Newtok Planning Group

Community Layout Planning

In anticipation of the move to Mertarvik, the Newtok community recognized the need for a community layout plan that would provide details on what the new village would be like, and would guide the new village’s efficient and orderly development.

The Newtok community wanted to ensure that the community layout plan would be designed to meet the needs of Newtok residents. In addition to being functional for their daily activities, the layout needed to consider the topography of Mertarvik as well as operation and maintenance costs of village infrastructure and facilities. The critical planning requirements for the community layout plan included the following criteria:

  • Centrally locate community facilities
  • Accommodate alternative energy sources
  • Locate washeteria/water treatment plant near the power plant to use waste heat
  • Accommodate 63 single family housing units with room for expansion
  • Provide access to barge landing, airport, gravel source, and fish camp  
Mertarvik Community Layout Plan Documents

Click to download full CLP

Mertarvik Community Layout Plan (HDR Alaska). Click graphic to download full document (.pdf) 

Community Layout Plan Development:

The Mertarvik Community Layout Plan (CLP) evolved as a result of several planning efforts:

  1. In 2006, the Village Safe Water (VSW) Program developed a preliminary layout based on a piped water and sewer system at the new site (sometime referred to as the boomerang layout) with minimal operating costs.
  2. In December 2006, the Newtok Traditional Council was awarded a grant to develop a community layout plan through DCRA’s former Mini-Grant Program. This first community layout plan was developed in June 2008.
  3. In 2010, the Newtok community made the decision to locate the new community closer to the water. As a result, a CLP update process was initiated, funded by a Community Planning Grant the Newtok Traditional Council received through DCRA's Alaska Climate Change Impact Mitigation Program. Two alternatives that built upon the same principles as the initial layout were developed. Based on community and agency input, Alternative 2 was the preferred choice, and after further modifications, became the final CLP.

The Newtok community identified the following goals and objectives for the development of the new village at Martarvik:

Goal 1: Provide access to the natural environment
Create connections to the setting and preserve access to subsistence resources, including fishing, hunting and berry picking areas.

  • Provide connections to subsistence resources such as fish camp and berry patches
  • Consider wind and sun orientation in layout design

Goal 2: Preserve traditional way of life
Maintain Newtok’s traditional way of life including Eskimo dancing and learning from the elders.

  • Develop community spaces where people can interact and learn from each other
  • Provide housing that is suitable for large families

Goal 3: Use reliable, affordable and sustainable infrastructure
Improve the quality of life of Newtok residents by providing basic infrastructure that can be maintained by the community.

  • Develop a piped water and sewer system with affordable user fees
  • Minimize maintenance requirements
  • Consider alternative energy

For more information contact:

Sally Russell Cox

Division of Community and Regional Affairs
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development
Phone: 907-269-4588