|Detachment from a Borough Government
Frequently Asked Questions
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"Detachment" from a borough means to shrink the
corporate boundaries of the borough by the removal of territory
formerly within its control. There are two methods available
to detach territory from a borough.
One involves an election among the voters in the territory
proposed for detachment (AS
29.06.040(c)(1)). The other involves legislative review (Article X, Section 12,
The detachment process requires a big commitment
of time and other resources. Before any decision is made to begin work on
detachment, a lot of thought should be given to the need for detachment, the
method to use, and the likelihood of success. This chapter provides a brief
overview of basic detachment information; however, this is a complex matter that
cannot be covered completely in this brief overview. This overview provides
information and links to applicable law and staff available to provide assistance
and answer questions on detachment.
Who can initiate a detachment petition?
A petition for detachment may be initiated by:
- a city;
- a borough;
- a regional educational attendance area;
- a coastal resource service area;
- at least 10% of the resident registered voters of
a city, borough, regional educational attendance area, or coastal resource service area;
- at least 25% of the resident registered voters of
the area proposed for detachment;
- the state legislature;
- the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (Commerce);
- a party designated by the Local Boundary Commission.
Are disagreements with the borough government
a basis for detachment?
Occasionally, a petitioner is motivated by
disagreements with the borough over policy issues, land use regulation, tax rates,
apparent differences between levels of service and taxes or fees, or similar issues.
Such disagreements are not a basis for detachment. Detachment is not intended to be a
means to settle group or individual disagreements with local governments. Detachments
rarely occur. A proposal to detach territory will be granted only if it meets all
applicable standards established in law.
Who can provide information
regarding detachment from boroughs?
Boundary Commission (LBC) staff are available to provide
technical assistance, petition forms, and sample detachment
materials to potential petitioners and to other interested
If an individual, group,
or organization does not want to detach, does the state assist
them as well?
staff are available to provide technical assistance and
sample materials to those who may wish to oppose a detachment
proposal. Interested parties may file a responsive brief.
This allows any interested party to be identified as a "respondent" in
the detachment proceeding. Being identified as a respondent
results in a higher level of notice about action on the detachment
and provides certain procedural rights at the Local Boundary
Commission's public hearing.
Can a petition be changed after it is filed?
The petition may be changed by the petitioner.
The LBC can also change it or add conditions to a proposal following a public
hearing. Ideally, however, with careful planning and consultation before filing
a petition, changes can be avoided. Changing a petition may, under certain
circumstances, cause delays in the process.
How long does it take to detach?
It typically takes several months (in some cases
a year or more depending on the local effort) to prepare a proper petition.
Petitioners are encouraged to work closely with LBC staff in developing a petition.
The process for review of the proposal by the LBC depends, in part, on other actions
the Commission is working on. There are many procedural steps required by law that
take time to complete. In general, plan for it to take one year or longer from the
filing of a petition until final action.
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Detachment Through Election
by Voters in the Territory Proposed for Detachment.
Territory may be detached, upon
approval by the Local Boundary Commission, if an election
is held and a majority of the voters living in the territory
to be detached vote to approve it. To pass, the proposition
must be approved by a majority of those voting on the question.
Detachment by Legislative
Territory may be detached without
approval by the voters or property owners under the legislative
review process. Such proposals require approval by the Local
Boundary Commission as well as review and tacit approval by
the State legislature under Article X, Section 12 of Alaska's
Constitution. Tacit approval means the action is approved
unless specific action is taken to deny the action within
a set period of time. Legislative review is initiated when
the LBC files a recommendation for the detachment with the
legislature. Such recommendations may be filed only during
the first 10 days of a regular session of the legislature.
The recommendation is rejected only if the legislature adopts
a concurrent resolution to deny the action within 45 days
of the date that it was filed. Otherwise, the proposal is
tacitly approved by the legislature.
Constitution - Article X
- Section 1. Purpose and Construction,
local self-government, local government units.
- Section 3. Boroughs.
- Section 12. Boundaries, authority
for tacit legislative approval, authority for LBC to establish
procedures for boundary adjustment.
- Section 14. Agency to advise
and assist local governments.
Alaska Statutes (See
29.06.040. Local Boundary Commission.
44.33.810. Local Boundary Commission, appointment.
- AS 44.33.812. Powers and
- AS 44.33.814. Meetings and Hearings.
- AS 44.33.816. Minutes and Records.
- AS 44.33.818. Notice of Public Hearings.
- AS 44.33.820. Quorum.
- AS 44.33.822. Boundary Change, majority vote.
- AS 44.33.824. Expenses.
- AS 44.33.826. Hearings on boundary changes.
- AS 44.33.828. When boundary changes take effect.
Regulations (See The
Alaska Administrative Code)
- 3 AAC 110.270. Best interest
finding, factors considered in determining best interest.
- 3 AAC 110.400. Applicability.
- 3 AAC 110.410. Petitioners,
authorized petitioners, signature requirements.
- 3 AAC 110.420. Petition,
form, supporting brief, exhibits.
- 3 AAC 110.430. Consolidation
- 3 AAC 110.440. Technical
review of petitions, Commerce review, deficient petition.
- 3 AAC 110.450. Notice of
petition, time limit and method for providing notice.
- 3 AAC 110.460. Service of
petition, recipients and method of delivery, availability
of all petition documents for public review.
- 3 AAC 110.470. Proof of notice
- 3 AAC 110.480. Responsive
briefs and written comments, filing with Commerce, affidavit
of delivery to petitioner.
- 3 AAC 110.490. Reply brief,
filing with Commerce, affidavit of delivery to respondent.
- 3 AAC 110.500. Limitations
on advocacy, adherence to regulations, commission contact
with interested parties.
- 3 AAC 110.510. Informational
sessions, Commerce determination of adequate public information
- 3 AAC 110.520. Departmental
public meetings, notice, affidavit of posting, presiding
officer, meeting summary, postponement, relocation.
- 3 AAC 110.530. Departmental
report, draft review and comment.
- 3 AAC 110.540. Amendments
and withdrawal, time limit, petition signatures, notice,
- 3 AAC 110.550. Commission
public hearing, notice, public service announcement, postponement,
- 3 AAC 110.560. Commission
hearing procedures, presiding officer, commission quorum,
limit on comments, witnesses, sworn testimony, timely submission
- 3 AAC 110.570. Decisional
meeting, time limit, commission quorum, change to comply
with law, minutes, statement of considerations, decision,
- 3 AAC 110.580. Reconsideration,
time limit, denial or acceptance of request.
- 3 AAC 110.600. Local action/local
option elections, election by director of elections under
AS 15, election by municipality.
- 3 AAC 110.610. Legislative
review, amendment to consider as local action/option procedure,
legislative review of commission decision.
- 3 AAC 110.620. Judicial review,
appeal and judicial review in accordance with Administrative
- 3 AAC 110.630. Effective
date and certification, Voting Rights Act approval, certification
of election, legislative review deadline, certificate of
- 3 AAC 110.640. Scheduling,
chairperson order setting/ amending schedule, timeline,
- 3 AAC 110.650. Resubmittals
and reversals, denial of previous similar petition, request
for reversal of decision.
- 3 AAC 110.660. Purpose of
procedural regulations; relaxation or suspension of procedural
regulation, commission discretion, guidelines.
- 3 AAC 110.900. Transition,
submission of transition plan; assumption of powers, duties,
responsibilities, assets, and liabilities; time limit on
execution of plan; approved agreement.
- 3 AAC 110.910. Statement
- 3 AAC 110.920. Determination
of community, factors considered in determining whether
the term community applies.
- 3 AAC 110.970. Determination
of essential city or borough services, guidelines.
- 3 AAC 110.980. Determination
of best interests of the state, guidelines.
- 3 AAC 110.990. Definitions.
select "Landscape" in