MINUTES
PLANNING COMMISSION
CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU
REGULAR MEETING
October 24, 2000

Chair Johan Dybdahl called the regular meeting of the City and Borough of Juneau PlanningCommission to order at 7:00 p.m., in the Assembly Chambers of City Hall.

I. ROLL CALL

Commissioners present: Roger Allington, Mike Bavard, Dan Bruce, Johan Dybdahl, Maria Gladziszewski, Marshal Kendziorek Mark Pusich, Merrill Sanford, Jody Vick

Commissioners absent: None

A quorum was present.

Staff present: Cheryl Easterwood, Director of Community Development; Tim Maguire, CDD Principal Planner; Sylvia Kreel, CDD Planner; Bob Millard, CBJ Engineering; Alan Hesse, CBJ Airport Manager

II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

October 10, 2000 - Regular Meeting

Motion by Mr. Bavard to approve the minutes of the regular meeting with corrections. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.

III. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS - None

IV. POSSIBLE RECONSIDERATION OF THE FOLLOWING ITEM - None

V. CONSENT AGENDA

Mr. Dybdahl announced that there was one item on the Consent Agenda and he inquired if there was any public comment. No one from the public wished to comment, and there were no questions from the commissioners.

MOTION - by Mr. Pusich to approve the Consent Agenda that included 2000-00065 (as listed below). There being no objection, it was so ordered.

USE2000-00065

A Conditional Use permit for a 17,600 square foot mixed-use building with retail, office, industrial, and residential uses.

Location: 1900 CREST AVE

Applicant: KELLY STEPHENS

Staff recommendation: that the Planning Commission adopt the director’s analysis and findings and grant the requested Conditional Use permit. The permit would allow the development of a 17,600 square foot mixed use building with retail, office, industrial, and residential uses. The approval is subject to the following conditions:

  1. Prior to occupancy of the building, the applicant shall record, on the subject and adjacent property plats, easements for the loading zone and the emergency access turn around unless other provisions for emergency access are provided.
  2. Prior to issuance of a building permit, the applicant shall submit a site plan, which shows the parking spaces accurately, scaled to the required size.
  3. Prior to installation of exterior lighting on the building, the applicant shall submit to CDD luminaire specifications, which show that glare will not be caused to adjacent properties or roadways.

VI. CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS - None

VII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS - None

VIII. REGULAR AGENDA

USE1997-00074

A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT FOR THE TOTEM CREEK GOLF COURSE, CLUBHOUSE AND MAINTENANCE FACILITY.

Location: APROX 13 MILE NORTH DOUGLAS HWY

Applicant: TOTEM CREEK, INC.

Ms. Easterwood announced that due to the size and complexity surrounding the Totem Creek Golf Course project, its consideration by the Planning Commission would span several meetings. She stated that tonight’s meeting would be an introduction with the applicant providing a detailed overview of the project. After the introduction, and after public comment, the Commission will schedule two special meetings that address the golf course. The special meetings shall include an agenda with predetermined topics, a staff report and public testimony.

Ms. Easterwood invited a representative of Totem Creek, Inc. to address the Planning Commission.

John Barnett, President of Totem Creek, Inc. and President of the Juneau Golf Club came forward and introduced the other principals from Totem Creek: David George, Peter Metcalf, and Tom Findlay. A fourth individual, Tom Koester was out of town. Also in attendance was Randy Bayliss, Totem Creek’s contracted environmental engineer. Totem Creek is comprised of four board members, two of which are also board members of the Juneau Golf Club. The entity is funded primarily by the Juneau Golf Club.

Mr. Barnett introduced the Commission to the popularity and prevalence of golfing in the United States. Today, there are over 17,000 golf courses in the country. 509 courses opened in 1999 and currently, there are 936 golf courses under construction with 790 set to open in this year. Juneau is the only capital city without a regulation 18-hole golf course, Mr. Barnett states.

He outlined the pursuit of golf in Juneau from the first course planned in 1915 to the "Million Dollar Golf Course" at the Rock Dump that began operating in the 1920’s and continued over the next 50 years. More recently, in the mid-80's, the Mendenhall Golf Course, with its nine holes opened. While it is a beautiful course, the Mendenhall course is not regulation sized and too short for golfers to fully enjoy the game. For example, the golf club, known as a "driver" is not usable in Juneau because the Mendenhall course is too short.

Historically, the force behind developing a regulation course in Juneau has its roots in the "Dodo Club" which was active from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. Later, the Sand Blasters emerged in the 1950’s and were active through the 1970’s. The Juneau Golf Club, which formed in the late 70’s or early 80’s, marked the beginning of serious efforts to find a good location for a regulation-sized golf club. Money was raised and spent by the Club on this endeavor and in 1981, the Juneau Golf Club Feasibility Study, Site Selection, Cost Analysis and Master Plan Design resulted.

The Dredge Lake area was the first potential golf course location identified, but the Forest Service anticipated a land use conflict and nixed the idea. Later, the CBJ selected lands on West Douglas as the next best location. From 1984-89, the Juneau Golf Club's independent efforts to find a designer proved fruitless and a partnership with the CBJ was formed in 1989. Over the next couple years, the Juneau Golf Club spent $188,000 on market feasibility studies and on determining how the golf course should be owned and developed. The Golf Club concluded that public course owned by a private organization was the desirable situation. Between 1990 and 1996, after a lot of hard work and many public hearings conducted by the Golf Club, it was determined that the golf course would be a private venture and the site would be West Douglas. The CBJ issued an RFP, but the first company that got involved didn’t come through with the necessary financial guarantees. Totem Creek, Inc. received the second RFP from the CBJ.

Next, Mr. Barnett detailed the complex course design process that Totem Creek undertook. With the goal of offering people a fairly unique golf experience, the Club employed Bill Robertson as a course designer. Mr. Robertson has a graduate degree in landscape architecture from Penn State and he taught golf course design at the University of Massachusetts. He has also apprenticed with Robert Trent Jones. Mr. Robertson received the first ever environmental award from Golf Digest for his work on the Meadow Lakes Golf Course in Oregon. Later, Mr. Robertson received another environmental award for the Eagle Range course in Invermere, BC. Commentary of the Eagle Range course states, "With over 35 years of golf course design experience, Mr. Robertson is regarded as one of North America’s finest master golf designers. Using his vast experience, he was able to create a world-class golf course where golf and the natural environment co-exist in perfect harmony." As well, Totem Creek’s goal is to create a course in Juneau that was in perfect harmony with its natural surroundings.

Mr. Barnett stated that their permit package, which was originally submitted in 1997, is now complete and they are ready to proceed. He acknowledged that there were several misunderstandings, some of the things that were in the Consistency Review, that Totem Creek stated that they would be provided prior to construction. Their assumption was that it meant after the Conditional Use permit had been issued and just before construction and operation. The misunderstanding has been cleared up and the information in question has now been submitted.

Mr. Barnett commented on why and how the project was a good one. One reason is that the golf course is in an area where the Douglas Highway will be extended. The golf course will protect the wetlands in that area from that future development. The course has already received a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. During that permit process, it was determined that an Environmental Impact Study was not required because there would be not fill of the wetlands. The course winds around the wetlands creating a green belt that will also enhance the bird habitat and attract deer. The course will incorporate the aesthetic effects of the wetlands into the design.

Also, Totem Creek predicts that the golf course will attract tourism away from the congested downtown area and they predict that they will compete with flightseeing as a local attraction, thereby reducing helicopter noise. The golf course will be popular with both tourists and locals and it will be a moneymaker for the CBJ. Neither bonds nor sales taxes are proposed in the construction. Almost $300,000 dollars has been spent by the Juneau Golf Club to advance the construction of an 18-hole golf course. Mr. Barnett stated that the question tonight is not, "whether to build the course," but "when and under what conditions" can the golf course be built. Mr. Barnett made himself available for questions.

Mr. Bruce asked what schedule of meetings best meets the applicant's desires. Mr. Barnett reiterated that they are prepared to move forward with the project immediately. Mr. Bruce asked how many courses in the Northwest that were similarly situated in wetlands have been built? Mr. Barnett indicated that there was a lot of activity in Washington but that he would have to provide that statistic later.

Mr. Allington if marketing studies made predictions as to the effects of rain on playing golf? Mr. Barnett stated that rain is also prevalent throughout the Northwest in Washington, Oregon and in BC. Marketing surveys indicate that rain does not matter to golfers. He added that the backside of Douglas receives half the rainfall that downtown Juneau receives, for a total of less than 40 inches per year.

Mr. Kendziorek asked Mr. Barnett to explain his comments that the proposed golf course would generate money for the City. Mr. Barnett stated that depending on how the land deal would be resolved, the City would receive sales tax revenues in addition to lease or sale income from the land. Either option, the City will generate revenue from the project.

Mr. Allington asked what the fiscal impact the Conditions would have on the golf course. Mr. Barnett stated that some of the environmental conditions that may be placed on the project are a concern to Totem Creek, but the actual costs of the golf course construction is a known quantity. The actual course, excluding the facilities is expected to cost under six million dollars to build. Mr. Barnett stated that contrary to CD's opinion, the golf course is not a big project, it is more akin to a park, or a Nordic ski area that is closed in the summer. In most areas, people like golf courses because they are pretty spots with geese and deer and they prevent track housing or highway construction.

Ms. Gladziszewski requested clarification on what agreement Totem Creek refers to when it states that the golf course will be built, it is only a matter of when and under what conditions. Mr. Barnett stated that the premise originates from the 1996 RFP that essentially requested for Totem Creek to return to the CBJ with a proposal to build the golf course on West Douglas Island. Mr. Barnett was confident that the golf course would be one of the most beautiful courses on the most suitable lands.

Randy Bayliss, Totem Creek, Inc.'s environmental engineer came forward to address the technical aspects of the proposed golf course. He states that Totem Creek's approach to this development is to know the environmental conditions first and then proceed with the design. The premise is that if a project is environmentally sound then its overall cost will be less. In addition to the volumes of environmental data that Totem Creek has collected itself, a lot of environmental information was available based on past EISs that were completed for other potential developers.

Mr. Bayliss states that the location is a great site for a golf course and Totem Creek's attitude towards development has been respectful and responsive to its detractors. Totem Creek has engaged in a lot of dialog with the public over the development of the site. Mr. Bayliss is proud of the fact, that while many people may not support the golf course, or any other development going on in that area, he feels that the public can at least state that Totem Creek listened to their concerns and the project is better because of that. Another aspect that Mr. Bayliss is proud of is that they have always made an effort to contact agencies and to deal with them early and often. The contacts included meetings and field trips to the Alaska Departments of Fish & Game and Environmental Conservation, to the Army Corps of Engineers, and to the City and Borough of Juneau. To illustrate that fact, Mr. Bayliss presented the Planning Commission a log of informal telephone conversations with various agencies pertaining to the Totem Creek Golf Course.

Next, Mr. Bayliss outlined the terrain for the Planning Commission to illustrate why the West Douglas location was such a suitable site for a golf course. Referring to a map of the project site, Mr. Bayliss pointed out Peterson Creek and its proximity to the coastal hills. He indicated that the site contains two wetlands and one upland. In 1995, Totem Creek surveyed and identified all of the fish streams in the area to determine which streams were important (based on whether or not they connected with Peterson Creek.) 1996 was dedicated to walking the streams and digging holes to determine where the wetlands were. Mr. Bayliss pointed out the avalanche chutes coming off the mountain and spreading out towards the golf course site. The chutes have deposited gravel over the years and are now an excellent basis of Totem Creek's drainage. To test that, volunteers dug a total of 29 holes, up to five feet deep, searching for water and associated wetlands. No water was discovered because the site is naturally extremely well drained.

Surveyors were asked to come in to make an accurate topographical map that focused on outlining the streams among other things. The map was then provided to the golf course architect. The layout of the tees, fairways and greens are a result of the survey. The object was to avoid the wetland at every opportunity. To Mr. Bayliss's knowledge, there is no location where the tees, greens or fairways traverse wetlands. In some locations, the access road and the golf cart path could not avoid a little wetland swale. Today, those wetland swales look like woods with a low spot where the ground is soggy and there might be a skunk cabbage on it. Mr. Bayliss states that out of all the sections of the 7,000-plus feet of access roads and the 4-miles of golf cart path, there is a total of 1.4 acres of wetlands for the entire project. The Army Corps of Engineers was delighted with the statistic and issued a permit to fill in January 1998, Mr. Bayliss reported. The State of Alaska Consistency Determination, which was also obtained in January of 1998, was a more elaborate process. It involved submitting to 49 stipulations and agreeing to submit four plans. Overall, Totem Creek is pleased with the stipulations and they consider them to be protections for the environment. Totem Creek received their 401 Certificate from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation that states Totem Creek is in compliance with water quality standards. There are other permits from Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which are in various stages in the process.

Mr. Bavard asked what developments have taken place in the past year with regard to the road extension and the Department of Transportation's plans. Mr. Bayliss reported that the road extension involves federal monies with matching funds from the State of Alaska. The road extension proposal was a major concern of staff. They wouldn't permit a golf course that would later preclude the extension of the highway at some future date. CDD staff has required that a provision be made for at least one way around the golf course. Mr. Bayliss discussed the status of the highway extension with Department of Transportation’s Roger Healy and Pat Kemp and he got the idea that nothing much has been happening on the road. The golf thing is considered to be a "near thing," and the road is considered to be a "far thing." This is Mr. Bayliss's opinion formed after informal conversations. He added that there was an old BPR alignment that skirts Goldbelt lands. It is an upland alignment. Several state agencies have indicated that it would be the best access to south Douglas in that it crosses directly over Peterson Creek thereby avoiding its tributaries.

Mr. Bruce said he was concerned by news reports that several regulatory agencies had raised issues over the golf course and Mr. Metcalf's subsequent rebuttal that was faxed to Planning Commissioners. Mr. Bruce asked for an explanation of the issue and what Totem Creek's response was. Mr. Bayliss stated that there was one issue that involved Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He explained that Totem Creek had a permit that had an expiration date of last summer. Totem Creek requested an extension but has not yet received ADFG's decision. Mr. Bayliss now believes the permit to be expired, but he has no knowledge of a decision, nor is it known what the reasons for the decision were. Further, they have no information for an appeal process. If the permit has expired, despite Totem Creek's request for an extension, then the decision would be appealed. Mr. Bayliss added that the Consistency Determination, under which those permits were issued, is valid until 2003.

Mr. Bruce asked if Mr. Bayliss was aware of the negative comments made by agencies as stated in Mr. Metcalf's letter. Mr. Bayliss stated that he'd received comments from ADFG and Fish and Wildlife, but Totem Creek addressed them. While he believed that the agencies had a rational basis for their comments, Mr. Bayliss did not agree with their opinion. Mr. Bayliss stated that there were differences of opinions regarding the Corps's decision not to issue an EIS and the State's issuance of the Consistency Determination.

Ms. Easterwood interjected that CDD did receive copies of letters from the agencies as well as the applicant's responses. The correspondence will be distributed to Planning Commissioners in the packet at the next meeting.

Mr. Allington noted that the map outlines a potential road extension along the uplands, or above the proposed golf course site. Mr. Allington asked if that road location was engineeringly feasible? Mr. Bayliss said that the red line on the map was placed there by request of the CBJ to show that there was access to the area south of the golf course project. A logging road engineer and R & M Engineering had examined the proposed route. The road did have one difficult spot but neither professional indicated that it presented problems.

Mr. Sanford asked about the Audubon Society method of taking care of a golf course. Mr. Bayliss said that Totem Creek agreed to adhere to Audubon’s (or its equivalent) operating conditions. Those conditions relate to wildlife management and pesticide use as well as erosion and sediment control. Mr. Bayliss indicated that Totem Creek intended to submit its plans to the Audubon Society and to operate in compliance to the plans.

Ms. Gladziszewski asked what makes an Audubon Association member course? Mr. Bayliss stated that Totem Creek was a member in the Audubon Association and it is the corporate intent to remain so.

Mr. Allington asked how would the wastewater from the Clubhouse be handled? Mr. Bayliss said it would be treated with a secondary sewage treatment plant, pursuant to Department of Environmental Conservation's approval.

Ms. Easterwood reminded the Commission that housing is no longer a part of the Totem Creek Golf course project.

Public Testimony:

Peter Metcalf, has been a member of the Totem Creek Board of Directors since 1995. Mr. Metcalf clarified for the Commission the intent of his faxed memorandum as well as the news reports that they had failed to produce plans. Mr. Metcalf stated that as apart of the Consistency Review proceedings, Totem Creek agreed to produce plans to various agencies. The plans included wildlife management, erosion control and a streamside survey. Totem Creek had stated that the plans would be provided before construction or before operations. The radio report said that Totem Creek failed to provide the plans. This was surprising to Mr. Metcalf because none of the agency people commenting were privy to earlier conversations. Nowhere did there appear a schedule for when these plans were to be provided but "before construction." Mr. Metcalf states that Totem Creek did not fail to provide the plans, but perhaps the agencies failed to set a schedule. Mr. Metcalf said that the agencies that made these comments are conspiring to stop this project. He believes that because the people who made the comments lacked the professionalism to pick up a phone and contact Totem Creek to ask when the plans would be provided. Mr. Metcalf said it amounts to an individual who has a personal grudge against the project. Mr. Metcalf took exception to news reports that made it look like Totem Creek was acting in bad faith, which isn’t the case.

Susan Schrader: 10780 Mendenhall Loop Road, appeared representing the Conservation Committee of the Juneau Audubon Society, states the Juneau Audubon society has been quite pleased with many aspects of the golf course project. If the golf course is going to be constructed, then it needs to be done right, with the highest priority being the protection of Peterson Creek. Ms. Schrader next clarified for the Commission what "an Audubon certified" golf course is. The program that is referred to has no connection to the National Audubon Society. It began as the New York Audubon Society and then recently changed its name to Audubon, International. Ms. Schrader states that if the applicant chooses to follow the program, it would go a long way to alleviate concerns of the conservation community. There was a CBJ Resolution from March 1995 that stated that the CBJ Manager would work with Totem Creek, Inc. to arrive at a design and management program no less stringent than that required by the Golf Course Certification Program of the Audubon Society. Again, the program that is referred belongs to Audubon International.

Audubon, International has a program known as the Signature Sanctuary Program, which is for new land development projects such as golf courses, marinas, etc. Mr. Bayliss’s letter of August 7th states that TCI is a member club of the New York Audubon Certification…there are no written standards." Ms. Schrader states that there are written standards, but that they are not known until the applicant enrolls in the Signature Sanctuary Program. Ms. Schrader checked with Audubon, International and learned that Totem Creek had been in touch but had inadvertently registered as an existing facility, meaning that the golf course had already been built. The membership fee for that category is $100. Based upon Ms. Schrader’s conversations with Audubon, International, their membership has been deactivated and they would be encouraged to join the Signature Sanctuary Program, which is the appropriate program for facilities that have not been built. The bad news is that the membership fees are $9500. Ms. Schrader stated her concern that words are cheap and here is an opportunity for Totem Creek to participate in a program that would ensure that the project is designed, constructed and operated in an environmentally safe manor. Ms. Schrader learned in ten minutes that they were enrolled in the wrong program and that they did have the written standards.

Ms. Schrader’s second concern is that the CBJ assures the community that Totem Creek is financially viable and can follow through on this project. No one wants a 200-acre clear cut on the west side of Douglas Island.

Juneau Audubon’s Society’s other concern is water quality. Peterson Creek is one of the few in tact streams in the Juneau area. The final Consistency Determination states that the streamside buffers to be 66 feet. Ms. Schrader challenges Totem Creek to widen the buffers to 100 foot, which is standard on public lands under the State’s Forest Practices Act. CBJ’s Comprehensive Plan Policy 3.1 suggests that a 200-foot buffer should be maintained. Perhaps even a 300-foot buffer would be more appropriate.

Also in terms of water quality is the monitoring both in the tributary streams to Peterson Creek and in the ground water. However, in the Quality Assurance Project Plan Ms. Schrader sees only reference to stream monitor and no reference to ground water monitoring.

The final Consistency Determination states that Condition No. 45 may be modified by agreement with the applicant and the Department of Environmental Conservation after the first year of operation. However, the Erosion & Sedimentation Plan state that it will be only done for the first operating season. Ms. Schrader wanted to point out the discrepancies between the documents.

Finally, Ms. Schrader is concerned by the use of pesticides. She wanted clarification from Totem Creek, Inc. whether or not they consider herbicides to be a pesticide. In the Quality Assurance Project Plan, Mr. Bayliss states that if there is a need at a later date for the use of pesticides, then they will be governed by permits. However, the Department of Environmental Conservation ’s pesticide office indicates that there are no permits for the use of pesticides on private lands. This means that if Totem Creek resorts to the use of pesticides, there will be no public notice and no public comment.

The reality is that there will be little oversight of the Totem Creek project. If the Planning Commission places numerous stipulations on this project, who will enforce and follow up? The best way for this to be done is for the CBJ and Totem Creek to take a good look at Audubon, International’s Signature Sanctuary Program.

Mr. Kendziorek asked if Ms. Schrader could supply her information on Audubon, International to the Planning Commission. Ms.Schrader said that Ms. Easterwood had also been in touch with that organization and she would have those details.

John Mangusso, Douglas, is a past board member of the Juneau Golf Club. He is also a golf enthusiast who has to take his kids out of town to truly enjoy the game. In 1982, when Mr. Mangusso arrived in town, the older folks encouraged him to golf since young people were needed to get a golf course project off the ground. Since that time, many of those people have died and there continues to be no regulation sized golf course. Mr. Mangusso encouraged the Planning Commission to be strong and get something done by encouraging a great project on towards its completion. He acknowledged that there were many concerns, but they have each been addressed by Totem Creek.

Jon Carter, has been an Alaskan resident for over 40 years although he has only joined the Juneau Golf Club last year. He feels that there are a lot of efforts to stop this project. He didn’t think that it was fair because so much work has been done by Totem Creek to comply. He believes that it is time to get Juneau a golf course.

Gary Murdoch, has been involved with golf courses since he was 10 years old. He thinks nothing would be better for kids than a golf course. He states that this would be a good, noiseless addition to Juneau’s recreation options. A golf course would also be conducive to wildlife as well as for tourists. The education that kids would get from the golf course is far better than what they learn on the streets. He can’t think of a more rewarding job for a youth than to be a golf caddy. Mr. Murdoch believes that its time for Totem Creek to get their permit and its time for Juneau to get its golf course.

Gary Droubay, is President of Goldbelt, Inc. While he appears as a private citizen, Mr. Droubay reports that he’s informed Totem Creek, Inc. that Goldbelt does support the development. Mr. Droubay states that he has lived in Juneau since 1998 and he likes it a lot, however, he dislikes is the lack of a golf course. The course that is here is marginal and it isn’t possible to play a full round of golf. Not everyone likes to hunt and fish all the time, and having alternative outdoor activities is a quality of life issue for Mr. Droubay.

Pat O’Brien, Vice President of the Juneau Golf Club. Mr. O’Brien clarified for the Planning Commission that although the Mendenhall course isn’t adequate, it is often so packed with players that there have been times when he was turned away. The local interest in golf is great, even on rainy days.

Georgette Droubay, stated that she and her husband recently moved from Anchorage, where they had lived for 23 years. Anchorage has seven golf courses, two of which were built in the past two years. Ms. Droubay is shocked that a lovely community such as Juneau does not have a full sized golf course. It is a good opportunity for the children of the community to also enjoy the game.

Wayne Stauffer, is a charter member of the Juneau Golf Club and past president. Mr. Stauffer addressed the concerns of the financial stability of the project. He states that the demand for golf is so intense that players can hardly get out on the Mendenhall course. Players fly to Whitehorse, Haines and to Gustavus and they are also flying south. He is in favor of the course and hopes that the community moves forward with the project.

Public testimony on the Totem Creek Golf Course was closed for the evening.

Ms. Easterwood raised the issue of scheduling further public meetings. Thursday, November 16th and Tuesday, November 21st were suggested. Ms. Easterwood said the staff report would be available for the Planning Commission on November 3rd. Mr. Dybdahl suggested that the meeting be scheduled November 16th at 5:30 and a follow-up meeting on November 17th at noon, if necessary. Mr. Dybdahl reminded members of the public that they would have the opportunity to give testimony at the next meetings.

Mr. Dybdahl called a five-minute break at 8:50 p.m.

USE2000-00066

A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO OPERATE A ROCK QUARRY AT THIS SITE IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE CBJ PROJECT FOR THE EXPANSION OF STATTER HARBOR AND TWO DOT/PF PROJECTS, THE CHANNEL DRIVE WAYSIDE AND EGAN DRIVE IMPROVEMENTS.

Location: 13 MILE GLACIER HIGHWAY

Applicant: CITY & BOROUGH OF JUNEAU

Mr. Pusich disclosed that he had a conflict of interest on USE2000-00066 and he stepped down from review and consideration of this matter.

Staff report: by Mr. Maguire stated that a Conditional Use permit for this rock quarry was approved for this site in August, however, it is now before the Commission again due to modifications in the original request. The major change is that the quarry site has been moved to the top of the hill and the haul road has moved. There is now the placement of an on-site rock crusher as well.

The new quarry site is more isolated and should have less impact on surrounding property as the pit is developed. The new site also has superior screening than the old quarry site. However, temporary drainage for this site will drain to Auk Nu Creek rather than to Glacier Highway, which has been addressed in the Conditions. The access road has been moved around the corner towards Auke Bay but a flagger will be required when hauling takes place.

A rock crusher has been added because 7,500 cubic yards of processed rock is required to complete the Statter Harbor project. It is estimated that the this part of construction will take 22 days. Located on the pit floor, the crusher will be screened by surrounding vegetation and by the pit walls.

As with the original pit proposal, staff finds that this modified proposal will also meet the criteria for approval of a Conditional Use permit.

Staff recommendation: that the Planning Commission adopts the director’s analysis and findings and grants the requested Conditional Use permit. The permit would allow a temporary quarry operation at Stabler’s Point to remove 33,500 cubic yards for the construction of the Statter Harbor Parking and Pedestrian Improvement Project Phase II, the Juneau Areawide Paving project and the Channel Drive Wayside project. The approval is subject to the following conditions:

  1. The applicant shall conduct, or cause to be conducted, a pre-blast survey of the Copeland residence located at 12701 Glacier Highway to assure blast loads are calculated properly and all other operations are conducted to prevent any damage to the dwelling. The assessment shall include the exterior and interior of the building and be used as a baseline to determine if any damage has occurred due to the blasting. Verification of the pre-blast survey shall be submitted to the Engineering Department;
  2. The applicant shall install a seismograph to monitor vibrations at the Copeland residence to insure blast magnitudes that produce safe peak vibration levels for residential structures;
  3. The applicant shall notify the owner of the residence at 12701 Glacier Highway 24 hours in advance of blasting so they may plan to be absent from the residence at their prerogative;
  4. The applicant shall not store explosives on site except that which is immediately necessary for the next blast;
  5. The applicant shall retain a 2% slope for the pit floor so that the final pit drainage will be directed toward the roadway. During development the applicant will monitor drainage and provide treatment for drainage such as check dams, silt fences, and retention ponds in order to assure water quality standards are met. Water will be diverted away from areas of active excavation where feasible. A water quality plan will need to be submitted to the CBJ Engineering and CDD Departments for approval, and this plan shall adhere to relevant standards set forth in the manual "Best Management Practices for Reclaiming Surface Mines in Washington and Oregon."
  6. This conditional use approval shall be effective until July 31, 2001, or such a time when the Juneau Statter Harbor Parking and Pedestrian Improvement Project Phase II, Areawide Paving, and the Channel Drive Wayside construction projects have been completed, whichever is sooner;
  7. The applicant shall insure that the haul road is blocked by equipment or log barriers during operation, and be blocked by type III Jersey Barriers or other suitable permanent barriers when operation is halted. Also, that "no-trespassing" signs shall be installed;
  8. That the applicant shall reclaim the quarry site as per the reclamation detail, contained in the application including a minimum final face slope of :1. The proposed reclamation plan needs to be expanded to insure that adequate finished faces and benches are in place during the period between projects even if the entire quantity of rock has not been removed. Restoration shall also adhere to standards set forth in the manual, "Best Management Practices for Reclaiming Surface Mines in Washington and Oregon" and the Usage Plan.
  9. The applicant shall be responsible for controlling dust caused by excavation, truck hauling, rock crushing, or other aspects of the operation;
  10. The applicant shall assure that the rock excavation operations are scheduled consistent with the recommendations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the protection of nesting eagles;
  11. That the hours of normal operation to be limited to Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Blasting operation will not be permitted on Saturdays, Sundays, or on official holidays. Blasting shall occur between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. That allowance can be made to extend these hours for traffic safety concerns, or other extraordinary circumstances, with the approval of the Director of Community Development. The hours of operation for the rock crusher shall be limited to 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. with no Sunday operation.
  12. The applicant shall operate in conformance with all provisions of Chapter 50 of Title 4, CBJ Administrative Code.
  13. The applicant shall operate according to the application proposal documents except that all the conditions contained herein shall take precedence.

Mr. Bavard asked what would the size of the blast be? Mr. Maguire deferred that question to the operator, Miller Construction.

Mr. Allington asked if the rock crusher would be on the floor of the new pit or the old. Mr. Maguire stated that it would be on the northwest corner of the new pit at a location furthest from the road. Mr. Allington asked how will the crusher be placed on the pit floor of the new pit isn’t developed yet. Mr. Maguire said the crushing operation would take place in the latter part of the operation.

Public Testimony:

Vivian Hegg, 2950 Fritz Cove Road, stated her serious concerns regarding the use of Stabler’s Point for long term quarrying. Several years ago, when that area was quarried for rock for the ferry terminal parking lot extension, Ms. Hegg reported that residents of Fritz Cove Road really suffered from the noise of blasting and rock hauling. The activity sounded like it was happening in her living room. The blasting also impacted the birds and animals in the area. Ms. Hegg understood that this project might provide a different experience because the blasting area has been moved back. As well, the rock moving at shoreline will not be a factor. However, this project adds a rock crusher and its associated noise.

Ms. Hegg understands that the rock and the right-of-way have now been conveyed to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and that they will be selling the rock. They also know that the CBJ’s DNR Uniform Agreement gives Secon rights to one or two million cubic feet of rock from either Montana Creek or Stabler’s Point. Ms. Hegg head that Montana Creek has been ruled out, based upon a public hearing that she missed, so that leaves Stabler’s Point. Ms. Hegg hopes that the Planning Commission places whatever conditions are necessary on the projects to protect the neighboring areas from unacceptable noise levels. Ms. Hegg added that the noise level is unknown until the project is under way. She is concerned by the 15 to 30 year use by Secon that is predicted in the agreement, and under those circumstances, protections for the neighborhood become very important.

Mr. Sanford asked Ms. Hegg if she is able to feel the blasts at her home. Ms. Hegg said that she definitely could. She didn’t think that feeling the blast was as problematic as the sudden and explosive blast sound.

Mr. Bavard commented that the permit application makes this effective until July 31, 2001. Ms. Hegg responded by stating that there will be three small projects now, but the long-term plan was for 20 or 30 years of quarry operations. She was concerned by 20 to 30 years of day after day quarry activity.

Mr. Sanford asked if the neighborhood had ever been given a diagram detailing how the corner at Glacier Highway at Stabler’s Cove will be straightened out. Ms. Hegg has seen the diagram.

Mr. Kendziorek wanted clarification on the permit. If a long - term quarrying operation were undertaken, would they have to come back for another permit? Mr. Maguire said that the applicant might address its future plans with the Planning Commission.

Mr. Kendziorek inquired about the variance that was issued for the eagle nesting trees. Mr. Maguire said that another variance was not needed due to the movement in the quarry location and it was less of an impact.

Robert Stone, 13.5 mile Glacier Highway, is concerned that this will turn into a long-term project. He understands that the intent is to straighten out a portion of the highway, but he didn’t believe it was prudent to run a quarry operation in the middle of the only highway. He believed the area to be very dangerous as it is.

Mr. Kendziorek commented that the first permit for this area was issued some time ago, and now the second phase is before the Planning Commission. It is also known that a third phase lies ahead. Mr. Kendziorek asked if the Commission was risking the problem of "phasing" which could leave this open to appeal. Ms. Easterwood said that there are other projects on the horizon, but they are separate projects and there are no applications at this point. Therefore this project is not being "phased."

Mr. Dybdahl added that it is widely known that there are a limited number of good rock sources for construction projects. It is reasonable to expect that over the years, one or another of the sources of rock will be tapped. This cannot be considered to be "phasing."

Mr. Allington noted that there was an agreement between the CBJ and the Departments of Natural Resources and Transportation with regard to the exchange of land. As a result, Department of Transportation got access to Stabler’s Point specifically as a quarry site. In return, the CBJ received the Glacier Highway property by the High School. Mr. Allington asked that since a property for property trade had been finalized, is the CBJ now precluded from preventing quarrying and only reasonably controlling it? Mr. Maguire stated that this issue was discussed with Steve Gilbertson, CBJ Lands Manager and he indicated that the transactions were treated as separate. It is considered a potential site for quarrying and the uses must go through the normal process of approval.

Ms. Easterwood stated that she was familiar with the City’s agreement with Secon, wherein Secon was able to apply for a quarry at Montana Creek or Stabler’s Point. That was subject to obtaining a permit from the Planning Commission. When Secon applies for a permit, they are to be treated like any other applicant.

Bob Millard, CBJ Engineering came forward to clarify the agreement that Mr. Allington referred to. Having read the agreement between the CBJ, the Departments of Natural Resources and Transportation, Mr. Millard concluded that Stabler’s Point would be a semi-permanent quarry site for some time. There is approximately 2 million cubic yards of rock that need to be removed in order that the highway realignment can go forward. The goal is to eliminate the two "S" turns to create a safer highway.

However, a general quarry plan for the area has not been developed. The CBJ Engineering Department believed that the best way to manage the site as a future quarry was to have one person oversee the management of the quarry. Mr. Millard believes that in the Memorandum of Understanding, the State retains management rights for the site; however, further discussions on that aspect will take place. For the situation before the Planning Commission tonight, it makes sense to have one Conditional Use permit for the sight, opposed to having three separate entities applying separately.

Mr. Bavard asked what type of blasting is envisioned for this project? Mr. Millard stated that quantity of rock to be excavated with each blast is between 5,000 and 6,000 cubic yards. The operator submits a blast plan to CBJ Engineering. The plan states how much rock he will take out and how he’ll go about doing it. It then goes to a blast specialist for approval. At that point, the operator will be allowed to proceed.

Mr. Allington asked if the blast could be dampened so that the sound is not so sharp. If so, would that have an impact on the efficiency of the blast? Mr. Millard said, yes, for example, blasting can be altered depending on how the power was stemmed.

Mr. Sanford asked how long would it take to straighten out the corner if hauling were to go on continually. Mr. Millard compared the project to the Auke Rec bypass, where there was about 300,000 cubic yards of rock involved. That project took one year.

Toby Miller, of Miller Construction, came forward to answer questions pertaining to the quarry operations.

Mr. Allington asked if the blast could be dampened so that the sound is not so sharp. If so, would that have an impact on the efficiency of the blast? Mr. Miller said he’s discussed with the powder man how to minimize the blast and still get good rock. With nearly 300,000 cubic yards of rock that they’ve shot, Miller Construction’s experience is that if small shot is used, then big rock that is not usable for road bed project results. They use 5,000 cubic yard shot gets good results.

Public testimony was closed.

Commission Action:

Motion – by Mr. Kendziorek that the Planning Commission adopt USE2000-00066 with staff’s analysis, findings and recommendations.

Mr. Kendziorek said that he empathized with Mr. Stone’s concerns but in general, he thought this was a good project. However, given the comments of Mr. Millard, even though these may be different projects, it appears to actually be one major project: a long term quarry operation at Stabler’s Point. Given the Thane Road Association decision, he is concerned by the opportunities for an appeal. Nevertheless, he supported the motion.

Mr. Allington agreed that this is a continuing operation, however, the CBJ is working on a total quarry plan, which will be presented to the Planning Commission at a later date. He planned to address the phasing issue at that time.

Condition No. 3 concerned Mr. Allington. He proposed that in addition to the residence of 12701 be notified in advance of blasts, that all residents of Fritz Cove Road be given notice.

Mr. Kendziorek accepted that as a friendly amendment.

Mr. Allington suggested that Condition No. 9 be amended to add "removing mud and other debris from Glacier Highway."

Mr. Kendziorek also accepted that to be a friendly amendment.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Yeas: Allington, Bavard, Bruce, Dybdahl, Gladziszewski, Kendziorek, Sanford, Vick

Nays: None

The Motion passed, 8 – 0.

IX. BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT - None

X. OTHER BUSINESS - None

XI. REPORT OF REGULAR AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES

Mr. Vick announced that the Subdivision Review Committee met and discussed a vacating part of a right-of-way at Cohen Drive. He said that it was a situation where "one of these years a road might get widened or it might not. "

XII. PLANNING COMMISSION COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS

Mr. Allington addressed the quarry issue. He asked that staff meet with the CBJ Attorney’s office and look at the Memorandum of Agreement between the Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources and the CBJ. He is concerned by several elements such as Condition No. 7.

Mr. Bruce asked why CDD considers the golf course to be a "big project?" Ms. Easterwood said that generally speaking, it was possible to build golf courses that are compatible with the environment but it must be designed, constructed and maintained carefully. CDD is looking closely at all these aspects.

Mr. Bruce thought that a year ago, they had a large sized packet and that they had considered everything. Ms. Easterwood said that last year, additional information was requested of Totem Creek. They needed to wait until the spring of 2000 to collect the data. Once that was done, they submitted their first augmented submission in August, with additional submissions received this day. Ms. Easterwood has discussed the situation with many jurisdictions and she’s come to see that Juneau’s situation is not unique. Specifically, she’s had conversations with Audubon, International, King County, and jurisdictions in California and Ohio.

Mr. Pusich suggested that Ms. Easterwood contact the Kent Meridian District. While at a conference, he and Mr. Bruce toured several golf courses and saw one in particular that was located in a Class A Wetland.

Mr. Kendziorek suggested that the type of light that Mr. Allington had described at a previous meeting, "full cut-off" luminaires, be specifically named in future projects where appropriate.

XIII. ADJOURNMENT

There being no other business and no objection Chair Dybdahl adjourned the meeting at 9:30 p.m.