It appears a proposed Skagway raptor tour that has drawn resistance from some in the community will be able to move forward.
Alaska Mountain Guides is partnering with the American Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines to bring a raptor tour to the Liarsville neighborhood in Skagway.
In 2014, the Skagway planning commission rejected the permit, as did the local board of appeals.
AMG appealed those denials, taking the case to Juneau Superior Court. A judge sided with AMG and remanded the application back to the planners who rejected it.
In July, the planning commission reconsidered the raptor tour conditional use permit. It was approved in a 3-1 vote. But that wasn’t the final step. Skagway’s borough attorney advised the commission to vote on a resolution formalizing the permit’s approval. But when it came time to vote on the resolution at a meeting this month, it failed in a 2-1 vote. A resolution needs three affirmative votes to pass.
Since the commission had never included the extra step of a resolution before, it wasn’t clear if the failure to adopt the resolution overruled their prior approval or not. This week, borough clerk Emily Deach said it doesn’t. The approval from the commission’s July meeting still stands.
To make a long story short, AMG does have permission to build and operate its Skagway raptor tour. The commission imposed a few conditions on the permit to help ease some public health and safety concerns expressed by residents. They include a DEC-approved restroom, a high chain-link fence, and person on-site at all times when birds are present.
AMG owner Sean Gaffney previously told KHNS the company hopes to have the raptor tour in place by summer of 2017.