Code Compliance provides services for the administration and enforcement of ordinances, regulations, and the flood damage prevention program. We conduct disaster mitigation/response planning, assist in development of plans and ordinances, and conduct code compliance activities in all areas of the Borough except the incorporated cities. We conduct field inspections, investigate violations, and take appropriate action to gain compliance. The Code Compliance office is located on the second floor of the Borough Building in Palmer.
Filing a complaint
Please provide a detailed description of the location where the problem is occurring. The best way to describe the location is by Subdivision name, lot and block number, Township, Range, Section (TRS) or street address. One way of obtaining this information is by looking up the property via the Search for Real Property page. An accurate description of where the problem is occurring will ensure staff conducts an investigation on the appropriate site. Please complete the complaint form as completely as possible.
The Matanuska Susitna Borough Code Compliance staff received over 373 complaints in 2014 regarding junk and trash and general complaints relating to other borough codes; such as structure setback violations. Staff attempts to be consistent in handling cases and always encourages voluntary compliance.
Staff will attempt to resolve problems with the least intrusive method and at the lowest public expense possible.
Code Compliance Forms
Upon Receipt of a Complaint
Upon receipt of a complaint, the Code Compliance Officer will issue a letter or call to inform the property owner (or other responsible party) that the borough received a complaint and request information to conduct an investigation into the complaint.
If you are not sure what needs to be corrected, or believe your property is in compliance with borough code please contact the Code Compliance office to discuss the issue in more detail.
Determination of a Violation
The Code Officer will conduct a site visit and research the complaint then make a determination regarding the complaint. The Code Officer will contact the responsible party by mail or phone if there appears to be a violation of borough code. In addition, the officer will attempt to negotiate a reasonable amount of time for the responsible party to correct the problem. Solutions may include establishing nonconforming rights or seeking a variance for setback issues or by requesting the accumulation of junk and trash on the property be reduced. If a violation does not exist, no further action will be taken. A closure notice will not be issued. However, feel free to contact the Code Compliance office to check on the status of the complaint at any time.
A Warning Notice provides a legal notice that a violation has been observed by the Code Compliance Officer. The Warning Notice will contain the name and phone number of the officer who issued it. This notice will put the owner or tenant of the property (or perhaps both) on notice that there is a problem and there is set amount of time to correct the problem.
If negotiated agreements for compliance, letter requesting compliance, or Warning Notices do not result in compliance, a Citation can be issued. The Citation will state the violation and the fines imposed. A citation can be contested and the instructions are provided on the back.
If the citation is not contested a default judgment is entered and the fines must be paid.
Enforcement Orders are generally issued when more than one option is being made available. Enforcement Orders may be appealed to the Board of Adjustments and Appeals, see MSB 15.39. If you receive an Enforcement Order and wish to appeal it, you must file your appeal with the Borough Clerk as required under MSB 15.39.140 Appeals Commencement. The Clerks Office is located on the second floor of the Borough Building. Responsible parties may be anyone who causes or knowingly allows violations to occur. Property owners are responsible for violations of code on their property. Other responsible parties include tenants, contractors, guests, dependents, trespassers, etc.
Junk and Trash
A reasonable amount of temporary outdoor storage of junk and trash, which is visible from off the property, is allowed by borough code so long as it does not cause a public nuisance and is in compliance with all codes. The interpretation of "reasonable" is determined by considering the negative impact of the junk on nearby property and on public health and safety.
- Junk and trash that stinks, causes litter, lowers other people's property values, or makes it difficult for others to enjoy their property is more likely to be a public nuisance.
- Be a good neighbor. Consider other people's rights when you exercise your own. Keep the effect of exercising your property rights on your own property.
- Junk and trash that cannot be seen or smelled from off the property is much less likely to be complained about.
- Larger amounts of junk and trash, large areas of scattered junk and trash, and trash kept for long periods of time are more likely to be a public nuisance.
- Junk and trash should be placed to minimize visibility from offsite, by location in the rear yard, inside or behind structures, screening, cover, fencing, topography, vegetation, earthen berms, etc.
- The area and amount of junk and trash storage should be minimized and should be kept in a compact, neat, orderly, safe, sanitary, and non-polluting manner that does not cause litter or foul odor, or attract scavenging animals.
- The outdoor storage of trash should not exceed 30 days. Trash must be stored inside containers that discourage scavengers and prevent litter and leakage.
- Junk and trash should not eliminate off street parking on the site or force overnight vehicle parking to occur on the street and must not be located in public right of ways or easements.
- Junk and trash should be set as far back as possible from water bodies, property lines, and easements or right of ways. Recommended minimum setbacks are: 100 feet from water bodies, 25 feet from access easements and right of ways, and 10 feet from lot lines.
- Three or more junk vehicles constitute a public nuisance, and any outdoor area of 200 square feet that is substantially occupied by junk vehicle parts is considered equivalent to a junk vehicle.
|Matanuska Towing||745-5252||Junk Vehicle Removal|
|Bear Necessities Coalition||733-2111||Talkeetna Area|
|Knik Towing & Wrecking||376-2584||Salvage Yard|
|Alaska Car Crushing||357-5865||Salvage Yard & Junk Vehicle Removal|
|Happy Hooker Towing||376-9114 or
|Junk Vehicle Removal|
|Valley Community for Recycling Solutions||357-8228||Volunteers, Trucks|
|MSB Central Landfill||861-7600||Call for Details|
|MSB Public Works Department / Solid Waste Division||861-7605||Abandoned Vehicles - Borough Roads only|
|Durgeloh Truck Salvage||376-3958||Vehicle Salvage|
|1-800-GOT-JUNK||907-562-5865||Junk & Trash Removal|
New Construction and Development
Please note other Borough Departments as well as State and Federal Agencies may also Require Permits. Related Links include:
Utility Locates (Statewide 1-800-478-3121)
Commercial Buildings (new or renovating):
A plan review must be completed by the appropriate Fire Official. For information about fire codes in the Central Mat-Su Fire Service Area visit the Fire Code Life Safety area of the Borough's website. For other areas in the borough contact the Alaska State Fire Marshal's Office.
Setbacks for Structures
Setback information for Borough Cities
If you are building a structure within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, but outside special use districts and the incorporated cities of Palmer, Wasilla, and Houston you must meet the following setbacks. Please note, other setbacks may apply within Special Land Use Districts and for Conditional Uses.
Check with staff if your property has less than 60' of frontage on a public right-of-way, or if your structure was constructed before July 3, 1973. Please note there maybe setback requirements in subdivision covenants or plat notes. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough does not enforce covenants or plat notes.
General Setbacks in the MAT-SU Borough (unless otherwise specified in Special Land Use Districts etc.)
|25'||Right-of-way (including access easement)*|
|10'||Side and rear lot lines|
|75'||Any water body or watercourse|
|100'||For sub-surface sewage disposal system- from any water body or watercourse|
Note: Wells, septic tanks and drain fields may not be located within a public right-of-way
For more information regarding septics please contact AK DEC at 907-269-7500 or the Wasilla office at 376-1850 or via their website.
Before You Build or Buy
Recommended steps prior to buying or building in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough
When constructing or placement of any building in a Special Flood Hazard Area a Flood Hazard Development Permit is required or when building within 75' of a watercourse or a waterbody requires a Mandatory Land Use Permit. Please visit our Permit Center
Find out if covenants, deed restrictions, easements, plat notes, or other special rules affect you. You may obtain this information from the borough's Platting Division. Contact the Platting Office at 861-7874. Please keep in mind the Borough does not enforce private covenants. Contact the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Recorders Office for a copy of recorded covenants. http://dnr.alaska.gov/ssd/recoff/search.cfm
Determine whether existing uses or development in the area are in compliance with existing rules and what system is set up to enforce covenants. (Hint: If there is not an active property owners association with active directors and mandatory dues from members, covenants are less likely to be enforced.)
Check for existing or planned uses nearby that could impact your site such as noise, heavy traffic, vibration, smoke, lighting/glare, odor, safety, etc. Remember that most residential, commercial, and industrial uses are allowed in many areas of the Borough.
Check for problems in the area with flooding, erosion, road problems, etc. Contact the Code Compliance office and request a “Flood Hazard Determination”. Development permits are required in Designated Flood Hazard Areas.
If in doubt, hire a professional Engineer or Surveyor to determine if your proposed development affects wetlands, and obtain required authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (907) 753-2712
Have the lot surveyed. Monument all corners with permanent, self-identifying markers. Make sure you know where all easements, section lines, and lot lines are located. A “mortgage drawing” is not a lot stake survey.
Remember that Setbacks are minimum, plan to allow more separation between structures, lot lines, shore lines, easements, etc. if possible.
Make sure the well driller and septic system installers are certified, and ensure that the proper paperwork, such as well log and information about septic system design and installation, are filed with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC).
For information regarding water and/or waste water disposal systems, please contact the State of Alaska , Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC). Address: 1700 E. Bogard Road , Bldg B, Suite 202 , Wasilla AK 99654 , Telephone: (907) 376-1850.
Connection to available public sewer and water systems (such as Talkeetna) may be required. Call our Operations & Maintenance Division at (907) 861-7753
If you are using an onsite well, apply for a water use appropriation certificate from Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR) (907) 269-2033. This protects your rights to use the water.
Check with the Fire Code Office about Alaska building codes or fire and life safety issues at (907)861-8030.
Hire a certified building inspector to inspect the construction from design to completion. This verifies that the house is properly constructed and may facilitate refinancing and obtaining insurance.
Obtain Driveway Permits (from the Borough and/or Alaska Department of Transportation (ADOT)) to access public roads and streets.
Check with Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) before working along shores and in water, including creeks, rivers, lakes, etc. Permits may be required prior to installing docks on lakes.
Fireworks are Prohibited in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough
With the exception of New Year's Eve. Please refer to MSB Code 8.35
- Fireworks are also prohibited in the cities of Palmer and Wasilla.
- It is ILLEGAL for a person to discharge fireworks on ANY Borough, State or Federal land.
- Penalties for illegal use of fireworks include fines of up to $500.00 per violation.
- Within the City of Houston fireworks MAY be legally used ONLY on PRIVATE land with the permission of the landowner.
- Use of fireworks within the City of Houston is prohibited by state law when the Alaska Division of Forestry issues bans on burning.
From April 1 to August 31 a person who throws away lighted tobacco, cigar, cigarette, match, firecracker, or other burning material on forested land, whether public or private, is guilty of a misdemeanor under state law.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch an authorized public display. If you choose to discharge fireworks in a legal area, remember these tips.
- Always check with the Fire Department, Alaska Division of Forestry and Alaska State Troopers to make sure special bans on fireworks and/or burning are not in effect.
- Always follow the directions
- Have a sober adult present
- Use only outdoors and do not use them near dry grass or other flammable materials
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person or an animal
- Do not carry them in your pockets, and keep water handy
Remember, fireworks can cause wildfires and serious personal injury
For more information about fireworks in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, contact Development Services at 907-861-7822.
PLEASE READ BEFORE THE DISCHARGE OF ANY FIREWORKS ON NEW YEAR'S EVE ONLY
Fireworks can create fire and safety hazards.
The private use of fireworks is prohibited in all of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough outside the city limits throughout the year with the exception of NEW YEAR'S EVE.
The discharge of 1.4G or "Salable fireworks" shall be allowed annually without a permit on private property with the permission of the property owner and under the direct supervision of a person 21 years or older, during the seven hour period beginning at 6:00 pm on December 31st and ending at 1:00 am on January 1st.
EXCEPT IN THESE RESTRICTED AREAS:
- Within one thousand two hundred fifty (1,250') feet of any health care facility or assisted living facility, library or school.
- Within five hundred (500') feet of any automotive service station or other premises where flammable liquids or gases are stored.
- Within or from any structure or vehicles.
REMEMBER TO BE RESPECTFUL AND RESPONSIBLE WHEN USING FIREWORKS ON NEW YEAR'S EVE
The Alaska Division of Forestry Issues Burn Permits
Burn permits for outdoor burning are required from April 1 - August 31
Division of Forestry - Daily Burn Information 761-6312
For small burns (10 feet X 10 feet or smaller), a General Permit is required from the Division of Forestry.
NOTE: EPA & DEC regulations prohibit the burning of plastics, hydrocarbons and synthetic materials. When dispatched to an outdoor fire call, fire personnel must extinguish even small fires containing these products.
Final Note: Burn permit violations and/or EPA-DEC violations may result in a fine. Obtain burn permits, follow burn permit requirements, and burn safely. If you observe an illegal or unsafe outdoor burn call 911 for a fire response.
MONITOR ANY CHILDREN IN THE AREA WHEN BURNING ALWAYS BURN SAFELY!