By Aly De Angelus 

Planning and Zoning commissioners have sent a proposed ordinance to the borough assembly that would alter the definition in municipal code for yurts, intended to allow another housing option in Skagway. 

The code change was motivated by a lack of housing options in the community. Commissioners crafted a definition that could satisfy permanent building requirements, perhaps create greater diversity among housing costs and allow new designs in the market, Mayor Andrew Cremata said.   

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-0 on Jan. 9 to advance the proposal to the assembly, which was scheduled to consider the ordinance in first reading Feb. 6, with a public hearing on Ordinance No. 20-05 expected Feb. 20. No one from the public spoke on the issue at the commission meeting. 

If passed, Skagway Municipal Code 19.02.065 (B) would no longer consider yurts a tent-like structure. Instead, a yurt would be defined as “a portable, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure covered by material such as felt or canvas,” which could be approved as a permanent, single-family home as long as it meets Skagway’s building code.  

A yurt that does not meet the building standards could be used as a tent in an approved campground, but not as permanent housing. 

For more information, read our first article here.