MINUTES
PLANNING COMMISSION
CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU
SPECIAL MEETING
February 20, 2001

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

I. ROLL CALL

Commissioners present: Roger Allington, Mike Bavard, Johan Dybdahl, Maria Gladisziewski, Merrill Sanford, and Jody Vick

Commissioners absent: Dan Bruce, Marshal Kendziorek, and Mark Pusich

A quorum was present.

Staff present: Cheryl Easterwood, Director of Community Development; Oscar Graham, Planning Supervisor; Tim McGuire, Principal Planner; Heather Marlow, CDD Planner; Katharine Heumann, CDD Planner; Gary Gillette, CDD Planner

Other CBJ staff present: Rory Watt, CBJ Engineering; Bob Millard, CBJ Engineering; Gary Mendivil; Eaglecrest Ski Area Business Manager

II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

January 23, 2001 – 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. RECONSIDERATION OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS

V. CONSENT AGENDA

Mr. Dybdahl announced that there were nine items on the Consent Agenda and he inquired if there was any public comment. No one from the public wished to comment.

Mr. Bavard disclosed that, with regard to USE2001-00001, that the applicant was his employer but he did not have a financial interest, in the project. He did not feel that this presented a conflict for him.

Motion: by Mr. Bavard to approve the Consent Agenda that included CSP2001-00002; USE2001-00002; USE2000-00078; USE2000-00080; USE2001-00081; USE2001-00003; USE2001-00004; USE2001-00001; SUB2000-00052 (as listed below).

They’re being no objection, it was so ordered.

Mr. Allington noted that USE 2001-0004 and USE2000-00080 included several recommendation changes.

CSP2001-00002

A State Project Review of a classroom addition to the Egan Library at the UAS campus.

Location: 11120 GLACIER HIGHWAYS
Applicant: JENSEN YORBA LOTT

Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director’s analysis and findings and grant the requested Conditional Use permit. 

USE2001-00002

A Conditional Use permit to allow development of a classroom addition at the Egan Library in a D5 zoning district.

Location: 11120 GLACIER HIGHWAY
Applicant: JENSEN YORBA LOTT

Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt director’s findings and staff’s analysis and grant the requested conditional use permit. Further, it is recommended that the Planning Commission concur with the proposed project in accordance with the state statute AS 35.030.010 requiring local review. The permit and state project review approval would allow the development of a classroom addition to the Egan Library on the UAS campus in a D5 zoning district.

USE2000-00078

A Conditional Use permit to allow operation of a bed and breakfast in an existing single family residence.

Location: 01090 FRITZ COVE ROAD
Applicant: KATRINA MARCHANT

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 operation of a bed and breakfast of up to six guests.

USE2000-00080

Allowable Use permit to modify an existing Allowable Use permit to increase mini storage.

Location: 05391 COMMERCIAL BLVD
Applicant: LARRY SPENCER

Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and grant the requested allowable use permit. The permit would allow expansion of a mini-storage with office and manager’s apartment with a total area of 75, 188 square feet, subject to the following condition:

  1. The applicant, working with the CBJ Fire Marshall, will determine the best location for an additional fire hydrant installation prior to the issuance of a building permit.
  2. A barrier to back out parking will be installed along the Commercial Boulevard side of Building M. 

USE2000-00081

A Conditional Use permit for retail use in an industrial zone.

Location: 05391 COMMERCIAL BLVD
Applicant: LARRY SPENCER

Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and grant the requested Conditional Use permit. The permit would allow retail use of 1,413 square feet in a portion of a mini-storage building. 

USE2001-00003

A Conditional Use permit for a 323 square foot accessory apartment addition to a single-family dwelling.

Location: 08275 GARNET STREET
Applicant: GARY F. TIMOTHY

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 an accessory apartment at 8275 Garnet Street.

USE2001-00004

A Conditional Use permit for retail sales in an industrial zone.

Location: 02490 INDUSTRIAL BLVD
Applicant: EXPRESS ALTERATIONS

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 retail use in an industrial zone for a J.C. Penney’s catalogue store and an alterations and formal wear shop.  

USE2001-00001

A Conditional Use permit for an electrical substation (major utility) on a lot.

Location: 0000 SOUTH FRANKLIN STREET
Applicant: ALASKA ELECTRIC LIGHT & POWER

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 an electrical substation on a vacant lot near the Franklin Street Dock on Thane Road. The approval is subject to the following conditions:

  1. A final drainage plan shall be reviewed and approved by CBJ Engineering Dept.

 SUB2000-00052

Final Plat of Glacier Village No. 2, a resubdivision of 17 lots into 21 lots.

Location: VICINITY OF DOLOMITE AVENUE
Applicant: HUGH GRANT

Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and approve the subject 21-lot subdivision. 

VI. CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS - None 

VII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS - None

VIII. REGULAR AGENDA

Mr. Dybdahl announced that USE2000-00071 and CSP2000-00012 would be considered together as one item and later, the Commission would act on them with a single motion.

USE2000-00071

A Conditional Use permit to mine and process rock and soil fill materials.

Location: UPPER FISH CREEK ROAD
Applicant: CBJ ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT

CSP2000-00012

A City Project to mine and process rock and soil fill materials.

Location: UPPER FISH CREEK ROAD
Applicant:
CBJ ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT

Staff report: Tim McGuire began his review of the Conditional Use permit and the City Project Review by displaying vicinity maps and aerial views of the site located .7 miles from the Eaglecrest Ski area. The quarry operation involves clearing, blasting, excavation and crushing of rock and soil for construction purposes. The project also involves the removal of wetlands and the applicant is in the process of applying for necessary permits with the Army Corps of Engineers. The applicant indicates that extracted materials would be used for CBJ harbor, sewer, boat launch and other public construction projects. The life of the quarry is expected to be 10 years, depending upon the pace of the projects.

Mr. McGuire displayed a diagram that illustrated how the phasing of the quarry site would unfold. Each CBJ construction project that utilizes the pit will be required to develop its own specific mining plan. The individual plans would address drainage, erosion control, overburden disposal, traffic plans, blasting, stockpiling and restoration. One of the plans for restoration include the placement of a overburden covered berm along the front of the pit as well as overburden placed on the benches that taper up towards the hillside at the back of the pit.

A major issue for some members of the public related to the truck hauling competing and interfering with recreational users and the potential to damage Fish Creek Road itself. These concerns are addressed in the Conditions.

Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings, including the waiver of mandatory condition No. 1, and grant the requested Conditional Use permit. The permit would allow the development of a rock quarry to mine and process rock and soil fill material for a 10-year period. The approval is subject to the guidelines presented in the applicants Conditional Use Application and Project Description and the following conditions:

  1. All vehicles hauling from this site shall contain material with tailgates, covers or other similarly effective methods.
  2. The applicant shall have signs posted to prohibit public access to the area; to alert the public of the presence of blasting and heavy machinery activities; to prohibit shooting; and to prohibit the use of compression brakes on the lower ½ mile of Fish Creek Road.
  3. The hours, days and dates of operation shall be Monday through Saturday 7 AM-6 PM, April 16 to November 14. The Director of Community Development may vary these approved times and dates, for necessary quarry operations, when needed to complete fill activities subject to tidal influence, for traffic safety concerns, or other extraordinary circumstances.
  4. That the dates for truck hauling be further restricted from December 1 to June 1, if mandated by ADOT/PF, to protect the structural section of the roadway from frost related damage.
  5. That blasting operation shall be further limited to Monday through Friday of each week between the hours of 10:00 to 12: 00 P.M. and 1:00 to 4:00 P.M. Blasting will not be permitted on Saturdays, Sundays or on official holidays.
  6. That the quarry permit shall expire 10-years after the date of approval.
  7. That the applicant shall have the project contractors submit individual mining plans and approve them based on conformance with this Conditional Use Permit prior to authorizing the Contractor to mobilize equipment or begin work in the quarry area. Each mining plan shall be prepared by a civil engineer.
  8. That the applicant shall have each contractor, as part of the individual mining plan, submit a blast plan for approval by the CBJ Engineering. The blast plan shall be reviewed by an independent blast consultant to insure a safe and controlled blast. Each blasting plan shall comply to CBJ specification 02090-Blasting Controls (Attachment G), as well as sections 203-2.06 of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Standard Specifications for Highway Construction, 1984 edition (Attachment H).
  9. That the applicant shall have each contractor, as part of the individual mining plan, obtain an traffic control plan from the ADOT/PF to address access to and from the site and to control traffic for the quarrying and blasting activities.
  10. That the applicant shall have posted public notice signs on Fish Creek Road, on either side of the quarry, noticing blasting operations 24 hours prior to the activity. The roadway will be closed during each blast.
  11. That the applicant shall give proper notice to the Airport prior to each blast.
  12. The CBJ Engineering and Community Development Departments shall review and condition the hours and routes of hauling traffic so as to avoid or minimize congestion, safety concerns and similar conflicts.
  13. The applicant shall incorporate the following noise control measures:
  1. Limit truck speeds within the quarry to 20 mph maximum. Truck traffic on other public roads shall conform to posted speed limits.
  2. The rock crusher and related processing activities shall be located within the quarry to minimize noise and visibility, and the Engineering and Community Development Departments shall approve the location.
  3. Limit each individual blast within the quarry to a maximum 10,000 cubic yard blasts.
  4. With signage, prohibit hauling vehicles from using compression brakes on that portion of Fish Creek Road located 1/2 mile from the intersection with N. Douglas Highway.
  5. Reduce backup alarms on equipment to the lowest allowable level conforming to local, state and federal safety guidelines.
  1. The applicant shall not store explosives on site, except that which is immediately necessary for the next blast.
  2. 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 of drainage such as check dams, silt fences, and retention ponds, and maintenance of improvements, in order to assure water quality standards are met. Water will be diverted away from the areas of active excavation where feasible. Each individual mining plan will address water quality as well and adhere to relevant standards set forth in the manual Best Management Practices for Reclaiming Surface Mines in Washington and Oregon. Each mining plan must include an assessment of the capacity of the drainage ditch to determine what improvements may be necessary.
  3. The applicant shall reclaim the quarry site as per the notes and sections presented on Attachment A, Figures 1&2. The proposed reclamation plans will insure that adequate finished faces and benches are in place and loose rock
  4. removed, 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;
  5. That the applicant shall retain overburden material, suitable for required reclamation, on uplands on or near the quarry site. All other materials shall be removed from the area.
  6. That the applicant shall construct a berm along the Fish Creek Road a height of five feet after each phase of quarrying (individual projects) are completed. Overburden shall be placed on the proposed berm to promote re-vegetation. The berm will be configured so as not to conflict with future quarry operations.
  7. That the applicant shall, to the extent practical, place overburden on the benches that will remain along the final pit face as shown in Attachment A, Figures 1&2.
  8. That the note No. 11, on Figure 1, requiring the removal of a minimum of 15 feet of overburden from the edge of the pit boundary shall be amended to require removal of only the amount of overburden necessary for safety.
  9. That the applicant, prior to completion of the berm, shall secure the site along the area bordering the Fish Creek Road with large boulders or Jersey barriers and warning signs. That the remainder of the active quarry site, above and to the sides of the operation, be flagged and warning signs placed.
  10. The applicant shall be responsible for controlling dust caused by excavation, truck hauling, rock crushing, or other aspects of the operation.
  11. That the applicant shall insure repair of any damage to the Fish Creek roadway as a result of the quarry operation. Prior to truck hauling on Fish Creek Road an inventory of road failures (potholes, cracks etc) shall be recorded and reported to the project inspector. If there is visible damage to Fish Creek Road due to hauling or mining operations the contractor shall repair the damage, with concurrence from DOT/PF, prior to Eaglecrest operations and final payment.
  12. The applicant shall be responsible for assuring that all spilled materials are immediately removed from the public roadways and that mud and debris tracked onto the roads from the quarry site be cleaned a minimum of once a week.
  13. That the applicant shall ensure trucks meet all legal load limits.
  14. That the crusher operation be located within the quarry site for the purpose of screening. This would take place after sufficient pit floor area is created with the initial phases of extraction.
  15. That the applicant shall have all equipment related to the quarry operation removed from the site, or be suitably screened, during the dates of winter closure.
  16. Lighting may not produce glare on the roadway.
  17. The applicant shall operate according to the application proposal documents as amended and the required extraction contracts, except that all the conditions contained herein shall take precedence.

After reading the Conditions, Mr. McGuire indicated that Condition No. 3 be amended, adding, "excluding official holidays," thereby stating:

  1. The hours, days and dates of operation shall be Monday through Saturday 7 AM-6 PM, April 16 to November 14, excluding official holidays. The Director of Community Development may vary these approved times and dates, for necessary quarry operations, when needed to complete fill activities subject to tidal influence, for traffic safety concerns, or other extraordinary circumstances.

Mr. McGuire referred to the waiver of mandatory Condition No. 1, which requires 15 feet of natural area left between the roadway and the pit operation itself. He explained that because this pit site has already been subject to quarry operation, CDD suggests that this Condition be waived. The required berm would serve as mitigation for this waiver.

Mr. Allington asked if a safety fence along the upper edge of the pit were required. Mr. McGuire recommended that safety flagging be placed at the pit boundary to warn people of impending danger. Mr. Allington was concerned that safety flagging was not adequate to suite the need to warn recreational users of the area of danger.

Bob Millard, of the CBJ Engineering Department came forward to address the safety concerns of the pit. After reviewing various management plans throughout the US, the best idea came from Washington and Oregon where fencing around the tops of the pit was not a standard practice. The benching and the 30-foot maximum steps are the answer to Mr. Allington's question of safety.

Ms. Gladziszewski asked for clarification on the berm and the timing of its placement. Mr. McGuire indicated that as the first phases are completed, and the front portion of the pit is removed, then a section of the berm would be put in place.

She also inquired about the necessity to haul rock on Saturdays. Mr. Millard explained that typically, CBJ contracts call for a six-day workweek due to the short construction season in Juneau. If the operation were restricted to less than six-days, the cost of CBJ projects would go up considerably.

Mr. Allington asked if contractors were ever required to use tarps to minimize the spillage of the aggregate. Mr. Millard stated that tarps are required of asphalt contractors, only.

Mr. Allington asked if it were known what grade the road was? Mr. McGuire explained that with regard to the safety of truck hauling on Fish Creek Road had been discussed extensively. It was felt that so long as a 25-mph speed limit was observed; that the trucks could handle the challenges Fish Creek Road posed.

Ms. Gladziszewski inquired how the weekly clean up of Fish Creek Road would be enforced. Mr. Millard explained that because there will be only one mining plan operating at a time, CBJ Engineering will have control of all of the truck traffic and will be able to monitor on a weekly basis. CBJ would not be responsible for clean up of debris and gravel following the winter season, but anything that the contractor did, Engineering would take care of.

Mr. Sanford stated that his concern lay with fly-rock and its potential impact on the airport. Mr. Millard said that careful mining methods rather than the size of the shot are the controlling factors of the amount of fly-rock. He discussed the blasting with airport officials and they agreed to blast at approximately the same time each day. Additionally, blasting times were limited to minimize the impact onto surrounding residents.

Public Testimony:

Bob Clasby, is the President of the Board of Directors for Eaglecrest Ski Area. Mr. Clasby announced that board member, McKie Campbell, Eaglecrest Ski Area Manager, Paul Swanson, and Business Manager for Eaglecrest, Gary Mendivil were also in attendance.

Mr. Clasby reports that they have three major concerns about the quarry: damage to Fish Creek Road, conflicts with recreational vehicular traffic, use of overshot, aggregate or rock. Their concerns have been addressed by the Conditions to the permit and he urged that the Planning Commission approve the Conditional Use permit as it is written.

Mr. Dybdahl closed public testimony.

Commission Action:

Motion - by Mr. Bavard to accept staff's findings and recommendations and analysis and approve CSP2000-00012 and USE2000-00071.

Mr. Allington suggested a wording change pertaining to Condition No. 1, "All vehicles hauling from this site shall contain material with tailgates, covers or other similarly effective methods." He suggested that the word "or" be changed to "and" so that spillage would be minimized.

Mr. Vick disagreed, stating that such a change was not necessary. Mr. Allington withdrew his suggestion to amend Condition No. 1.

Mr. Bavard acknowledged the letters in opposition to the permit, but he felt that the carefully considered Conditions made the project sound. He thought that the quarry site was ideal, because it was located so far from residential neighborhoods. He supported the motion.

Mr. Allington also spoke in support of the motion, stating that he did not foresee problems with the truck traffic utilizing Fish Creek Road.

There was no objection to the motion and so it passed unanimously.

CSP2000-00001

A City Project Review of intersection improvements at Marine Way and South Franklin Street Intersection.

Location: MARINE WAY & SOUTH FRANKLIN STREET
INTERSECTION
Applicant: CBJ ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT

Staff report: Heather Marlow explained that the triangular shaped area between Marine Way, Admiral Way and South Franklin shall be redesigned to solve vehicular and pedestrian traffic flow problems that peak during the busy summer months. The area has been looked at several times and it had even been improved by the Department of Transportation in 1998. At the time, DOT tried to do what it could with existing roads. More recently, with the development of the Areawide Transportation Plan and its steering committee, a more ambitious plan is proposed so that traffic will be accommodated at that intersection. The goals of the plan were to improve safety and efficiency for pedestrians traveling within the area, improve the access to the parking garage, consider alternative options, such as a roundabout and to consider alternatives that minimize impacts to on-street parking. The project as proposed will be completed prior to the summer tourist season's kick-off in May.

Ms. Marlow described the major elements of the project to the Planning Commission.

Pedestrian Safety and Efficiency: In the vicinity of the Alaska Steamship Dock, crosswalks will be consolidated into two larger ones that are set off with color and texturing. As well, sidewalks will be widened to about 15'.

Transit Service: Capital Transit plans to relocate their transit terminus from the Cruise Ship Terminal up town. Most likely, the location will be the curb cut adjacent to the parking garage. The curb cut will accommodate the stop on routes that travel back towards Main Street or continue onto South Franklin Street.

Large Vehicle Turnaround: The intersection is designed to accommodate all if the larger turning vehicles operated by Capital Transit, tour operators, and trucks operating at the Rock Dump. Ms. Marlow noted that the largest of vehicles going towards the south and who want to turn left onto South Franklin Street would not be able to make the turn. Their option would be to continue down South Franklin and then turn at the Cruise Ship Terminal.

Parking Garage: To solve the heavy seasonal congestion problems at this site, the project changes Marine Way into a one-way street directly in front of the parking garage entrance. All exiting vehicles will turn right and then northbound vehicles will make an immediate left hand turn.

On-street parking: Ms. Marlow noted that the project removes ten parking spaces from Admiral Way and two spaces in front of Cha's on South Franklin Street. The project is designed to provide six parallel parking spaces along the new curb.

Lighting, Landscaping and Street Furniture: the project site will receive light standards that are typical to the historic area of downtown. As well, landscaping on the traffic islands and pedestrian refuges will be installed. Street furniture and the possibility of creating a temporary pedestrian mall at Admiral Way is also included in the plan.

Ms. Marlow stated that project is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and it also is in compliance to the Juneau Coastal Management Program and the Land Use Code. She noted that the Land Use Code regulates parking requirements for land use developments but not public or on-street parking. Since this project modifies public parking, the Code did not apply.

In closing, Ms. Marlow noted that this project is funded through the passenger fee program that supports a project list that is separate from the Capital Improvement Program project list. Hence, the chief goal for the project is to mitigate the impacts of tourism.

Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and recommend approval of the Marine Way and South Franklin Street Intersection Improvement Project to the Assembly.

Mr. Bavard inquired about the net loss of parking spaces and the proposed pedestrian mall in the area of Admiral Way. Ms. Marlow stated that the project designers have a concept in mind, but no specific goals for a pedestrian mall. Ms. Marlow thought that the idea was to plan for a temporary activity such as a weekend fair so that removable bollards would be employed. This was a project for the future.

Mr. Allington inquired about the ability of the traffic circle to accommodate large vehicles.

Rory Watt, Chief CIP Engineer for the CBJ came forward to field questions. Mr. Watt stated designers looked at southbound traffic making a left-hand turn and traveling up South Franklin Street. As an example, the Department of Transportation's service truck, known as the "WB-50" could be routed through proposed traffic turnaround. However, Alaska Marine Line's, 20-foot van, which visits McDonald's twice a week, will not be able to make the turn. Mr. Watt noted that under current configurations, the large AML vans are not choosing to drive through South Franklin Street.

Mr. Allington stated two concerns: first, Marine Way is proposed to be 14-feet wide and a street ought not to be less than 18-feet wide. An 18-foot wide street is a sufficient width for a fire truck to pass cars that have pulled over to the curb but 14-feet was insufficient. The second issue of concern to Mr. Allington was the current design did not include anything that would cause the southbound traffic to slow. He suggested a yield sign be installed in the median so that Marine Way traffic yielded to the exiting parking garage traffic.

Mr. Watt reported that the traffic engineers felt that multiple cross walks and the 20 mph speed limit signage beginning at Main Street were adequate cues to slow traffic.

Noting that the Department of Transportation had just upgraded the intersection, Mr. Sanford asked how long the proposed improvements would last. Mr. Watt indicated that it would suit the needs of the CBJ and its summer traffic far into the future.

Mr. Sanford asked Mr. Watt to discuss the movement of the large vehicles that move through the area from the Alaska Marine Lines terminal at the Rock Dump. Mr. Watt said that a number of operators acquire special use permits to route oversized loads through the area. Some of those loads will have to go the wrong way in front of the parking garage but CBJ Engineering didn't feel that that situation would be much different than what now happens. For example, today, when certain oversized vehicles travel past the parking garage, on coming traffic must be blocked. Therefore, all parties feel that the oversized vehicles can be accommodated with the design changes to Marine Park.

Mr. Bavard addressed the narrow 14-foot stretch of road in front of Marine Park. Was it possible to widen that stretch?

Mr. Watt indicated that there were several other situations in the downtown area where the roadway is as narrow, yet traffic flows. He cautioned against making any changes to the design plans since a tremendous amount of thought, calculating and planning went into the creation of the preferred plan.

Public Testimony

No one from the public wished to testify and so public testimony was closed

Commission Action:

Motion: by Mr. Allington to accept staff's analysis, findings and recommendations and approve CSP2001-00001.

Furthermore, Mr. Allington offered an amendment to modify the staff recommendation to state that all one-way roadways that are curbed on both sides be no less than 18 feet in width.

Mr. Allington spoke in support of his amendment stating that he has seen instances when a fire truck was unable to pass a yielding vehicle on a narrow roadway and he is concerned. On every roadway that is curbed on both sides, a minimum road width of 18-feet must be observed, he said.

Mr. Sanford asked staff if the consultant for this project had considered this issue? Mr. Watt said that Mr. Allington's concern had not entered into discussions between CBJ Engineering, the CBJ design consultant, nor with the Department of Transportation before now. Mr. Watt noted that the same deficiency exists in numerous locations throughout the downtown and Douglas areas.

Mr. Dybdahl cautioned that an amendment such as that would necessitate a complete re-design of the Marine Park Intersection plan.

Mr. Allington withdrew his amendment with the caveat that staff take note of the safety concerns that the amendment raised.

Mr. Bavard spoke in support of the Motion because it will bring relief to the traffic congestion in the downtown area. However, he regretted the unfortunate loss of six parking spaces in the downtown area.

Mr. Allington noted that this plan had been presented to the Transportation Steering Committee where the general consensus was that Marine Park would be the optimum location to test a roundabout in Juneau.

There was no objection to the Motion, and so CSP2000-00001 passed unanimously.  

Mr. Dybdahl announced that USE2000-00076 and USE2000-00077 would be heard together. Following consideration, the Planning Commission would adjourn and reconvene as the Board of Adjustment to hear VAR2000-00047; VAR2000-00049 and VAR2001-00004.

USE2000-00076

A Conditional Use permit to construct a retail/residential building in a waterfront commercial zone.

Location: 00428 SOUTH FRANKLIN STREET
Applicant: JACK TRIPP

Staff report: Gary Gillette began his review by reminding the Planning Commission that they had approved a similar permit on June 27, 2000. The earlier project was presented as an overall design project, complete with two buildings that shared a number of facilities. The applicant proposes to develop a single two-story frame building with the first floor providing retail space and the second floor featuring a two-bedroom apartment rather than storage space. Other features such as the parking/shuttle system to the Rock Dump remain the same as the previous permit request.

The proposed project is located in Parking District 2 where the Land Use Code allows the required parking to be reduced by 30 percent. The applicant proposes to reduce the number of parking spaces to the Parking District 1 standard and to locate the parking a greater distance than 500 feet from the site. (These Variances 2001-00004; 2000-00047; 2000-00049 are the subject of separate staff reports).

Since about 20 feet of the project sits in the Downtown Historic District, the project must be reviewed to affirm that specific standards are met. Mr. Gillette determined that all Historic District standards had been met with the following exceptions: the applicant had not yet proposed signs or a color scheme for the building. Additionally, a corrugated metal siding would be used in lieu of wood or "Hardiplank" for the east and west exterior walls. Mr. Gillette stated that only the east wall would have a remote chance of being viewed from the street. Eventually after the construction of a second building, it would be fully hidden, therefore, Mr. Gillette concluded that the metal siding would not distract from the character of the district. The other defects: the color scheme for the building, and the signage had simply not yet been selected. This is typical for a project during the early stages of development, and Conditions were proposed that require the applicant to submit the color scheme and signage plans for review prior to issuance of a building permit.

Mr. Gillette reported that the proposed project was also reviewed for conformance with the Juneau Coastal Management Program and it was found to be compliant.

Staff recommendation:

Historic District Standards: That the Planning Commission adopt the director’s analysis and find that the aluminum storefront and corrugated metal siding on the east and west elevations do not distract from the character of the downtown historic district.

Conditional Use Permit: 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 two-story retail and residential building, a portion of which is in the downtown historic district. The approval is subject to the following conditions:

  1. The applicant shall provide commercial parking spaces calculated at the PD-2 reduction either on the property or within 500 feet of the site in an appropriate zoning district or, receive a variance from the Board of Adjustment to reduce the number of parking spaces and to allow an increase in distance to the required parking. If the Board of Adjustment approves a variance to allow parking greater than 500 feet from the site, i.e. at the Rock Dump served by a shuttle, and it is determined by the Community Development Department that the employees of the building who drive to work are not utilizing this park and ride system the owner will be deemed in violation of this Conditional Use permit.  
  2. The applicant shall provide residential parking spaces calculated at the PD-2 reduction either on the property or within 100 feet of the site in an appropriate zoning district or, receive a variance from the Board of Adjustment to reduce the number of parking spaces and to allow an increase in distance to the required parking.
  3. The applicant shall use a smooth finish "Hardiplank" siding with an exposure of four to six inches.
  4. The applicant shall provide to Community Development Department staff, for review and approval, a color rendering indicating colors and color scheme which meets the Historic District color standard.
  5. Prior to the installation of any signs on the building, the applicant shall obtain a sign permit from the Community Development Department.
  6. Prior to the installation of exterior lighting the applicant shall submit to Community Development Department for review and approval the proposed light plan and luminaire specifications.

USE2000-00077

A Conditional Use permit to construct a retail/residential building in a designated hazard zone.

Location: 00428 SOUTH FRANKLIN STREET
Applicant: JACK TRIPP

Staff report: Mr. Gillette referred the Planning Commission's attention to the hazard analysis for the project. As the project is in a designated hazard zone involving landslides or avalanches, a Conditional Use permit must be obtained. Mr. Gillette pointed out a letter of clarification, dated February 13, 2001, from Douglas Swanston, the Engineering Geologist hired by the applicant. In Dr. Swanston's original report, he recommended that the lower two floors be reserved for non-dwelling uses. His recommendation was based on the assumption that the floor to floor height was a typical 8 to 9 feet, when in fact, the first floor height of the proposed building is 13 feet. Dr. Swanston calculates the pile-up of debris against the building could rise to 8 feet, with a splash factor up to 10 feet. Since the proposed apartment is above that level, only the first floor needs to be reserved for non-dwelling uses.

Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopts the director's analysis and findings and grant the requested Conditional Use permit. The permit would allow the development of a two-story retail and residential building within a designated hazard zone. The approval is subject to the following condition:

  1. The applicant shall design and construct the proposed building utilizing the following recommended design criteria as identified by CBJ Engineer, Terry Brenner upon review of hazard analysis reports by Doug Swanston dated December 12, 2000 and September 7, 1996: Debris flow velocity = 20.5 feet per second; and Impact loading = 1627.95 pounds per square foot.

Mr. Allington thought that the Recommendation should include references to the letter from February 13, 2001 as well. Mr. Gillette agreed.

Mr. Dybdahl noted that the buildings in the downtown area general abut against each other. Considering the fire hazard, are buildings required to be sprinkled? Mr. Gillette believed that the new buildings had to be constructed with common walls that could withstand fire for a specific amount of time. Nevertheless, Mr. Gillette thought that most new buildings constructed are sprinkled.

Public Testimony:

Murray Walsh, appeared on behalf of the applicant, Jack Tripp. Mr. Walsh said that the applicant was satisfied with staff's recommendations with regard to USE2000-76. However, in terms of USE2000-00077, the applicant had hoped to take advantage of a pending project that is located across the street. The project will result in the construction of a large concrete retaining wall on the other side of South Franklin Street. Although a formal submittal isn't yet available, the developer has told Mr. Walsh that it is imminent. The use of a collapsible façade to protect the Tripp's building is a distant second choice, and they would much rather rely on the retaining wall.

Mr. Walsh suggested wording for another Condition that addresses the eventuality of the construction of the retaining wall. The applicant wants the option of relying on the wall without returning to the Planning Commission for further review. The Condition might state:

"if, prior to construction of the structure, an alternative solution to the hazard such as a retaining wall across the street, anticipated by the applicants is found to be acceptable to CBJ Engineer, the CDD Director may accept the alternative solution."

Mr. Bavard asked Mr. Walsh if he had discussed this issue with staff. Mr. Walsh stated that it had been talked about, but because there is not a formal application for the retaining wall, staff did not have a basis to make an analysis.

Mr. Dybdahl asked if the Belgians owned the property where the retaining wall would be built. Mr. Walsh said that they were the owners.

Mr. Allington was uncomfortable with the proposal. Mr. Walsh indicated that the wall would retain the hillside in order to create a flat space. The wall will also project above the ground behind, six to eight feet, which is designed to capture and deflect the debris flow. The design effort is a complicated matter, and that is why it has taken a lot of time to be developed, Mr. Walsh said.

Ms. Gladziszewski asked staff for their opinion on Mr. Walsh's suggested Condition. Mr. Gillette said that after discussing the idea with CBJ Engineering, they concluded that there was not a basis to make a decision and so staff didn’t support Mr. Walsh’s proposal. Also, it would be speculative to say that a retaining wall would even work.

Mr. Allington asked what was required of the applicant today? Mr. Gillette said that the design calls for significant structural members to hold the second floor and to allow the first floor's façade to be torn away by a slide. The building would be built with a breakaway façade with a structural skeleton that would hold the rest of the building in place. Since this type of construction is more expensive, the applicant would prefer to rely on a retaining wall for protection.

Mr. Walsh stated that he didn't want to circumvent the authority of the Engineering Department. They simply would like to take the Planning Commission out of the loop to speed things up. When the backwall is proposed and the Engineering Department determines that it is an acceptable alternative, the applicant would like to quickly rely on it.

Public Testimony was closed.

Mr. Bavard asked Ms. Easterwood what steps the applicant must take to amend the Conditional Use permit if the retaining wall is proposed and approved. Ms. Easterwood indicated that the applicant would apply for an amendment to the permit and it would follow the same administrative process, as would a new permit application. She urged the Commission to be cautious about delegating their responsibilities to staff in this issue.

Mr. Allington said he was opposed to Mr. Walsh's proposed amendment. He is reluctant to abdicate the Planning Commission's responsibility to the public without having full staff review of a project. As it stands, the retaining wall hasn't been reviewed and he wanted information before the Commission prior to making a decision.

Commission Action:

Motion: by Mr. Bavard, to accept staff's findings, recommendations and analysis and approve USE2000-00076.

Mr. Bavard thought that done correctly corrugated metal siding can be aesthetically pleasing, and he didn't think that it would distract from the Historical District's character. The findings are therefore met and he supports the motion.

Mr. Dybdahl commented that one side of the building next door to the Tripp's project is outfitted with rusty metal siding.

There was no objection to the motion so USE2000-00076 passed unanimously.

Motion: by Mr. Allington, to accept staff's findings, recommendations and analysis and approve USE2000-00077, with the modification that the Swanston letter, dated February 13, 2001 be included in the Recommendation.

Motion: by Mr. Vick for an amendment to add another Condition stating: "if, prior to construction of the structure, an alternative solution to the hazard such as a retaining wall anticipated by the applicants across the street, is found to be acceptable to CBJ Engineer, the CDD Director may accept the alternative solution to the hazard.

Mr. Vick considered the amendment to be valid, adding that without the Engineering Department's approval, the retaining wall would be a moot point.

Mr. Allington asked Ms. Easterwood if she were comfortable with the amendment's language. Ms. Easterwood requested a brief recess to consider alternative language.

Chairman Dybdahl called a brief recess.

Following the break, Ms. Easterwood proposed Condition No. 2 that addresses the Tripp's concern. She stated that the Land Use Code provides that the boundaries of the hazard area may be adjusted. That is, they may be relocated after an applicant petitions the City Engineer and shows evidence. The CBJ Engineer analyzes the information and determines whether or not the boundaries of the hazard area should be relocated. For example, if Terry Brenner, CBJ Engineer receives a study from Doug Swanston and he agrees that the boundaries should be amended on the map.

Ms. Easterwood stated therefore suggested, Condition No. 2, " if the boundaries of the landslide area are relocated such that 428 South Franklin Street is no longer in the hazard area, then Condition No. 1 need not be observed."

Mr. Dybdahl commented that this was a good solution for the parties.

Mr. Vick withdrew his amendment that sought to amend Condition No. 1 and he asked Mr. Allington to accept the suggested wording for Condition No. 2 as a friendly amendment to his motion.

Mr. Allington asked for a vote on the amendment citing his concerns with the debris piling up behind the retaining wall and the ongoing need for its removal.

Ms. Gladziszewski clarified that approval of Mr. Vick's amendment enables the waiver of Condition No. 1 without further review by the Planning Commission.

Ms. Easterwood cited the Land Use Code stating that the developer must submit site specific studies prepared by a Civil Engineer experienced in landslide and avalanche analysis. Its not a matter of a developer asking that a boundary be relocated and the Engineer giving the request a rubber-stamp of approval. The CBJ Engineers take this type of a review very seriously. As such, the review is done "in house" and without further review by the Planning Commission.

Following Ms. Easterwood's explanation, Mr. Allington rescinded his request for a vote and accepted Mr. Vick's friendly amendment.

Mr. Dybdahl asked Commissioners if they had any objection to the Motion, there was none and so USE2000-00077 passed unanimously.

Mr. Dybdahl adjourned the Planning Commission at 8:55 p.m. and he announced that it would reconvene as the Board of Adjustment.

IX. BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

VAR2000-00047

A Variance request to provide required parking at the Rock Dump which is greater than 100 feet from a residential use.

Location: 00428 SOUTH FRANKLIN STREET
Applicant: JACK TRIPP

Staff report: Mr. Gillette reported that the applicant requests that the required parking space be reduced from 1 space to 0. Further, the parking must be on the site of the building or within 100 feet of the site.

Mr. Gillette reports that the applicant determined there to be an insufficient space on the site for both the development and the required parking for the apartment. Further, current management practices of the parking garage make it impossible for leased parking space to be used to meet land use requirements. Mr. Gillette noted that developing the apartment without providing parking would negatively impact surrounding areas. For example, the Gastineau Avenue neighborhood has often complained about a lack of residential parking due to business traffic overflow onto their street. It is foreseeable that nearby property owners would be negatively impacted and the parking problem exacerbated by granting this Variance. However, the subject property has unique physical features that render compliance undoable or unreasonably expensive. The property is extremely narrow and any parking provided on the site would have difficulty turning around. As well, the Land Use Code prohibits backing out for commercial and multi-family uses. On the other hand, if the Variance were granted, it would allow for the development of an apartment in the downtown area, which is considered beneficial to the vitality of the area. Mr. Gillette notes due to spillover parking, the detrimental aspects outweigh beneficial features to the project.

In conclusion, Mr. Gillette concludes that the Variance as requested does not meet the grounds stated in the Land Use Code, specifically, criterion 2, 3 and 6.

Staff recommendation: It is recommended that the Board of Adjustment adopt the director's findings and staff analysis, which concludes that the grounds for variances as contained in 49.20.250 (b) are not met. For these reasons it is further recommended that the variance be denied.

If the Planning Commission agrees with the staff's recommendation, then the applicant proposes VAR2000-00049:

VAR2000-00049

A Variance request to provide required parking at the Rock Dump which is greater than 100 feet from a residential use.

Location: 00428 SOUTH FRANKLIN STREET
Applicant: JACK TRIPP

Staff report: The applicant proposes to include a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a new building that would include retail on the first floor. When apartments are included in mixed use buildings they are treated similar to a multi-family building in terms of parking requirements. The parking requirement for a two-bedroom apartment is 1.5 spaces. The subject building is in the PD-2 parking district therefore the parking may be reduced by thirty percent. Thus the parking requirement for the subject apartment is 1 space. Further, parking must be on the site of the building or within 100 feet of the site.

If the Board of Adjustment denied the variance request to reduce the number of parking spaces from one to zero for the proposed project (VAR2000-00047), the applicant requests a variance to the distance to parking. Approval of this variance would allow the parking to be at the Rock Dump served by a shuttle vehicle.

Mr. Gillette reports that the Land Use Code allows off-site parking if it is within 100 feet of multi-family residential uses. The standard is based on a reasonable walking distance to the parking. In the past, the Board of Adjustment granted Variances in the range of 400 to 500 feet; however, this request of 6,200 feet far exceeds that. The applicant proposes to serve the parking needs with a shuttle but for various reasons, CDD does not consider that to be a viable option for a residential user.

In conclusion, Mr. Gillette concludes that the Variance as requested does not meet the grounds stated in the Land Use Code, specifically, criterion 2, 3 and 6.

Staff recommendation: It is recommended that the Board of Adjustment adopt the director's findings and staff analysis, which concludes that the grounds for variances as contained in 49.20.250 (b) are not met. For these reasons it is further recommended that the variance be denied.

It is recommended that the Board of Adjustment adopt the director's findings and staff analysis, which concludes that the grounds for variances as contained in 49.20.250 (b) are not met. For these reasons it is further recommended that the variance be denied.

The next Variance, VAR2001-00004 deals with retail parking and its two issues: that of number of parking spaces and the distance to parking.

VAR2001-00004

A Variance request to reduce the required number of parking spaces, and increase the allowed distance for off-site parking, for a proposed retail use.

Location: 00428 SOUTH FRANKLIN STREET
Applicant: JACK TRIPP

Staff report: This variance request is relative to the parking requirement for the retail use of the proposed building. The applicant proposes to reduce the parking from the Parking District 2 standard, or eight parking spaces to the Parking District 1 standard, or five parking spaces. Further, the applicant proposes to provide the parking at the Rock Dump, which is greater than 500 feet from the use.

In 1996 CDD performed a survey of downtown businesses and it was found that the parking demand was generally for the employees. This demand coincidentally equates to that required under the Parking District 1 standard. Mr. Gillette summarized his review by stating that the criteria to justify reducing the standard down to that of Parking District 1 are met.

The dilemma with regard to the distance, is that shuttle systems in the past have not worked as planned. The primary difference in the Variance request at hand is that the property is a single tenant building and the applicant has a relationship with the property owner at the Rock Dump. Additionally, the applicant will make utilizing the shuttle a condition of employment. If the system as proposed works, then the plan is a good one. If it doesn't work then granting the Variance will result in an increase of the congestion to downtown.

Staff recommendation:

Number of Parking Spaces - It is recommended that the Board of Adjustment adopt the director's analysis and findings and grant the requested variance to reduce the parking requirement to the Parking District 1 standard. The variance would allow the development of a building for retail use and calculating the required parking at the Parking District 1 standard.

Distance to Parking - It is recommended that the Board of Adjustment adopt the director's analysis and findings and deny the requested variance because there is evidence that past efforts to utilize a park/shuttle program for retail uses on South Franklin Street have not been successful. Further, the requested variance does not meet the criteria of 49.20.250 (b) Grounds for Variance.

The Board of Adjustment, after its public hearing, may determine that the proposed park/shuttle program will be successful and that the variance request as applied for by the owner meets the criteria of 49.20.250 (b) Grounds for Variance, then it is recommended that the following conditions be included in the variance approval:

  1. The applicant shall ensure that all employees who drive to work use the remote parking lot at the Timberwolf Enterprises warehouse site at the Rock Dump.
  1. Prior to issuance of a temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy (which ever comes first) for the building, the owner shall submit to the Community Development Department proof of ownership and insurance of a vehicle type which would serve to shuttle employees between the remote parking lot at the Rock Dump and the proposed building. The shuttle vehicle shall be operated to serve the proposed building for a minimum of 30 years.
  2. Prior to issuance of a temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy (which ever comes first) for the building, the owner shall submit to the Community Development Department a copy of employee rules which specifies that all employees who drive to work must utilize the remote parking lot at the Rock Dump.
  3. Prior to issuance of a temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy (which ever comes first) for the building, the owner shall submit to the Community Development Department a lease agreement for a minimum of 30 years for use of the required number of parking spaces at the Timberwolf warehouse site at the Rock Dump.
  4. Prior to issuance of a temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy (which ever comes first) for the building, the applicant shall cause a deed restriction to be recorded with the state recorder for the Timberwolf Enterprises parcel at the Rock Dump to provide the required number of parking spaces for exclusive use for occupants of the proposed building.
  1. Commencing with the occupancy of the building, the owner shall submit to the Community Development Department, on a form approved by the Community Development Department, at the end of each month that the building is open and operational, for a period of five years, a log record of those employees who utilize the parking lot at the Rock Dump and shuttle. This record shall indicate the total number of employees and identify which of those drive to work and those who arrive by other means.
  2. Prior to issuance of a building permit, the applicant shall submit to CDD an accurately scaled parking lot plan for the remote parking lot at the Rock Dump and identifying the required number of parking space reserved for the proposed building.
  3. If at some time in the future the City and Borough of Juneau or a private party implement other mechanisms for fulfilling parking requirements, then the Community Development director may authorize the applicant to participate in such program.
  4. The applicant shall ensure that a shuttle parking space is provided at the Timberwolf Gift location, which is a reasonable distance from the proposed building.

E. Prior to issuance of a temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy (which ever comes first) for the building, the applicant shall submit to the Community Development Department a lease agreement for a minimum of 30 years for use of a shuttle parking space at the Timberwolf Gift location at Werner’s Wharf.

FPrior to issuance of a temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy (which ever comes first) for the building, the applicant shall cause a deed restriction to be recorded with the state recorder for the Timberwolf Gift location at Werner’s Wharf to provide the required parking space for use by the shuttle vehicle.

Public Testimony:

Murray Walsh, appeared representing the applicant, Jack Tripp. He thanked the Planning Commission for their efforts on the previous Conditional Use permits. Mr. Walsh indicated that he would address VAR2001-00004 first. He said that the Planning Commission has approved of this plan in last fall. The van has been purchased and the shuttle system is ready to be employed.

The problem lay in that when you set out to use the downtown properties, these rules must be confronted. Fundamentally, if the Variance is not given, the property is rendered unusable by anyone. The property could not even be turned into a parking deck because parking space alone in the Waterfront Commercial zone is not allowed. The challenge with the property is to come up a reasonable use and then find an alternative to the parking requirement such as a shuttle system. The property alone is worth an astounding amount of money, if it can be developed. Without this specific Variance, the owner will loose virtually all of the property value.

He asks that the applicant be given the chance to employ the shuttle system. Once online, the shuttle will serve the proposed Pioneer Jewelers, Timberwolf Gifts, the convenience store across the street from the People's Wharf and the Juneau Shirt Company.

Of the Conditions that are proposed, only one is troublesome, Mr. Walsh states. Condition No. 5B requires that a Deed restriction will be recorded. Mr. Walsh notes that Timberwolf Gifts is owned by Michael Tripp, the son of Jack and Penny Tripp. However, the space is leased from another party. The lease expires in another 10 or 11 years, yet Condition No. 5B requires a deed restriction. A lessee is not likely going to convince the lessor to agree to a restriction on the deed. Therefore, Mr. Walsh happily accepts all of the Conditions, but asks that 5B is stricken.

Next, Mr. Walsh addressed VAR2000-00076 and VAR2000-00077. Last fall, extreme efforts were expended to adjust the building so that existing apartments could be maintained in the adjacent building. The applicant was led to believe that keeping apartments downtown was of great interest to the CBJ. In response, the applicant added an apartment to this building. Unfortunately, there is no possible location for parking excepting the parking garage and current management practices of the parking garage preclude leasing spaces to meet zoning requirements. Mr. Walsh argues that reducing the parking requirement from 1 to 0 is reasonable because the shuttle system will be in place and in the evening and parking is legally available in the neighborhood all night long without risk of parking tickets. Plenty of other people make it work.

If the Planning Commission cannot agree to granting VAR2000-00076 then Mr. Walsh asks that they agree to let the shuttle system substitute for the parking requirement. If no Variance is granted, then the applicant must either reduce the building to one-story (which is not consistent to the Historic District standards) or increase the commercial space to two-stories and results in an increase in the required parking by an additional four to five spaces.

Mr. Allington noted that Variances are essentially a way to give an applicant a way to break a law that others must obey. Thus far, nothing in testimony related to the property itself has been offered. Mr. Walsh reiterated that without the distance Variance, there could be no retail or commercial use of the property. Other properties in the area are also recipients of Variances because of their unique physical characteristics: the properties are too small for on-site parking. The key thing to consider is whether or not the property can be used without the Variance. Mr. Walsh states the answer is no, not for commercial use and not for residential use.

Dennis Harris, 352 Distin Avenue, states that he is philosophically opposed to mandatory parking requirements, but so long as they are on the books, they ought to be enforced evenly. Even though he has qualms about the type of development, he thinks that the applicant has a right to develop it, as he will. Considering the fact that the CBJ has allowed occupancy of buildings without parking, (for example, the Fur Gallery), when an applicant comes in good faith, it ought to be allowed. Furthermore, enforcement of the parking shuttle is a moot point because the CBJ has a terrible track record of enforcement. In fairness, if for no other reason, the Variance ought to be granted.

Commission Action:

Motion: by Mr. Vick that the Planning Commission accept staffs analysis and findings and recommendation except for 5B and grant VAR2001-00004.

Mr. Vick spoke in support of the Motion, stating that he agreed with Mr. Walsh's comments entirely.

Mr. Allington indicated that he opposed the Motion for both legal and public policy reasons. Legally, Variances should be geared to the land and because Variances had been erroneously issued in the past does not justify continued mistakes. At some point, Mr. Allington argues, the line must be drawn. Furthermore, there is no support from very many members of the downtown merchants for providing additional parking. If support is to come, for a parking plan then the issue must be forced by making the wheel squeak.

Mr. Bavard said that the shuttle is very similar to what was reviewed and passed in the fall. Mr. Gillette said that the staff recommendation was essentially the same and that it recommended denial. However, the Planning Commission found reasons to grant the Variance. He also noted that the applicant was in agreement that they could provide CDD a lease agreement for a minimum of 30 years for use of a parking shuttle parking space at the Timberwolf Gift location (5A). He didn't understand why the applicant could get a 30-year lease but not a 30-year deed restriction.

Mr. Vick said that the applicant had a problem with putting a deed restriction onto property that they did not own.

Mr. Allington commented that he's never seen a shuttle system work. The problem lies not with the operators of the shuttle, but with the interest of the employees. The parking demand is based upon land use and issuing a Variance cuts the parking supply every time. That is how the problem is exacerbated.

Mr. Sanford said that he agreed with Mr. Allington's comments but then asked why did the Planning Commission authorize the loss of six parking spaces by approving the Marine Park Intersection improvements earlier in the evening?

Mr. Allington said that those public parking spaces were to be converted into public improvements and the situations were entirely different: private commercial and residential property versus public property.

Mr. Bavard summarized the various testimonies that he's heard over the years. He focused on the loss of residential opportunities downtown in particular. The CBJ wants more residences downtown, but there is no way for that to occur because of the impossible parking dilemma. He supports the Motion and he notes that the applicant is obligated to make the parking shuttle work.

Mr. Allington said that the public will not support solutions such as "fees in lieu of " arrangements so long as Variances are routinely issued.

Mr. Bavard said it was unfortunate that the parking garage was not available to be used as a solution. He quoted from the Marine Park Intersection improvement report, that in the summer the average number of occupied spaces is 182 opposed to an average of 164 in the off season. The parking garage capacity is 297 spaces. With so many spaces going unused, it's unfortunate that the garage is unavailable to be used to fulfill the Land Use's parking requirements.

Ms. Gladziszewski was distressed by the dilemma as well. The CBJ wants more apartments downtown, yet if a developer cannot provide the parking, then the apartment is disallowed. She also agrees with Mr. Allington, that variances should not be routinely issued as a way to solve a problem. Why can't the parking garage be used?

Mr. Gillette stated that he was aware of only one business, the Red Dog Saloon, which was allowed to use the parking garage to fulfill its required parking. This was a tradeoff for the plaza area that they created which added a public amenity. The previous City Managers did not endorse using the parking garage in the manner suggested because public streets and public facilities to meet an obligation on private property.

Mr. Vick recollected several situations dating back to 1986 to 1987 where downtown businesses were allowed to rent parking in the garage to offset their parking requirements. Since that parking garage is not fully used, how can a new facility be justified?

Mr. Allington said that he would withdraw his objection but he wanted to see a total parking plan put together and he hoped someone would get the process of resolution going.

Mr. Bavard added that Carol Carlson's gift shop was allowed to rent parking space in the garage to satisfy her parking requirement.

Roll Call Vote

Yeas: Allington, Bavard, Dybdahl, Sanford, Vick
Nays: Gladziszewski
Absent: Bruce, Kendziorek, and Pusich

The Motion passed, 5 - 1

Motion: by Mr. Vick, to approve VAR2000-00049.

Mr. Vick reported that as a child, his family lived in the Senate Building for three years. He recalled South Franklin Street to be a vibrant and lively place simply due to all of the residential use that occurred. Today, in the fall, South Franklin Street is a dead zone with everything shut down. He is confident that the shuttle will work and he believes that the applicant is sincere about the plan.

Ms. Gladziszewski said she is more inclined to support a variance for residential units than more commercial space.

Mr. Dybdahl asked Mr. Gillette to clarify for the Planning Commission what the motion approves. Mr. Gillette said that the Planning Commission is stating that the criteria is being met and that the shuttle will work.

Roll Call Vote

Yeas: Allington, Bavard, Dybdahl, Gladziszewski, Sanford, Vick
Nays:
Absent: Bruce, Kendziorek, Pusich

The Motion passed, 6 - 0

Ms. Easterwood requested a motion to adopt staff's analysis, findings and recommendations with regard VAR2000-00047. This action would deny the Variance request.

Mr. Bavard made that motion. There was no objection to the motion and it was so ordered.

Mr. Vick asked if the Community Development Department had the authority to take away an occupancy permit for the retail store that had defaulted on its agreement to offer a shuttle service. Ms. Easterwood said that the permit, which had just been approved, was worded more carefully and tightly. After reviewing the earlier permit issued five or so years ago, CDD staff determined that the Conditions were not even enforceable.  

X. OTHER BUSINESS - None

XI. DIRECTOR’S REPORT

Ms. Easterwood announced that at the next Planning Commission meeting, an ordinance change that will allow a significant addition of housing in the downtown area.

The much anticipated recommendations on the parking study will be on the agenda in April.

Marshal Kendziorek will attend the APA conference in New Orleans instead of Johan Dybdahl.

Mr. Vick asked for an update on the Golf Course. Ms. Easterwood anticipates a special meeting dealing with the golf course on March 19th or March 20th.

XII. REPORT OF REGULAR AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES - None

XIII. PLANNING COMMISSION COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS

Mr. Allington stated his concern about the 10th and Egan proposal by the Department of Transportation went directly to the Assembly and did not go through the Planning Commission.

Ms. Easterwood said Assemblyman MacKinnon was putting together a joint meeting between the Assembly and the Planning Commission to hear the plans. She believed that the neighborhood meeting at Centennial Hall created the attention in the media.

XIV. ADJOURNMENT

There being no other business and no objection, Chairman Dybdahl adjourned the meeting at 10:00 p.m.