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Published: Friday, June 14, 2013, 1:23 p.m.

Chena Hot Springs land deal faces opposition in Alaska

FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- A second proposal to sell Fairbanks North Star Borough land to Chena Hot Springs Resort owner Bernie Karl is opposed by some borough assembly members who say the plan ignores guidelines previously set by the assembly.
The new proposal follows an earlier one that fell apart when Karl said it wasn't fair, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://is.gd/Wv3irB ) reported. Karl wants to expand his resort, adding animal viewing and expanded aurora viewing and a ski slope.
The first appraisal of the 1,482 acres came in at $390 an acre, equaling a total price of $577,980. Karl balked at the figure, saying the appraisal was rigged to a high price and that comparable local sales should be half of the appraisal.
The proposal now in front of the assembly would offer Karl a credit worth $282,720, nearly half of the initial appraised figure, for public use provisions he's agreed to make to the property.
But critics in the assembly say that the proposed deal ignores the assembly's directive to get a second appraisal and average the two appraisals.
"Do not advance it. I've had it with this," assembly member Guy Sattley said at a meeting Thursday night.
According to a memo to the assembly, because the assembly's guidance was "by motion, not by ordinance, it did not legally impose a term of sale that the mayor would be required to incorporate into any subsequently negotiated purchase agreement."
An ordinance authorizing the sale was introduced at the meeting, setting it up for a work session next week.
Other assembly members said that they felt the deal should be moved forward for discussion so the administration and Karl could make their case for the new plan.
"I think it's a matter of importance to the borough to have a discussion," assembly member John Davies said. "Whether you like it or not, we should advance it."
The assembly voted 5-4 to advance the proposal.
The proposed sale will be up for a public hearing in two weeks.

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