CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU
October 4, 2000
Vice-Chair Mike Bavard called the special meeting of the City and Borough of Juneau Planning Commission to order at 7:04 p.m., in the Egan Room of Centennial Hall.
I. ROLL CALL Commissioners present: Roger Allington, Mike Bavard, Maria Gladisziewski, Marshal Kendziorek, Merrill Sanford, Jody Vick
Commissioners absent: Dan Bruce, Johan Dybdahl, Mark Pusich
A quorum was present.
Staff present: Cheryl Easterwood, Director of Community Development; Katherine Heumann, CDD Planner; John Stone, CBJ Engineering Dept.; Alan Hesse, Airport Manager.
II. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS - None
III. REGULAR AGENDA.
USE2000-00060 A Conditional Use
permit to locate and operate a portable asphalt plant in the
lower West Mendenhall Valley near the end of Crazy Horse Drive.
Location: CURTIS AVENUE
Applicant: MONTANA CREEK DEVELOPMENT INC.
Mr. Bavard apologized for the late notice at last week's meeting of this item's rescheduling and he thanked the public for their patience.
Staff report: CDD Planner, Katharine Heumann gave a brief overview of the proposal and its history. The plant consists of a drum mixing plant, conveyers, a storage hopper, wet wash and dryers, a stockpile of the aggregate material, storage tank fuels, storage tanks and associated operational equipment. The proposed plant is scheduled to operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the paving season, which is generally from April through October. However, the plant is expected to operate on an as needed basis and is somewhat weather dependent. This plant was previously approved for a Conditional Use permit in Riverview Commercial Subdivision, a couple blocks over from the Curtis Avenue site, however, that lease has since fallen through and the applicant is before the Commission with an application for an alternate site. Ms. Heumann described the following elements that were considered during the evaluation of this application:
Project Site - The proposed site is 2 1/2 acre lot in Sherwood Estates and it is zoned industrial. There is an androgynous stream crossing over a corner of the property and therefore a 50 foot streamside setback and a 25 five foot no disturb zone are required. The applicant has also proposed additional measures to assure that the stream is not impacted. They are:
1. The site will be graded away from the stream;
2. A berm will be in place on the north side of the site;
3. The run-off will be directed along a hydroseeded drainage swale to a vegetated swale area on the south side of the lot.
Traffic - The applicant projects a low intensity operation that operates on an "as needed" basis," resulting in 10 truckloads, or 20 round trips per day. The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities reviewed the proposal and did not anticipate a significant increase in traffic to the Industrial Boulevard/Glacier Highway intersection. Of note, however, DOT/PF has been monitoring this intersection due to the cumulative high volume of traffic and an upgrade is planned that will result in signalization within the next five years.
Noise - Ms. Heumann contacted the manufacturer of the asphalt plant for information on its dBA. The manufacturer said that due to the individual nature of each and every plant, it was difficult for them to state the dBA of this unit. The only real way to measure the noise would be to start the plant up. He did however, suggest several noise mitigation measures that have been successful with other plants: a stockpile and vegetation and possibly an insulated box around the burner would be helpful. Staff was able to obtain a noise reading on the generator, which is the largest cause of noise: At 300 feet, the generator measured 58 dBAs. Ms. Heumann stated that the current code is the Title 4 Noise Standard that indicates a maximum allowable reading of 70 dBAs at the property line. For comparison, the much larger asphalt plant currently operating in Lemon Creek, measured at 300 feet, registered 68 dBA with both the burner and generator operating.
Air Quality - The applicant is required to have and has obtained a valid Air Quality permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation. John Stone, CBJ Engineering Director explained the scope of the permit and its practical effects. Previously, Mr. Stone was Chief of Air Quality Division with DEC and incidentally, he signed this asphalt plant's General Air Quality permit.
Mr. Stone explained that the asphalt plant requires a General Air Quality permit issued by DEC under the authority of the Federal Clean Air Act. The permit regulates three polluting aspects of air quality: particulate matter (which is primarily dust), visual emissions and sulfur compounds. He first described particulate matter for the Commission. The permit requires that the operator control the dust that is created from all sources during operation: the production of the asphalt itself, an incidental effect as the asphalt plant handles the aggregate, as well as truck traffic on the dirt roads. Particulate matter standards limit the total amount that is in the air at one time and, if the plant operates within compliance to the permit, it is highly unlikely that there will be concentrations of particulate matter that would adversely affect the residents in the surrounding area.
The second pollutants regulated are visual emissions, or the visibility of particulate matter in the air. The permit has specific limits regulating the emissions from the exhaust of the plant. It is an easy way for both the operator and enforcement staff to check compliance while the plant is operating.
The third pollutants regulated with the General Air Quality permit are sulfur compounds. The asphalt plant has two pieces of machinery that burns diesel fuel: a large burner that dries the aggregate and a diesel generator. As the diesel fuel is burned, the sulfur in the diesel is oxidized creating sulfur dioxide. Because sulfur dioxide is a pollutant, which adversely affects lung function, it is therefore, regulated by the EPA. The General Air Quality permit has maximum limits of sulfur dioxide and if the applicant operates within compliance, it is highly unlikely that any adverse effects for residents from sulfur dioxide emissions will result.
In recent years, The Clean Air Act has taken the direction that the operator is responsible for monitoring compliance. In the initial phases of the operation, DEC will inspect the site to insure compliance and then re-inspect once per summer to insure that the operator remains in compliance.
One thing not directly regulated by the Air Quality permit is odor. Depending upon wind direction, humidity and how vigorous the plant operating, a paving type odor might be detectable. Mr. Stone stated that the odor from this type of plant would be similar to standing 1000 feet from a road-paving job.
Run off - A stormwater drainage plan has been developed for the site following in-put from Department of Fish and Game and Department of Environmental Conservation. The plan includes a berm on the streamside of the property as well as a drainage swale directing stormwater away from the stream. Because various oils and fuels will be kept on the site, appropriate signage instructing workers on proper spill response steps are required. It is also recommended that as much vegetation is left on the site and that the applicant support hydroseeding steps.
Airport safety - Both the FAA and the Juneau Airport Manager reviewed the plan for airport and runway safety and have both determined that the plant will not have a significant impact on their operations
Property value and neighborhood harmony - Although this site is not directly adjacent to a residential zoning district, residences are located in the vicinity. The distance from the property line of the site to the property line of the nearest residence is approximately 500 feet. Ms. Heumann said that CDD has heard from a number of neighbors indicating that they consider the asphalt plant to be out of harmony with their properties. Considering that residentially zoned districts were created to protect a healthy, safe and pleasant environment for residential living and to protect them from inharmonious uses of the area, CDD gives considerable deference to the nearby neighbors and to their opinions. The applicant is aware of the possible inharmonious aspects of his plant and has voluntarily agreed to noise mitigation measures and to reduce the operating hours to what is shorter than average. To give the Planning Commission a frame of reference, Ms. Heumann displayed a chart of other asphalt plants that have been approved for Conditional Use permits. The chart detailed the distances from the asphalt sites to the closest neighboring property lines:
1. The location that was approved by the Planning Commission for this asphalt plant in July:
The distance from the plant to Meadow Lane residences: 600 feet.
2. This proposal:
The distances from the plant to the closest residential property line: 500 feet.
3. The Lemon Creek plant (that is currently making the asphalt for the Egan Drive project):
The distance from the plant to the Lemon Manor: 300 feet.
4. On Anka Street, the Commission approved an asphalt plant for Secon (but the plant never operated):
The distance from the plant across Lemon Creek to the nearest residential property line: 200 feet.
This is a classic industrial use that is appropriate in an industrial zone, however, the proximity of the plant to residential areas raise concerns as to the harmonious placement of this plant. During the application review, CDD received extensive input by the public with intense concerns over noise, visual and odor emissions. While a good deal of information was gathered, it is impossible to gage the actual impact of the asphalt plant until the plant was up and operating. Ms. Heumann concluded that staff did not have enough information to say that the operation would be harmonious with the surrounding area. Ms. Heumann added that there are also concerns about the lack of available land for this type of use in the CBJ and that most industrial lands are in similar proximity to residential areas. Notwithstanding, staff recommends denial of this application because there is a lack of information to meet the requirements of Finding No. 5.
Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopts the directors analysis and findings and denies the requested Conditional Use permit. If the Planning Commission finds that approval can be made, staff recommends the following conditions be a part of the permit:
1. The permit shall be valid for two years.
2. A permanent noise mitigation berm shall be installed at least as high as noise producing components and high enough to break line of sight to adjacent residents.
3. Months of operation will be from April through October and hours of operation will be limited to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
4. The applicant shall place signage on-site informing the operators of the procedures in case of a fuel spill. The signage is to be approved by the Community Development Department prior to operation.
5. The applicant shall obtain an inspection from the CBJ Fire Marshall to insure all equipment will meet the requirements of the 1997 Uniform Fire Code, prior to operation.
6. A berm shall be installed along the east side (as shown on the site plan) of the property to insure run-off will be directed away from the sight. As well, the site will be graded and a drainage swale designed to direct run-off to the west side of the site. This drainage swale will be hydroseeded.
7. The asphalt plant shall be developed and operated in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local environmental, health and safety standards including spill prevention, notification and clean-up.
8. The applicant shall operate the asphalt plant in conformance with all provisions of Chapter 50 of Title 4, CBJ Administrative Code. Brief or intermittent noise levels shall be maintained at or below those required in this title. Continuous noise levels shall not exceed 55 dBA at the receiving residential property line.
9. Existing vegetation shall remain on the site.
10. The asphalt plant shall not operate during Air Alert days as declared by CBJ City Manager.
Mr. Allington asked staff to put 55 dBA into perspective. Ms. Easterwood explained that many local ordinances use the figure of 55 dBA as the maximum noise level allowed in rural residential settings. Ms. Easterwood referred to a chart used by EPA, which values 55 dBA as suburban; 50 is a wooded residential area in San Diego; 60 is a old residential area in Los Angeles. These noise valuations were from recordings made in the mid-70's.
Mr. Kendziorek asked Ms. Heumann for her opinion regarding her subjective perception of the Lemon Creek asphalt plant's noise. Ms. Heumann stated that standing 10 feet from the plant, she was unable to hold a conversation. As she moved away to 300 feet, she was able to hold a normal conversation while hearing a dull noise in the background.
Ms. Gladisziewski asked Ms. Heumann what her perceptions of the noise levels from Lemon Manor were. Ms. Heumann reported that she had asked several residents from Lemon Manor if they were aware of the Secon plant. Both individuals reported that they could not determine when the plant was operating or not, just that they hear a lot of noise coming from the yard. Neither could identify the asphalt plant noises from the other noises that occurred at the site.
Mr. Kendziorek asked Mr. Stone what type of steam cloud would an asphalt plant create when the conditions were at their potential worst. Mr. Stone described the steam emissions that are currently visible in the Lemon Creek Valley at Channel Landfill. The asphalt plant's emissions could be similar.
Ms. Gladisziewski asked Mr. Stone about compounds such as benzene and others mentioned in the report. Mr. Stone indicated that those emissions are not regulated by the EPA or by DEC for these types of facilities and are therefore, not apart of the Air Quality permit. Mr. Stone described a study commissioned by the EPA on longtime asphalt production workers and their health. Based on reviewing that study, DEC concluded that regulating adverse health effects of benzene would be low priority.
Mr. Vick added that OSHA regulates the types of emissions that Ms. Gladisziewski inquired about.
Mr. Kendziorek asked Mr. Stone to comment on what types of release agents the trucks were sprayed with to keep the asphalt from sticking. Mr. Kendziorek was concerned that the agents were themselves hydrocarbons and would be washed off the trucks spread into the environment. Mr. Stone could not speak to the release agents that the applicant would use.
Mr. Sanford asked staff how the noise level would be monitored. Katharine Heumann stated that the applicant would be charged with the responsibility of self-monitoring following an initial inspection at start-up by CDD. If complaints were received, CDD would measure the noise outputs and then work out further noise mitigation solutions with the operator.
Mr. Allington asked staff that if 65 dBAs were measured at the property line, is it known how much the noise would decrease over the next 500 feet of distance to the property line of the closest neighbor? Ms. Easterwood said that the answer could be estimated using the formula that noise decreases by six dBAs for each doubling of the distance. For example, if it is known what the noise measurement is at 50 feet, subtract 6 dBAs to get an approximation at 100 feet. Mr. Allington was also concerned about the enforcement status.
Mr. Stone explained how DEC handled enforcement when he headed up the Air Quality section for the department. DEC checks on the plant shortly after operations begin. If the operator did a good job at compliance, then DEC would not put its resources into rechecking for several years. If complaints were being lodged, however, DEC would be at the site quite a bit to ensure compliance. Mr. Stone was not aware of any regulations that precluded a local government from enforcing DEC and EPA regulations.
Ms. Heumann said she asked CBJ's enforcement officer and he verified that there have been no complaints lodged against Secon's plant in Lemon Creek. She added that if DEC had received complaints, as a matter of course they would not notify the CBJ. However, communications between CDD and DEC were free flowing and she thought that information would likely be passed through those channels.
Mr. Allington asked if staff knew why the original lease had failed. Ms. Heumann did not know.
Mark Kelley; 437 Park Street, spoke in opposition of the Conditional Use permit because the steam emissions are out of harmony with all the uses of the area: recreational, residential or industrial. Mr. Kelley is a photographer who earns a portion of his income photographing this area and he feels that the Mendenhall Valley has been blessed without having industrial emissions. Already, there are many days in the Lemon Creek and downtown where industrial emissions make it unsuitable for photography.
Dan Hanes, Switzer Creek, but he spends his time as a caregiver for his mother at 1190 Mendenhall Peninsula Road. Mr. Hanes is against the proposal because with the plant down on the flats, there will be lots of pollution in the grass. Materials that are going to be stored will also pollute. Who will be charged with enforcement? Mr. Hanes was concerned that the smoky situation going on in the Lemon Creek Valley will be replicated on the flats.
Mimi Johnson, 4100 Spring Way, testified on behalf of Montana Creek Development. First, Ms. Johnson answered an early question regarding the release agents. She explained that they would be biodegradable in nature. The current location for the proposed plant is only four blocks away from the site that was approved at the July 19, 2000 Planning Commission meeting. It is in the same Industrial area, she emphasized. As well, the belching smoke emissions that have concerned residents are not actually smoke, but steam. Ms. Johnson states that according to DEC, once the flume of steam reaches 300 feet it generally dissipates. As a result, it is projected to have little impact on the surrounding area. Ms. Johnson addressed the concerns surrounding the Casa del Sol stream that flows on the subject property. Ms. Johnson added that the run-off would be channeled through an oil-water separator for further protections. She stated that the measures required by CDD are more than adequate protections for the maintenance of the androgynous steam. She understands that the noise was instrumental in the denial. Ms. Johnson explained the efforts that Montana Creek Development has taken to insure that the noise potential will be mitigated. She emphasized that it was important for their operation to comply with CBJ requirements or they would not be permitted to operate. Ms. Johnson asks that the Planning Commission approve an industrial project in this location, which has been zoned, "Industrial" since 1969.
Mr. Sanford asked what plan of attack Montana Creek Development had for the noise problem. Ms. Johnson reiterated the mitigation steps itemized in the Conditions. She also discussed that the enclosure for the burner be insulated with plywood with a soundboard or something similar. It will be difficult to know what noise will be until the plant is operational. The generator can also be enclosed in a similar type structure to facilitation noise mitigation.
Jim Sidney, 10400 Glacier Highway, is the property owner of acreage surrounding the proposed plant as well as owner an eighth of the property that the plot is located on. He feels that the asphalt plant will be a very good neighbor and that Juneau needs the competition that it would bring. As it is now, Juneau is forced to rely on a Washington firm for asphalt supplies. He has always understood that the property was industrial. Mr. Sidney believes that residential property owners in the vicinity were also aware of the potential of industrial development occurring in the area. He believed that the fact that this plant was portable made it even less onerous than its critics make it out to be. Mr. Sidney is also frustrated with the lack of available property in Juneau for this type of activity. If the intent was for this area to be rural then the zoning should be changed to reflect that.
Mark Rorick, 1055 Mendenhall Peninsula Road, is also a member of the Mendenhall Refuge Advisory Group, but he is speaking for himself. He believes that the plume of steam and odors make this project inharmonious for this area. He is sympathetic to the property owners and urges the Planning Commission to consider that. He questions whether the end of Crazy Horse Drive should continue as an industrially zoned area for the protection of the Mendenhall Game Refuge.
Tom File, 9167 Parkwood Drive, is part owner of the portion of land that is utilized as the Mendenhall Golf Course. He states that he has personally paid property taxes on that property for 35 years and has asked very little of the City in terms of services. Mr. File has a number of concerns about the proposed plant and hopes that the permit will be denied. The plant is out of harmony with the current use of the area a number of years ago, when Mr. File investigated potential uses of his land, he found that he was limited in his choices due to the area's designation as a wetland. Thus, he developed the golf course and feels that he set the tone for future development of low impact business. Mr. File believes the golf course would loose revenue as a result of the smoke plume and smell emitting from the plant. Because his business is within 400 feet of the plant the aesthetics of the golf course would suffer and it would no longer be a pleasant walk in the park. He was disappointed that no protections for the golfers were mentioned by the CBJ. There were unanswered questions about the potential health hazards and his property would loose its value.
Mr. Allington asked Mr. File what zoning his property was designated. Mr. File stated that it was zoned industrial, but that he had set the tone for future development by putting in the golf course.
Mr. Sanford commented that he was in the parking lot of the golf course recently and he was hardly able to see the plant. Mr. Sanford asked if the plant were visible from the actual course. Mr. File stated that you could see the silo somewhat. However, his concerns focused on noise and odor emissions rather than viewing physical buildings.
John Cooper, of Cooper Consulting Engineers appeared representing the interests of Ms. Virginia Robertson, the closest neighbor to the asphalt plant. It is an undeveloped lot with access from Mendenhall Peninsula Road. The property is currently for sale and is zoned residential. She believes that the existence of an asphalt plant near her property will adversely affect its value. Mr. Cooper raised three factors for the Planning Commission to consider: that the prevailing winds are generally easterly; Ms. Robertson's property and that of her neighbor's have views to the south east over Gastineau Channel; that the Mendenhall Peninsula creates and updraft condition that causes fog. This occurs when the winds are low, the temperature is close to the dew point and any atmospheric conditions for dispersion are minimized. Mr. Cooper asked that four additional conditions be imposed:
1. The roads leading to the plant are to be paved before operations can begin. This is to limit dust.
2. The plant should be enclosed into a sight screening at least 10 feet in height on the west side and for the first 25 feet on the south side. This would to protect Ms. Robertson's property from viewing the plant.
3. Aggregate storage is in three sided bins that are equipped with dust suppression and limited to in size to not more than two days of operation.
4. The asphalt plant shall not operate any time that the Juneau Airport is below minimum standards for flight, as demonstrated by the rotating beacon atop the air traffic control tower.
Mr. Allington asked what the height of a modern asphalt plant is plume height. Mr. Cooper reports on observations from Secon's plant, which was visible 30 feet above the stack. He indicated that Secon's steam plume should be larger than the proposed plant due to the size.
Cindy Field, 2345 Engineers Cutoff, is a homeowner close to the proposed plant site. She described the hurdles that the Army Corps of Engineers put up for them as they endeavored to design a home that would be acceptable. She is very concerned about the vagueness of the application. She is concerned by the noise and steam plume emissions in her back yard. She acknowledged that the while the site is zoned industrial, photographs will show that the proposed site is actually an island of fill in the middle of a field far away from the hub of industrial activity.
Angela Hull, 2358 Engineers Cutoff, has submitted several letters to the Planning Commission that address the plume, visibility, contaminants in the air, spillage of contaminants into the ground. The hours and months of operation are unacceptable to her family. The wind direction will blow the smoke and odor from the plant to her house everyday. As well, the site of the proposed plant is in a sound bowl. She is able to hear the Sidney's parties, the back-up beacons on equipment emanating from the vicinity of the plant. Sounds travel and it is important that Ms. Hull not have to endure the noises of an asphalt plant. She is highly skeptical that despite the best intentions on the part of CBJ staff, the Conditions would be unenforceable due to the lack of resources.
Elizabeth File, 9167 Parkwood Drive, is co-owner of the Mendenhall Golf Course. Ms. File stated that Engineer's Cutoff has been a residential area for 45 years. She contends that the residences did not move in on the industrially zoned area, but that it was the opposite. In 1969 the property became industrial. When Mr. File retired, they needed to find a use for the property to earn income from it so they could pay the taxes. The Army Corps of Engineers evaluated the land and determined that there were wetlands and uplands, so they came up with the suitable use of a golf course 15 years ago. Even with their gentle use of the property, their operations are heavily restricted. They are not allowed to use chemicals, pesticides or weed killers and all the dandelion weeding is done by hand. As they are required to treat their property so gingerly, Ms. File asks how then can an asphalt plant be allowed adjacent to their golf course? The property is used and enjoyed by 60 to 100 people a day six days a week for seven months out of the year. It is the frequent subject of artists ranging from photographers and painters. Ms. File is also appalled that the operator would be allowed to police himself. She reports Ketchikan was pleased to be rid of the plant and she heard that it was out of compliance constantly as it is old and out of date.
Cliff Reeves, 1260 Mendenhall Peninsula Road, finds the issue upsetting. He spent 25 years living in Lemon Creek breathing the pollution that exists there. He suggests giving the operator a six-month trial and then re-hears the issue to see how many more people come to complain. He suggests that a very high bond be imposed upon the operator for security.
Tom Hanna, 2470 Engineers Cutoff. He reports that he moved into his home on Engineers Cutoff in 1971 and at that time it was 15 years old. The Engineers Cutoff area is in fact an old time residential neighborhood in a rural setting. The asphalt plant will affect the livability for the houses on that road. The noise levels concerned Mr. Hanna. Referring to a dBA chart that 60 dBAs interfere with speech; at 70dBA is akin to a freight train passing by ten feet away. Mr. Hanna predicts that the Field's home will hear 62 dBAs. What they will notice more than anything will be the contrast of the asphalt noise with the quietness of a completely rural setting. Mr. Hanna reports that from his house, they were able to hear all of the loudspeaker and cheering sounds from a rodeo held at the Fairweather Stables. He put up with it and thought that it was actually quaint. He did not believe that the asphalt plant sounds would be quaint. He believed that the location was incompatible and no mitigation measure could make it compatible. For example, the ten-foot berm would be helpful for Ms. Robertson's property, but it would do nothing for the homes that sat at a higher elevation.
Mr. Hanna did some checking on what the plume would look like. He learned from DEC personnel in Ketchikan and in Juneau that this plant has been out of compliance. He distributed copies of DEC's report indicating that on June 8th the plant was observed 70% of the regulation 20%, for six minutes. He understood that it went on for a great deal longer. Mr. Hanna indicates that he used to do a lot of compliance work with asphalt plants. His experience was that when they went out to the site to confront the operator, the attitude was, "yea, but we have to finish operating until the end of the day." Today the financial realities of enforcement are grim. DEC's field enforcement personnel are out of Fairbanks and the Ketchikan personnel have been directed not to enforce. The burden would fall to the CBJ, but he doubted that local authorities would put a high priority on that. If they aren't doing enforcing for tour ships, Mr. Hanna doubts that they would be doing it for asphalt plants.
Mr. Hanna reported on the source test results and described what he learned. The stack is five foot in diameter and the plume itself is not hot. It registers at only 120 degrees. Because it is a cold plume, its velocity is very slow, about 14 feet per second. On cold days, the plume will rise and level out. On rainy days, the plume will linger on for a long time. Because of the prevailing south easterlies, the wind will push the emissions right into the ridgeline of Mendenhall Peninsula. As a compromise, Mr. Hanna believed that area near Auke Rec road bypass would be an excellent alternative site.
Mr. Allington asked what Mr. Hanna's professional background was. Mr. Hanna stated that he is an environmental consultant who came to Alaska in 1971 to head up the state's air pollution control program. He did that work for ten years before he got burnt out.
Darrin Fagerstrom, 1105 Mendenhall Peninsula Road, inquired of anyone with expertise in this area if it were known if extra particulate matter could help fog to form? If so, he was concerned about impact on Runway 8. He didn't believe that this issue had been raised. He was concerned by the noise issue but thought that it was getting adequate attention.
Jesse Hay, 17230 Andreanoff Drive, observed that similar arguments have occurred over the years. He complained that any time someone tried to do anything industrial Juneau it attracts the ire of residential neighborhoods. When will people be held accountable for their actions? People should know what they are getting into when they move in. In this situation, Montana Creek Development wants to work with the surrounding areas. He thinks that the permit should be approved because there is a need for competition. What will the City do to protect industrial areas? He was interested in what ideas were floating around.
Will Landis, 5253 North Douglas Highway, is an employee of the golf course and he personally weeds the fields by hand. He cannot imagine an asphalt plant going into the area. The location of the proposed site is the most beautiful site imaginable and he cannot tolerate the scenic picture being blown.
Laurie Ferguson Craig, PO Box 33306, Juneau, is concerned that the project's impact will far exceed its boundary. She believes that the industrial park is good for small business. Ms. Craig reported she walks on the Wetlands every morning and has the opportunity to view the plumes emitting from the Lemon Creek Valley on a daily basis. The really charge up in the morning into thick streams that form fingers and drift over to Douglas where they remain for a long time. She did not want to see that occurrence introduced to the scenic portion of the Mendenhall Valley. As well, the drainage of the Mendenhall River is notable for being an area where fog forms very easily. Ms. Craig believed that the additional particulate matter would be a fog generator in that the material would give the moisture something to condense around. Ms. Craig was also concerned by the amount of petroleum products being stored so close to the Mendenhall Wetlands.
Ms. Craig also had some questions regarding the enforcement of the applicant's sand and gravel plant. Ms. Craig understood that several conditions of the Conditional Use permit have not been implemented. First, there was to be a truck wash installed as part of the permit. It was not done and the Conditional Use permit has even been renewed. Secondly, there was to be a bike path/foot path installed so that conflicts in traffic would be avoided. Ms. Craig reports that that too, has not been done because the applicant determined that it was too expensive. She heard this information from one of the neighbors and she is interested in knowing if it were true. If so, she did not have confidence that the Conditions proposed would be adequate to protect people from the concerns expressed.
Nels Dihle, 2454 Engineers Cutoff, is a resident of the area since 1978. He has tried to be open to the project but he believes that there are so many unknowns to this project and he is opposed to it. He recapped all of the issues that were outlined in testimony and he said that they too, concerned him: Mr. Dihle attested to the fact that noise carries at a surprising rate across the Wetlands. The height of the plume and its odor when combined with prevailing winds were legitimate concerns for the neighborhood. Other concerns were the traffic levels, enforcement, property values, and the impacts on the fish and wildlife. Mr. Dihle said that while much of the discussion is subjective, he did feel that all the unanswered questions lead him to conclude that the project is out of harmony with the neighborhood. He urged the Planning Commission to not allow the permit.
Jeremy Sidney, Lot 5, Block H of Sherman Estates in a large green Quonset hut. Mr. Sidney raised the Fire Safety Training Center and the fact that it is not noticeable to the neighbors of Engineer's Cutoff regardless of its thick black plume of smoke. He didn't think that the asphalt plant plume would be a factor for residents or the airplanes. He understands their concerns but states that he lives closest to the asphalt plant and he is not concerned. He didn't think that the odor would be anything near as bad as the spawned out salmon coming from Casa del Sol Creek. He thought that if the applicant were required to asphalt Curtis Road, the cost would exceed $100,000 and is therefore, not feasible. Mr. Sidney also thought that the impact of the asphalt plant would be minor and could be managed. He was willing to give it a chance and was willing to live next door to it.
Dave Hanna, 11493 Mendenhall Loop Road, is a road-building contractor who is also an active volunteer involved with streamside restoration work. Mr. Hanna has a good grasp of both sides of the issues and he feels that they can all be resolved. He didn't believe that there were actually many unknowns. First of all, Mr. Hanna said he was aware of some details of the plant's history in Ketchikan. He thought that when the plant was out of compliance, the situation was resolved by installing a new fan. Enough upgrades have been done to the plant so that compliance to air quality requirements should not be a problem.
Other factors to reconsider are the weather factors known about Juneau. When it rains, the wind is blowing southeast. Generally when it rains, paving is put on hold. So the paving waits for the good weather days. In Juneau during good weather, the wind generally blows from the north. Under this analysis, the wind should take the plume, if it exists, away from the neighborhood. People are also worried that the plume will be generated 12 hours a day. Mr. Hanna explained the realities of the road construction business: that all of the paving projects in Juneau amounts to only so big a piece of pie to be divided. No matter how competitive Montana Creek Development is, they will only get a so much of that pie. Mr. Hanna projected that an optimistic guess would be Montana Creek netting about ten thousand tons of paving or about three weeks work. Mr. Hanna also discussed the issue of dust, which he thought could be easily mitigated. Rather than requiring the applicant to pave the access road, a water truck on the road during the dry days of operation would be adequate. Mr. Hanna stated that noise concerns are offset by testimony that the equipment is within acceptable standards. Regarding the incompatibility of the neighborhood, Mr. Hanna reminded the Planning Commission that the location for this proposed plant is zoned industrial. To illustrate that, he recapped the types of uses going on in the neighborhood: there is a modular factory, a heavy equipment repair yard, industrial material storage yards, an auto wrecking yard, a sawmill and pre-fab home facility. It is an industrial neighborhood and the asphalt plant is a compatible used.
One aspect that has not been fully addressed is the fact that Juneau needs competition. The development community is in a tough spot in that the price of asphalt is double what it should be. Mr. Hanna recently was a contractor on a project that required a parking lot be paved. He paid $125 per ton for the job. However, when a large job comes in, such as the airport runway or Egan Drive and the contractor brings in alternative asphalt production equipment, the cost of paving mysteriously comes down to $50 per ton or less. Mr. Hanna feels that the community is being held hostage to the sole provider. That company involved in this is no longer a local company, and it reports to a board of directors in France.
Mr. Hanna also speculated on the demise of the prior lease. Without knowing all of the details, he did know that the owner of the property that revoked the opportunity from Bicknell is actually a subcontractor to the competition. Mr. Hanna implored the Planning Commission to find a solution. He suggested that the applicant be given a trial period followed by a review process because t the plant can be made to work and the community needs it.
Sandy Bicknell, 1790 Fritz Cove Road, is the applicant. Mr. Bicknell thanked CDD staff and notably, Cheryl Easterwood for her help on this project and on others that have come before the Planning Commission. Mr. Bicknell said he was available to answer any questions that Commissioners might have.
Ms. Gladisziewski asked Mr. Bicknell to explain what an asphalt plant is. Mr. Bicknell said that the process begins with an aggregate material including D1, crushed rock all the way down to sand. The aggregate is placed into a hopper, which is fed onto a belt that goes into a drum dryer. A large fan then goes into the drum dryer that .tape change ..then it rotates oil is added to the hot aggregate. When the fan and the burner blow through the drum dryer, the particulate matter gets swirled around and sets up vapor inside and cools down the stack temperature. The asphalt is then fed down through a little deal, then it is fed onto a conveyor and the hot asphalt goes up to a tower. Then the trucks back underneath and wait for the asphalt to be loaded. The hot asphalt is encased in a silo, so it doesn't emit a lot of fumes. The steam originates from the aggregate material, which has moisture as well as the wet wash that scrubs the air that goes through the drum dryer. The steam is water that is recycled from a wet wash system rather than a residue from a burn. Mr. Bicknell also stated that there is an oil water separator on the back end of the wet wash system so that any oil is mopped up with pads. Mr. Bicknell stated that a misconception is that asphalt doesn't move. In fact some watersheds are paved. The only danger to the environment of contaminants would perhaps be the diesel that is stored on site.
Ms. Gladisziewski asked if there had been modifications to the plant to make it more in compliance, if it were out of compliance in Ketchikan. Mr. Bicknell stated that the General Manager of Southcoast, the plant was never really out of compliance, although it had a couple of rough days. It is true that the plant has a brand new burner and fan on it. Mr. Bicknell added that his operation was under the scrutiny of the CBJ to make the plant in compliance. If it is out of compliant then they don't operate. He also thought that the CBJ has a better than average policing system. They dont' have to be on site, like an inspector, they just have to make a call. The CJB is serious about enforcement, he has learned after receiving calls on other projects.
Mr. Allington asked if the fan were a part of controls required in order to meet the standards of The Clean Air Act? Mr. Bicknell did not know if the fan had simply worn out or if the replacement were done for compliance with the Clean Air Act. Mr. Allington clarified that the applicant had to comply with Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act standards, and that the water leaving the site had to be clean also. Mr. Bicknell explained that the system recycled water, so there would be no wastewater. Mr. Allington asked what types of measures would be taken for stormwater run-off in the event of tainted with diesel spillage. Mr. Bicknell said that building an oil water separator was a measure he had suggested, but it wasn't required.
Mr. Kendziorek asked about the release agents for the trucks. Mr. Bicknell said that his operation would be utilizing a non-toxic, biodegradable substance.
Mr. Sanford asked how much more work is planned for the remainder of the season. Mr. Bicknell said they had about 2000 tons of work, which equates to approximately five days of operation at 15 tons per dump truck.
Mr. Bavard asked about oil storage on the site. Mr. Bicknell has a portable, double-walled highway trailer that contains 4,000 gallons. The other oil would be about five to ten gallons of hydraulic oil for servicing the equipment.
Mr. Allington asked what the liquid asphalt would be stored in. Mr. Bicknell said they have 18 ton containers will be used.
Mr. Vick asked how long it takes to get the plant up to speed when an asphalt job is scheduled. Mr. Bicknell stated that it is a matter of hours. Mr. Vick asked why, if the start-up is so quick, couldn't the plant participate in a noise testing. Mr. Bicknell said that the plant is not in tact. To do testing, a little bit of lead-time is required.
Mr. Sanford suggested that since there is so little left of the season, it would be a good opportunity to engage in testing. Mr. Bicknell said he was willing to comply with the wishes of the Planning Commission, but that he was confident was a low impact operation.
Public testimony was closed.
Mr. Vick asked how long is the existing asphalt permit good for. Ms. Heumann explained that it was good for 15 years.
Mr. Bavard asked if the plume would create fog. Mr. Stone did not believe that the steam from the plant would impact the airport and then he deferred to Alan Stone, Airport Manager. Mr. Stone said he reviewed the project but he could not foresee any problems
Mr. Kendziorek asked how it could not have an effect on airport operations. Mr. Hesse said steam should be there, but it figuring other atmospheric conditions, steam rising from a small asphalt plant would not be significant for the airport. Mr. Kendziorek asked if it would be advisable for a Condition to be added allowing the Airport Manager or tower personnel call in requesting the plant shut down? Mr. Hess thought that it would be a good idea.
Ms. Gladisziewski asked staff to point out on the plat where the proposed plant site is located as well as where were other industrial areas in Juneau? After identifying the location on the map, Ms. Heumann stated the lemon Creek area, Anka Street, near Costco, waterfront industrial along the channel, and on the Rock Dump. Ms. Easterwood stated that five months ago, staff did an exhaustive study on the available industrial lands in Juneau. The study revealed about 465 acres of vacant industrially zoned lands, half of which were wetlands, however. That left about 250 acres of developable, industrially zoned lands. Of note, of all the industrially zoned lands that are in use, only five percent is currently being used for industrial uses. The rest would be considered commercial use such as storage facilities.
Mr. Bavard asked staff if there was any need for bonding. Ms. Heumann said there was nothing to indicate the CBJ should require a bond.
Ms. Gladisziewski asked if there is only 250 acres of zoned industrial what steps are being taken to increase the stores. Ms. Easterwood stated that staff believed it was adequate until the next Comprehensive Plan update. There are indications of where the CBJ should be looking for additional industrial land, but nothing is being considered now.
Motion: by Mr. Kendziorek to adopt Conditional Use 2000-00060 with the following Conditions:
Condition Nos. 2 through 10 as outlined in the staff report
Condition No. 1 be revised, that the permit be valid through 2000
In addition, the following conditions will be included:
The operation shall not be allowed to operate if requested to stop by Airport Manager or tower personnel
No left turns during rush hours of 7:30 to 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. and
That the generator and the burner be placed inside a sound insulating structure.
Mr. Vick suggested that the end of December were too short. He didn't feel that the October, November and December were the standard running months for a facility such as this. Mr. Kendziorek offered that time limit based on Mr. Bicknell's testimony about the amount of work he had for the remainder of the year as well, the golf course is shut down for the year. It would also give the homeowners a chance to see if there were problems. Mr. Vick suggested that the golfers be included in the experiment and he wanted the plant to be given a chance to operate under regular circumstances.
Mr. Allington agreed with Mr. Vick. He asked if a permit could be given for one year with an option to renew. Ms. Easterwood said that the process is that the permit would not be automatically renewed without a new application. The permit would expire then the applicant would re-apply.
Ms. Gladisziewski also agreed with Mr. Vick and suggested that the application be approved through April. Mr. Vick countered with April to May. Mr. Allington suggested that the permit valid through May 30. Mr. Kendziorek suggested that perhaps they should be approved for "15 days of operation" rather than just giving them a permit through May 30th.
Mr. Bavard clarified that there is a motion before the Planning Commission and he asked for an amendment.
Motion: by Mr. Vick to amend the motion and change the expiration date for the Conditional Use permit to July 1, 2001.
Mr. Allington asked if the applicant could re-apply prior to the expiration so that his business is not interrupted? Ms. Easterwood said that he could re-apply at any time.
Mr. Kendziorek did not support the July date stating that he would accept June 1. Mr. Vick stated that due to the precarious weather conditions in Juneau, July 1 was a reasonable date for the permit to expire. Mr. Kendziorek accepted this as a friendly amendment.
Revised motion: by Mr. Kendziorek that the Planning Commission adopts Conditional Use 2000-00060 with the following Conditions:
Mr. Kendziorek then spoke against the motion because it was ultimately not a harmonious use of the land. Industrial use does not mean, "anything goes." He thought other locations would be better. He thinks its a good idea in a bad location.
Mr. Allington thinks that most people are confusing the incinerator plume in Lemon Creek for the asphalt plume. He wasn't that concerned about the golf course, citing other examples where golf courses have existed in other industrial settings and have thrived. He is concerned by the lack of industrial land and he would be supporting the motion.
Mr. Vick supported the motion. He is very concerned about neighborhood harmony yet he wants to give the plant a chance to prove itself. When the permit expires and the neighborhood reports that the plant was a problem, then he would be against a new application 100%.
Mr. Sanford also spoke in favor of the motion because July 1st gives the public time to evaluate the situation without being a permanent fixture.
Mr. Bavard said that he would like to see biodegradable release agents for the trucks and an oil water separator for the fuel area also be added to the Conditions. Mr. Bavard noted that the staff report indicated that this an asphalt plant belongs in an industrially zoned area, yet other comments that were made in testimony seem to say that there is not a good place for an asphalt plant. He agreed with Mr. Allington and asked, "So where do your put an asphalt plant?" The applicant has to live up to a number of conditions and requirements of permits or hes not able to work. His primary concern was airport safety and he was satisfied on that issue. He believed that the July 1st expiration date on the permit would be a good opportunity for all parties to evaluate the project.
Motion: by Mr. Sanford amending the Motion and adding the use of biodegradable release agents for the trucks and that an oil water separator be added.
Mr. Kendziorek accepted these as friendly amendments.
Ms. Gladzisziewski indicated that she did not support the motion with the July 1st date. Often times in Juneau, June is the only good weather and she didnt want to see the residents of Engineers Cutoff be impacted negatively on those days if the worst fears surrounding the plant were true.
Mr. Allington responded by stating that the best time for dry weather would be mid-May to mid-June. If the intent was to allow the plant to operate so that all parties could see if it works, then the plant must be afforded the best potential dry weather.
Motion by Mr. Allington to amend the termination date to June 15th.
Mr. Kendziorek accepted that as a friendly amendment and then reiterated that the proposal was a good idea in a bad location. If it were moved back into the industrial area four blocks, he would support it.
Ms. Easterwood indicated that Conditions No. 2 and No. 6 are both lacking a timeframe and the Planning Commission to amend them to specify when they would like those to happen.
Motion: by Mr. Allington amending Conditions No. 2 and No. 6 to add the words, "prior to operation."
Mr. Kendziorek accepted the amendment as friendly amendments to the motion.
Revised motion: by Mr. Kendziorek that the Planning Commission adopts Conditional Use 2000-00060 with the following Conditions:
ROLL CALL VOTE:
Yeas: Allington, Bavard, Sanford, Vick
Nays: Gladisziewski, Kendziorek
Failing to receive the necessary five votes, the motion fails, 4 - 2.
Notice of Reconsideration: of USE2000-00060 by Mr. Vick
Ms. Easterwood explained the procedures involved with the Motion for Reconsideration. The item will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting. At that meeting, if a Commissioner wishes to bring the issue up, the action will be reconsidered. The item is taken back to the point at which the Motion was made. There is no additional public testimony unless the Commission votes. The absent Commissioners, having benefit of tapes and minutes may vote.
Mr. Bavard explained to the applicant that notice of reconsideration does not guarantee that USE2000-00060 will be reconsidered on October 10, and the Commission would go back to where the Motion was made and that the Commission will vote to reconsider their vote.
Mr. Vick asked what happens to the permit that Mr. Bicknell received for the property that he later lost the lease for. Mr. Vick believed that the permit should go with the applicant. Mr. Kendziorek stated that the property owner needed to put in the exact same plant. Ms. Easterwood said she would get a definitive answer from the City attorney on this particular issue.
Mr. Bavard asked staff for to check into Ms. Craigs statements about Bicknells compliance to the Conditions on a previous permit.
Motion by Mr. Vick to adjourn, hearing no objection, it was so ordered.
The meeting adjourned at 10:15 p.m.