation, compatibility of land use, traffic impacts and quality of life. The action should encourage appropriate long-term land development and use trends and discourage unreasonable land use incompatibility for residents and users. Consideration shall include agricultural, recreational, residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, and public uses as applicable.

(4)    Generally, at least five contiguous lots, or the equivalent in area based upon average lot size in the vicinity, should be subject to the proposal, except in cases where contiguous lots are being proposed for inclusion in an existing adjacent district. The appropriate minimum number of lots and area is variable based upon the specific issues under consideration.

(5)    The proposed action shall not be for the sole reason of improving the property value of an applicant’s property or for unfairly affecting competitive business issues.

(6)    The use of the petition process to impose the desires of owners of several small lots over the objections of owners of much larger and dissimilar parcels located near the smaller lots will be discouraged.

(I)    Minimum term of effectiveness. No petition from the public to dissolve the district shall be considered before the district has been in existence for at least 36 months.

(J)    The boundaries of large lot single-family residential districts will be depicted upon an official map to be maintained in the borough planning department.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    The following areas are designated large lot single-family residential land use districts subject to the provisions of this chapter:

(1)    Light Wood Subdivision.

(Ord. 03-042(AM), § 2, 2003; Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    No building, structure, land, or water area located within a large lot single-family residential land use district shall be used or occupied and no such building, structure, or part thereof shall be erected, constructed, reconstructed, moved, repaired or structurally altered except in conformity with the regulations specified in this chapter. Any use not authorized by permit, that is not a legal nonconforming use or is not otherwise provided for in this chapter, is prohibited.

(B)    Large lot single-family residential land use districts designated under this chapter are also subject to other borough ordinances which are effective within the district.

(C)    When this chapter is in conflict with any other borough ordinance, the more restrictive or higher standard will apply, unless specifically stated otherwise.

(D)    This chapter does not repeal or modify any valid plat note, condition, covenant, or restriction except as specifically provided for. When a subdivision plat note, condition, covenant, or restriction is less strict than the applicable borough ordinance, the borough ordinance shall supersede.

(E)    Except as otherwise provided by code, the borough is not responsible for the enforcement of plat notes, conditions, covenants, or deed restrictions.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    Legal nonconforming structures or uses shall be subject to the requirements specified in MSB 17.80.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    The following are permitted as principal uses in a large lot single-family residential land use district:

(1)    one single-family dwelling unit per lot; and

(2)    public and common uses such as community well sites, septic drainage fields serving several lots, access, parks, and playgrounds that are dedicated on the approved subdivision plat or reserved in recorded conditions, covenants and restrictions.

(B)    Accessory uses and structures which are customary and desirable adjuncts to permitted uses are allowed within large lot single-family residential land use districts where such uses and structures are clearly secondary and incidental to a single-family dwelling. Accessory uses and structures must serve a principal structure on the same lot, an adjacent lot, or a contiguous lot, under the same ownership. The following accessory uses and structures are permitted uses:

(1)    non-commercial garages, storage buildings, barns, fences, and other incidental structures and uses;

(2)    non-commercial outdoor storage of material and equipment, including non-commercial trucks, boats, campers, and travel trailers in a safe and orderly manner, and not stored within the setbacks;

(3)    home occupations as defined in this chapter;

(4)    two accessory dwelling units designed and used for guests, family members, or persons providing domestic or health services to the residents of the principal structure on the same lot. The total combined floor area of the accessory dwelling units may not exceed 50 percent of the principal dwelling unit floor area. The accessory dwelling unit may be located within the principal dwelling structure, within an accessory structure such as a garage with an apartment, or be a separate accessory structure; and

(5)    private water supply wells and septic waste disposal systems, subject to approval by the Alaska State Department of Environmental Conservation.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    The following uses and structures are permitted as principal uses by obtaining a conditional use permit:

(1)    uses that create electrical interference across property lines.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    Uses not specifically permitted are prohibited:

(1)    The use of a mobile home, travel trailer, camper, tent, or other temporary facility as a dwelling is prohibited except under the following conditions:

(a)    The owner of a lot, including the owner’s family, may temporarily occupy a mobile home, travel trailer, or hard-sided camper during construction of a single-family dwelling on the same lot for a period not to exceed 20 months. During the occupancy of the temporary structure, construction of the permanent dwelling must be proceeding in a timely and consistent manner.

(b)    The resident of a principal dwelling may allow guests to occupy temporary facilities upon the same lot or an adjacent lot under the same ownership for a period not exceeding five months within any twelve-month period. Temporary guest facilities must remain clearly incidental to the principal use.

(2)    The use of buildings, whether primary or accessory, or of property, for the purposes of running a kennel or having a dog team is prohibited.

(3)    No more than one unregistered and inoperable automobile, truck, or other vehicle designed for use on public roads may be stored on the property at a time, and may not be stored in the setback.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


17.76.100 PURPOSE.

(A)    Those uses listed herein as conditional uses are declared to be potentially damaging to the property values and usefulness of adjacent properties, or potentially harmful to the public health, safety, and welfare; and unless maintained under and in accordance with a lawfully issued permit, such uses are declared to be public nuisances.

(B)    The conditional use permitting procedure is intended to allow the planning commission to consider the impact of the proposed use on surrounding property and the environment, and to attach conditions to the permit that will ensure that the conditional use will be compatible with nearby uses and in keeping with the character and integrity of the area.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    An application to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Planning Commission for a conditional use permit or modification of an existing conditional use permit may be initiated by the property owner or the owner’s authorized agent.

(B)    The application for a conditional use permit must be in writing on a form provided by the planning and land use department. The application must include:

(1)    a detailed site plan showing the proposed location of all buildings and structures on the site, access points, buffering, drainage, vehicular and pedestrian circulation patterns, parking areas, and the specific location of any other proposed use; and

(2)    a non-refundable fee as established by the assembly.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    The planning commission shall hold a public hearing to consider any conditional use permit application.

(1)    Notice of any public hearing required under this chapter shall be given in accordance with MSB 17.03.

(2)    The form of the notice shall be as described in MSB 17.03.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    The planning commission shall hear any interested parties and render a decision on an application for a conditional use permit within 30 calendar days of the date of the close of the public hearing. The planning commission may grant a conditional use permit with such conditions and safeguards as are appropriate to meet the standards of this chapter; or deny a conditional use permit when not in harmony with the purposes and intent of this chapter.

(B)    Before any conditional use permit is issued, the planning commission shall make written findings certifying compliance with the following general standards.

(Ord. 03-041, § 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 planning commission must make the following findings:

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

(2)    the conditional use will not be harmful to the public health, safety, convenience, and welfare.

(C)    In granting a conditional use permit, the planning commission shall stipulate in writing requirements deemed necessary to carry out the intent of this chapter. The requirements may include the following:

(1)    increase the required lot or yard size;

(2)    control the location and number of vehicular access points to the property;

(3)    require screening and landscaping to reduce noise and glare and maintain the property in a character in keeping with the surrounding area; and

(4)    impose other conditions and safeguards designed to ensure the compatibility of the conditional use with other permitted and existing uses in the district.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


The planning director shall issue conditional use permits incorporating any conditions or requirements stipulated by the planning commission, or notify the applicant of standards that have not been met if a permit is denied by the planning commission.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)



(A)    Principal buildings must have at least 500 square feet of living area on one single floor.

(B)    Accessory buildings must not have a larger footprint than 150 percent of the principal building.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    Minimum lot size in this land use district is two acres.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)

17.76.180 SETBACKS.

(A)    Minimum setbacks in this land use district from rights-of-way and all property lines are:

(1)    lot size two to three acres: 25 feet;

(2)    lot size greater than three to four acres: 35 feet;

(3)    lot size greater than four to five acres: 45 feet; and

(4)    lot size greater than five acres: 75 feet.

(B)    Shoreland setbacks in this land use district are 75 feet from the mean high water mark, and further described in MSB 17.55.020, setbacks for shorelands.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(A)    All septic waste will be disposed of through a septic system approved by the Alaska State Department of Environmental Conservation.

(B)    The use of pit privies is prohibited.

(C)    Portable toilets with holding tanks may be used during construction of the primary residence, not to exceed a period of 20 months, and subject to proper maintenance and disposal of waste.

(D)    Trash and waste will be stored only on the same lot as the principal structure. Trash and waste will be stored neatly and kept in sanitary containers in such a manner to minimize odors, discourage scavengers, and prevent litter, pollution, and health hazards. Trash and putrescible waste may be kept on site for no more than 30 consecutive days before it is transported for proper disposal.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)

17.76.200 APPEALS.

Appeals from a decision of the planning commission or from an enforcement order under this chapter shall be made under the provisions of MSB 15.39.

(Ord. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)


(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. 03-041, § 2 (part), 2003)