MINUTES

PLANNING COMMISSION

CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU, ALASKA

SPECIAL MEETING

January 18, 2000

The special meeting of the City and Borough of Juneau Planning Commission, held in the Assembly Chambers of the Municipal Building, was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Chair Johan Dybdahl.

I. ROLL CALL

Commissioners present: Mike Bavard, Dan Bruce, Johan Dybdahl, Marshal Kendziorek, Mark Pusich, Merrill Sanford

Commissioners absent: Tracey Ricker, Jody Vick, Ken Williamson

A quorum was present.

Staff Present: Tim Maguire, CDD Planning Supervisor; Heather Marlow, CDD Planner; Gary Gillette, CDD Planner

II. REVIEW PROPOSED CHANGES TO COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

Mr. Maguire stated that these proposals were primarily changes to the Comprehensive Plan maps, and, if the Planning Commission recommends approval, they will be forwarded to the Assembly for their final action.

A. Waterside Park (4910 N. Douglas Highway) - change from Low Density Residential (RDR(T)ULDR) To Medium Density Residential (MDR).

Mr. Bruce's request to be excused for a conflict of interest was granted because the park's owner, Myron Klein, is a client of his firm.

Staff report: CDD Planner Heather Marlow reviewed the staff report in the packet. The proposed Comp Plan amendment is to redesignate the parcel adjacent to Waterside Park Mobile Home Complex from "Rural Dispersed Residential Transitional to Urban Low Density Residential" to "Medium Density Residential." The owner of Waterside Park and the subject parcel requested the amendment to allow for the development of a multiple-dwelling facility to accommodate short-term residents, such as legislative staff and seasonal tourism workers. The owner placed a mobile home on the site in 1995. The owner has explored various development ideas and has obtained permit approval from the

Division of Governmental Coordination to place fill and riprap on tidelands and discharge treated wastewater into Gastineau Channel. There is a permitted community sewage treatment plant that serves the adjacent mobile home park, and the owner proposes to upgrade the system to handle the new development. The development request was presented to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT) which indicated that a 40-foot wide access point could be required for a multi-family development.

Ms. Marlow stated that CBJ's number one sewer priority is to cross Gastineau Channel in the hospital area and link the Bonnie Brae Subdivision to the public sewer system. However, it is unlikely that North Douglas will receive additional sewer service in the near future. The 1996 Douglas Highway Corridor Traffic Study basically found that the Douglas Highway/North Douglas Highway and the 10th and Egan Drive intersections failed, or near failed, to adequately circulate traffic at peak times, and that future single-family development on North Douglas would exacerbate those conditions. DOT's State Transportation Improvement Program includes a project in 2002 to fix the capacity and delay problems at the 10th & Egan intersection. Both DOT and CBJ staff think that this is a very optimistic timeline.

Ms. Marlow said that the subject site is in Subarea 9 of the Comp Plan. For this area, direction is provided to allow for Rural Residential densities along North Douglas Highway corridor and Resource Reserve designation in uplands; to provide for low- and medium-density urban development in areas north of Kowee Creek which can be served by extending municipal sewer and water systems; and to designate transition areas within which development will be allowed at a higher density once sewer and water are available. Ms. Marlow also reviewed the area-wide policies that are relevant to the proposal (pages 3 & 4 of the staff report). In summary, the proposed amendment and development concept has merit as it will provide more affordable housing that can be aimed at seasonal and legislative workers; the project provides for municipal water and a wastewater system approved by the state; the site is adjacent to other land uses that provide for multi-family and commercial development, and future multi-family development; and the site is within the urban service boundary.

Ms. Marlow reviewed several possible responses to the map amendment request, as follows:

1. No change - Few development prospects.

2. Amend the RDR(T)ULDR designation to MDR - Would allow a project to meet a public need for affordable housing for seasonal residents. Policies of the plan reference the need for public utilities such as sewer and water for urban densities, and provide for transition areas suitable for higher density once utilities are available.

3. Amend the RDR(T)ULDR designation to RDR(T)MDR - Would allow the same development opportunities as the no-change alternative. But it would provide for future development when public sewer is available and improvements are made to the Douglas Highway and Douglas Bridge intersection.

Ms. Marlow next reviewed staff's conclusions. Protection and preservation of public health and safety, as well as the environment, are priorities of the CBJ. The applicant's development request for housing does address a facet of an acknowledged need. However, when viewed comprehensively, the project does not promote the policies and guidelines of the Comp Plan that provide for rural densities on North Douglas Highway; protection from adverse impacts of urban development; protection, maintenance and improvement of marine water; and the facilitation of development that is adequately served by public facilities.

Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission recommend to the Assembly that the existing Plan map designation of Tract 2, USMS 2225, be changed from RDR(T)ULDR to RDR(T)MDR.

Public Testimony:

John D. Cooper, 8183 Threadneedle, stated that because of the transition zoning designation the CBJ assessor raised the property taxes on the subject property compared to similar pieces, and staff's recommendation would result in another tax increase without providing the owner with anything in return. A seasonal RV park, which was previously approved but not developed, would generate about the same amount of traffic as the proposed multi-family development, but the timing of the trips for an RV park might reduce the impacts on the highway intersections. In terms of public utilities, the seasonal demands of an RV park on a sewer system are considerably more than those from a year-round, multi-family residential unit. Regarding traffic concerns, DOT is going to solve those problems in the next two to four years, and the Planning Commission's decision will affect how DOT addresses the capacity requirement at the intersections. Due to budget constraints, the CBJ will not be constructing expensive municipal projects anytime in the near future, such as extending municipal sewer service to North Douglas. Nevertheless, a community sewage treatment plant, such as the one that services Waterside Park, should be regarded by CBJ as public. Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) both define public as more than a single family. The problem with other community sewage treatment systems on North Douglas is that DEC does not enforce the permit conditions. However, it would be a simple process for the CBJ to monitor for compliance. The applicant's proposal would accomplish community goals while protecting the environment the way that responsible agencies have deemed appropriate. It is time to get beyond conventional thinking in order to live and grow, and one way would be to regard the proposed multi-family dwelling facility as a demonstration project.

Mr. Kendziorek stated that from his position on the Transportation Steering Committee he was only aware of a traffic roundabout being considered for the Douglas Highway and

North Douglas intersection. A roundabout would theoretically help people to get onto the bridge, but it would not increase the overall traffic capacity. Mr. Cooper said he had been referring to the roundabout when he mentioned DOT's plans to address traffic problems. Mr. Kendziorek stated that it was not the Planning Commission's role to enforce permit conditions on community sewage treatment systems. Mr. Cooper replied that under the Clean Water Act an individual could file suit and get the EPA to do the enforcement if they believed that a treatment plant permitted under this proposal was not performing up to standard.

Robin Paul, a homeowner on North Douglas, said she was opposed to redesignating the subject parcel of land and urged the Planning Commission to vote no until there is a comprehensive plan for North Douglas. North Douglas Highway is one of the busiest in the borough, and people drive much faster than the 45-mile-per-hour speed limit. As such, entering and exiting driveways can be dangerous. There are no community parks to add to the quality of life in North Douglas, no sewer service, no separated bike paths, no sidewalks, and no street lights. Waterside Park now contains the largest number of units allowed there. Although the owners have cleaned up the park considerably, there are no yards, minimal parking, narrow roads, and no play area. All of these should be considered when addressing tripling the density of the adjacent land and allowing such a concentration of housing on this area of the road. There are several things to consider: safe access onto the highway, where the children will play, highway safety, and further development on the back side of Douglas Island and the demand this will put on North Douglas. Is there really a need to turn prime waterfront land into another trailer court? Besides, Juneau is not experiencing a housing shortage right now.

Wendy Mulder, owner of an adjoining property that contains a duplex and a small house, related that she has to cross Mr. Klein's property to reach her home. She tried to get a separate access, but DOT denied it because of safety issues related to the long hill on the highway.

There was no one else who wished to testify, and public testimony was closed.

Mr. Bavard asked if property taxes would go up if the zoning were changed to transitional. Ms. Marlow said she wasn't sure about this particular parcel, however, when staff was reviewing a West Valley rezone, the CBJ assessor indicated there wasn't enough staff to do a property-by-property catalog of what a change to the zoning designation does for an area. The Assessor's Office typically does not assess potential transitional density because they don't know what the zoning designation will be when it transitions, and different densities provide different development opportunities.

Mr. Kendziorek thought the Commission probably should get an answer to this question.

Mr. Bavard requested an explanation of the process if the subject parcel were redesignated and the applicant came in with a development plan. Ms. Marlow said the Planning Commission's recommendation would go to the Assembly, the Comp Plan designation

would need to be changed, there would have to be a zone change to multi-family residential, then a specific development plan would require either an allowable use or a conditional use permit. This would be the point when the Planning Commission looked at specific considerations, such as traffic, utilities, site conditions, etc.

Mr. Kendziorek, citing a recent newspaper article, wondered if the seasonal housing was needed. Ms. Marlow said she talked to Kathleen Bailey, who does the CBJ housing vacancy survey, and she indicated that Juneau has a very high vacancy rate for apartments and multi-family units right now. This could change rapidly, so it's difficult to predict the housing situation two years from now. Mr. Kendziorek observed that there have been a number of multi-family and low-income housing units built in the past two years.

Mr. Pusich asked if staff discussed the applicant's proposal with DOT. Ms. Marlow replied that they discussed the applicant's conceptual idea, which is all that's available right now.

Mr. Bavard recalled that the CBJ changed the zoning across the highway in the not-too-distance past (Mike Hatch), and there is a piece behind the commercial area that was transitioned. Mr. Maguire said that Mike Hatch proposed the commercial zoning during the last Comp Plan update. Prior to that, the property above was transitioned to Urban Low Density Residential (ULDR), and there was a request to change that to multi-family so that when sewer and water service was extended it would be upgraded. Mr. Bavard figured that the transition zoning had been in place since at least 1995.

Mr. Dybdahl inquired how DEC would regulate community wastewater treatment systems under the best-case scenario. Mr. Maguire said staff looked at the policy of requiring public sewer systems for transition to multi-family. There is a lot of North Douglas property that is transitional zoning now, awaiting the public sewer system in order to go to a higher density. If the CBJ were considering a change to approve more private type systems, then there could be a number of proposals along North Douglas Highway. Depending on the number of systems, it could be a big burden for DEC to monitor. Ms. Marlow added that, according to the Public Works Director, the DEC's role is to identify which type of treatment plants are appropriate for expected volumes and conditions on the site, to be involved in the installation, and to test systems about every six months. The City should also be able to do enforcement if a system is out of compliance with the permit conditions.

Mr. Kendziorek questioned if it was possible to construct a 40-foot-wide access for safe ingress and egress at the proposed facility. Ms. Marlow said staff did not examine the topography, however, with enough fill the applicant can achieve the angle and terrain for safe access from the highway.

Commission Action:

MOTION - by Mr. Bavard that the Planning Commission recommend to the Assembly that the existing Comprehensive Plan map designation of Tract 2, USMS 2225, be changed from RDR(T)ULDR to RDR(T)MDR.

Mr. Kendziorek supported the motion and staff's analysis for option #3, that the parcel transition only after improvements have been made to the highway and possibly the bridge. He saw the biggest problem as being the dangerous highway corner and cautioned turning the area straight into medium density residential. He was not quite as concerned about public sewer service, saying he agreed with Mr. Cooper that it is quite feasible to build a community treatment plant if it is properly operated and maintained.

Mr. Pusich indicated he had some mixed feelings, that the wastewater treatment system could be handled so the public's health and safety is insured, but he was concerned about the traffic issues, both at the intersection of Douglas Highway and North Douglas and along the gradient and access point for the proposed site. He believed that 30 housing units would generate significantly more traffic at peak morning and afternoon times, versus traffic from a 35-unit RV park. In addition, he was not convinced that there was a public need for the proposed housing facility right now. He supported the recommendation to the Assembly.

Roll Call Vote

Ayes: Bavard, Kendziorek, Pusich, Sanford, Dybdahl

Nays: None.

The motion passed unanimously, 5-0.

Mr. Bruce took his seat again.

B. A review of the Comprehensive Plan to redesignate Gastineau Avenue from Mixed Use (MU) to Medium Density Residential (MDR).

Staff report: CDD Planner Gary Gillette reviewed the staff report on the section of Gastineau Avenue between Second Street and the dead end to the southeast. Currently the Comp Plan designates the lower side of the street as Mixed Use (MU) and the upper side as Medium Density Residential (MDR). Within the last couple of years three South Franklin Street developments have been permitted to provide their required parking on lots accessed off Gastineau Avenue (currently zoned Mixed Use). The approval of the parking lots has caused concern with neighborhood residents, specifically to do with increased traffic and the safety of residents. Gastineau Avenue is substandard width and without sidewalks and in some sections is essentially a one-lane two-way street.

Mr. Gillette stated that currently the MU designation would allow commercial use as well as residential development with a density of up to 60 units per acre. Modifying the Comp Plan designation and subsequent rezone would reduce the allowable residential density to between 7 and 20 units per acre. Currently, the upper side of Gastineau Avenue is zoned D-10, or 10 units per acre.

The staff report contained an abridged version of the Table of Permissible Uses in the zoning code to show the three different Medium Density Residential designations and their

uses versus what is allowed in the Mixed Use. Parking lots not associated with a use on a lot are allowed in MU zoning districts but are not allowed in the MDR districts.

Mr. Gillette reported that both sides of Gastineau Avenue are within the designated hazard zone. Changing from MU to MDR would lower the potential residential density, thereby lowering the threat to human safety, as envisioned by the Comp Plan policy 3.11. The majority of properties on the lower side of Gastineau Avenue are currently undeveloped or residential use. All the uses on the upper side of the street are residential. If the Comp Plan designation and zoning were changed, the recently permitted parking lots would have grandfather rights as long as they were continued in that use and not abandoned for more than one year.

Mr. Gillette stated that the CBJ Engineering Department is in the reconnaissance phase of a project to reconstruct Gastineau Avenue, primarily because the existing utility lines need to be replaced. There will be some road improvements, but there is limited opportunity to change much because the right-of-way is so narrow. There was a neighborhood meeting on January 13 where several road improvement issues were brought up which Engineering intends to explore.

Staff concluded that smaller-scale residential development would be more consistent with the existing neighborhood character. The lower density of the subject area is supported by the Comp Plan policy to avoid development that is harmful to people and buildings in the hazard area. The redesignation of the subject area would not preclude Alaska Trams, Inc. from developing their proposed tram project, because an aerial conveyance is allowed in all zoning districts with a conditional use permit. Given the existing development constraints of the steep hillside, minimal access, small lots, and hazard conditions, the redesignation from MU to MDR would not seem to appreciably lower the value of the subject area.

Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and conclusions and recommend to the Assembly to change the Comprehensive Plan map for the lower side of Gastineau Avenue from Mixed Use (MU) to Medium Density Residential (MDR), as shown on the map (Attachment A).

Mr. Kendziorek asked if it were possible as part of the reconstruction of Gastineau Avenue to make it a one-way street and extend it further south. Mr. Gillette replied that the option has been discussed, but it would be expensive to acquire the private property to do that. However, there may be a temporary road for emergency egress during the street reconstruction.

Mr. Pusich asked how many vacant parcels there are on the lower side of Gastineau. Mr. Gillette estimated 20-25 quite small lots. He added that the edge of the road drops off severely and is probably one of the reasons why the lots have not been developed.

Mr. Bavard questioned the grandfather rights of permitted parking lots that are not in operation right now due to construction in the area. Mr. Gillette stated that the permits

have conditions that they can't actually use the parking lots until Gastineau Avenue is reconstructed, in effect extending their ability to develop them. Mr. Bavard asked about the number of units if the lower side of Gastineau were changed to MDR. Mr. Gillette replied that 10 units per acre would be consistent with the uphill residential development, however, the actual number would be part of a zone change recommendation.

Mr. Sanford commented that following the reasoning of the Comp Plan policy for hazard areas, parking lots would pose less risk for life and property than residential development. Mr. Gillette acknowledged that this point has been raised at recent meetings, however, it would be expensive to build parking lots on the steep hillside.

Public Testimony:

Chuck Keen, spoke against the redesignation to MDR, saying it would reduce owners' ability to build on their own property downtown. He has plans to develop the land behind and above his retail cart on South Franklin, and a redesignation would hurt those plans. He is considering a building that would have parking on the roof for the building's residents. He thought the parking plan on Gastineau had been in place since at least 1984.

Steve Landvik, Viking Constructors and a Gastineau Avenue property owner, read into the record his January 18 letter against the proposed redesignation of lower Gastineau Avenue to MDR (on file). He thought the MU density was required to make a project viable in an area that is very expensive to develop. He has a 22-unit project planned, and he felt the CBJ could benefit from the property taxes generated from allowing greater density in the area.

Stuart Cohen, owner of 143 Gastineau Avenue, stated that more than the parking itself, the real issue is access to that parking. He said the existing neighborhood has improved since the 1980s and helps keep South Franklin Street cleaner and more pleasant. The Gastineau residents have a different vision for their neighborhood than non-residents do; the Commission should keep that in mind.

Nancy Waterman, owner of 227 Gastineau Avenue, stated that the only real change by changing the designation to MDR would be to disallow any more parking lots on the street. Other development could occur by conditional use permits or variances. Like Mr. Cohen, she believed that access to the parking is the biggest issue in light of the traffic capacity on Gastineau. She supported the redesignation because it would improve the Comp Plan and geophysical hazards designations, as well as add to the health of downtown by having residential development on both sides of the street.

Marie Hamburger, 215 Gastineau Avenue, said she has lived there for seven years and wants it to remain a great residential neighborhood close to downtown without commercial activities crowding in. She supported the proposed property redesignation and rezoning and agreed with Cohen's and Waterman's testimony.

Doug Larson, spoke in favor of having residential development on both sides of Gastineau. He said that with only one side of the street zoned D-10 the residents don't get the

advantages of living in a D-10 zone because the street is used as a commercial mixed use street. The City should go one way or another. Currently there is one lane of street supporting two directions of traffic. There is still an option to open the bottom of Ewing Way, and he encouraged going in that direction. If that happened, Mr. Landvik could access his parking lot from a commercial street. Reconstruction of Gastineau will not make it wider or support greater traffic flow, nor will there be enough parking on the street for Mr. Landvik's proposed 22-unit building.

Bill Leighty, 227 Gastineau Avenue, noted that because the permitted parking lots are not operational yet, residents have not seen the results of additional traffic going to and from the lots. They also haven't seen the results of the street rebuilding project, so they don't know how important it will be to prevent a further increase in vehicular traffic down Gastineau to future projects that might be built there requiring parking. A redesignation to MDR would help prevent future anticipated degradation of the general quality of life in the neighborhood because of increased traffic.

Murray Walsh stated that the proposed redesignation would ultimately change the zoning on a couple dozen lots so that they could only be used for residential development, and probably only at 20 units per acre minimum. If the real purpose is to prevent using these lots for parking for buildings that they don't serve, then change the Code to specify that. It is hard to work in this area because of the slopes and the landslide concerns, and this makes it expensive to develop. To be unable to have an expensive building means the lots cannot be developed at all. The redesignation will in effect condemn the vacant lots to worthlessness. There are four aspects to this issue, managed by three different branches of the City: land use, parking policy, the design of the street improvement, and how the street is managed. The Planning Commission can address land use and parking policy but should explore a process that looks at the four aspects holistically. Solving the problem by disenfranchising 20-25 lots doesn't seem like a fair answer. In conclusion, Mr. Landvik's proposal for a 22-unit apartment building is to replace the 12-unit building for which he already has approval, and all the parking would be on site.

Mr. Kendziorek disclosed that Mr. Taylor was his employee, although he did not see this as a conflict of interest. The chair concurred.

Simon Taylor, 115 Gastineau Avenue, said he recently moved there and agreed with Mr. Larson's comments. It is important that the street be allowed to be a residential area. The street cannot handle any significant amount of additional traffic that would be generated by adding greater density development, which is allowed under the Mixed Use designation. The road improvements will probably be good but likely will result in vehicles driving faster. Even construction people drive faster than they probably would in their own neighborhoods. Parking lots to serve other areas should not be on Gastineau Avenue.

Dave Hanna, 11495 Mendenhall Loop Road, stated that the residents' concerns about the conditions on Gastineau Avenue are correct, and the analysis in staff's report was good, however, he had to agree totally with Mr. Walsh. Land owners who have a substantial

investment in the community for a long time and have been waiting for an opportunity to recoup their investment will be hurt by the proposed redesignation. There are properties on Gastineau that could be developed and accessed from South Franklin Street without generating any additional traffic on Gastineau.

Public testimony was closed.

Chair Dybdahl stated that when the Planning Commission looked at the Comp Plan there were a lot of good reasons why it came up with the existing MU designation that would accommodate businesses and residential and that would consider changing parking requirements.

Mr. Pusich asked if it was possible to change the Code to prohibit off-site parking only in the Mixed Use zone. Mr. Gillette said it was not discussed for this situation, but if that were to occur, the Planning Commission would have to define an area (it may not be appropriate to not allow off-site parking in other areas).

Chair Dybdahl remarked that there has been talk over time about connecting Gastineau Avenue via Ewing Avenue, however, these things take time. He saw the proposal as being a perfect buffer for the residential area but thought any action now would be premature. It would be wise to wait and see what the road design will be before changing the Comp Plan map.

Mr. Bavard agreed, noting that public testimony has raised some real concerns. He added that property owners should be able to assume that they can develop their property the way it was zoned when they bought it. He supported leaving the zoning designation as is.

Commission Action:

MOTION - by Mr. Kendziorek that the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and conclusions and recommend to the Assembly to change the Comprehensive Plan map for the lower side of Gastineau Avenue from Mixed Use (MU) to Medium Density Residential (MDR), as shown on the map (Attachment A), to be consistent with the upper side of Gastineau Avenue.

Mr. Kendziorek spoke in support of the motion, saying that while he understood the concerns of some of the property owners, this is definitely a residential neighborhood that should be preserved because there aren't many in the downtown core. Even with the redesignation, development could take place on Franklin Street by applying for variances within the bounds of the zoning designation. The proposed road improvements will not change the situation much.

Mr. Bruce said he agreed with Mr. Bavard and noted that for at least 15 years the area has been zoned for use similar to what exists now. Property owners have a right to rely upon that type of zoning. He opposed the motion because a zone change is not the least restrictive way to address some of the neighborhood issues.

Mr. Pusich stated that it was premature to pave the way for a zone change because there are unresolved issues. There needs to be further work with all the groups, so he would not support the motion.

Roll Call Vote

Ayes: Kendziorek

Nays: Bruce, Pusich, Sanford, Bavard, Dybdahl

The motion failed, 1-5.

C. Consider the designation of important habitat areas within CBJ lands east of Auke Lake as Open Space.

Staff report: CDD Supervisor Tim Maguire reviewed the staff report. He stated that CBJ Lands & Resources Manager Steve Gilbertson has indicated that the draft Master Plan is due in about two weeks. Plans are to circulate the draft to agencies and other staff for comments before it is presented to the Commission.

Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission not amend the Comprehensive Plan for this property at this time, and that habitat values and Open Spaces be evaluated by the Commission with the draft Master Plan and feasibility study currently being prepared for the CBJ and University of Alaska. Also, that the Planning Commission direct staff to have the consultant address eagle trees and a potential school site in their Master Plan preparation.

Public Testimony:

Dave Hanna, 11495 Mendenhall Loop Road, asked the Commission to keep in mind that these lands are almost the last in the borough where wild game can still roam freely. Although it makes sense to develop some parcels, increasing the density would insure the maximum return on CBJ's investment in infrastructure. It is vital to preserve the Montana Creek corridor, and the CBJ could look at setting aside pieces and trading with the University to achieve this. Looking at the whole picture will result in more responsible development.

Chair Dybdahl asked if the Master Plan will be looking at the greatest flexibility possible for development. Mr. Maguire said the idea is to take the best properties and develop them, because to do that as separate ownerships will not take the best advantage of the roads and utilities.

Commission Action:

MOTION - by Mr. Kendziorek that the Planning Commission not amend the Comprehensive Plan for the CBJ lands east of Auke Lake at this time, and that habitat values and Open Spaces be evaluated by the Commission with the draft Master Plan and feasibility study currently being prepared for the CBJ and University of Alaska. Also, that the Planning Commission direct staff to have the consultant address eagle trees, a potential school site, wildlife corridors, recreational uses, viewsheds, other raptors, and a circum-lake road in their Master Plan preparation.

There being no objection, it was so ordered.

III. PLANNING COMMISSION COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS

Proposed Land Disposal of 134 Acres of Land Above the Douglas Townsite to the Alaska Mental Health Trust

Mr. Kendziorek stated that when the Planning Commission approved the land swap with the Alaska Mental Health Trust in December, he became focused on the process itself and lost sight of the land use considerations and long-term planning for which the Commission is responsible. He said he would like to bring the matter back for reconsideration and discuss it more in terms of land use and potential impacts. He indicated that he had spoken to Planning Director Cheryl Easterwood and John Hartl of the CBJ Attorney's Office about how to rescind an action.

Mr. Bavard said there was lots of opportunity for public process, and the parcel was on the CBJ's land disposal list for some time. It only drew publicity because it was a land trade with the Mental Health Trust related to the National Guard Armory relocation. There will be a public process to review any proposed development in the future. Further, the matter is still under discussion by the Douglas Advisory Board and will be brought before the Assembly in February.

Mr. Bruce agreed, saying the issue wasn't property development but merely a change in land ownership. The issues related to development will come up in due course. It has become such a hot political issue, it is time for the Assembly to hear it.

Mr. Sanford voiced his concurrence and said the permitting process will provide plenty of time to talk about everything.

Chair Dybdahl commented that any private development anywhere on Douglas Island seems to run into the same problems. The City has gone through prioritization of state projects and matching federal funds, but it never seems to work out that way. He saw it as a private property rights issue, but he doubted the Mental Health Trust would ever develop the property and instead might subdivide and sell off parcels. He said he disagreed with people who thought there wasn't enough opportunity for public input, and reiterated his position that people should pay attention to what is happening all over the borough. In closing, he commented that municipalities often own too much land, and there is not enough private land in the borough.

Mr. Kendziorek said he couldn't disagree with everyone's comments, but he thought the land swap should not be divorced from the land use question and the whole idea of whether there should be several hundred more housing units built in that part of Douglas. Waiting until there is an application for a development could result in significant takings issues.

Commission Action:

MOTION - by Mr. Kendziorek that the Planning Commission take before it at the next available opportunity a discussion of the land use implications for developing the portion of Douglas Island being considered for a land trade with the Alaska Mental Health Trust.

Roll Call Vote

Ayes: Kendziorek

Nays: Pusich, Sanford, Bavard, Bruce, Dybdahl

The motion failed, 1-5.

Mr. Sanford told staff that he liked Mr. Gillette's well-researched and readable report, "Parking For Dollars."

IV. ADJOURNMENT

MOTION - by Mr. Bavard to adjourn. There being no other business and no objection, the meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.