MINUTES
PLANNING COMMISSION
CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU
REGULAR MEETING
March 13, 2001

Chair Johan Dybdahl called the regular 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, Dan Bruce, Johan Dybdahl, Maria Gladziszewski, Mark Pusich, Merrill Sanford

Commissioners absent: Marshal Kendziorek, Jody Vick

A quorum was present.

Staff present: Tim McGuire, CDD Principal Planner; Oscar Graham, CDD Planning Supervisor; Terry Camery, CDD Planner

Other CBJ staff present: John Stone, CBJ Engineering; Rory Watt, Chief CIP Engineer

II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES - None

III. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS - None

IV. POSSIBLE RECONSIDERATION OF THE FOLLOWING ITEM - None

V. CONSENT AGENDA

Mr. Dybdahl announced that there were three items 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 SUB2001-00004; USE2001-00008; VAR2001-00006 (as listed below).
  • Mr. Bavard noted, for the record, that a letter in opposition to the removal of the right of way, SUB2001-00004.
    No other objections were noted and so the items from the Consent Agenda were approved.

    SUB2001-00004

    Removal of "right-of-way" status of Lot 16C, U.S. Survey 3055.

    Location: POINT LENA LOOP ROAD
    Applicant:
    CITY & BOROUGH OF JUNEAU

    Staff recommendation: that the Planning Commission grant the proposed plat amendment, which would allow removal of right-of-way status on USS 3055, Lot 16C, Beach Access, with one condition:

    1. That this plat amendment be incorporated into a plat for the combination of Lot 16C, the CBJ property and 17C, the Kimball property, into one parcel.

    SE2001-00008

    A Conditional Use permit for retail sales of seafood to general public in an industrial zone.

    Location: 5165 GLACIER HWY
    Applicant: JOANNE SCHMIDT

    Staff recommendation: It is recommended that the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and grant the requested conditional use permit. The permit would allow the utilization of a temporary building for a retail use. The approval is subject to the following conditions:

    1. The conditional use permit shall be effective for a period of not more than 3 years (December 31, 2004) after which the building shall be removed and stored in a location allowed for such use by the CBJ Land Use Code.
    2. The structure shall be inspected prior to each seasonal use period by the CBJ Building Department to assure compliance with the adopted provisions of Title 19 of the CBJ Code.
    3. Within 10 days of the effective date of this conditional use permit, the applicant shall obtain a sign permit from the Community Development Department. All signs shall comply with Section 49.45 of the CBJ Land Use Code.

    VAR2001-00006

    A variance to reduce the required minimum lot width at the front of the building from 30 feet to 27. 21 feet for proposed Lot 5B, Lake Hills Subdivision to allow the existing two-unit structure to be developed as a common wall dwelling.

    Location: 3854 LEE COURT
    Applicant: RICHARD HARRIS

    Staff recommendation: We recommend that the Board of Adjustment adopt the director's findings and staff analysis which conclude that criteria #1-6 are met and approve the request to reduce, the minimum lot width at the front of the building from 30 feet to 27. 21 feet for proposed Lot 5B, Lake Hills Subdivision to allow the existing two-unit structure to be developed as a common wall dwelling.

    1. That if this variance request is approved, that the resulting plat subdividing Lot 5 note the variance request and approval.

    VI. CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS - None

    VII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS

    VAR2001-00003

    A variance to allow a two story detached garage with living space above in a 10-foot setback where 17.5 feet is required.
    Location: 17090 GLACIER HWY
    Applicant: LYNETTE CAMPBELL

    Staff report: Ms. Camery gave a revised staff report to the Planning Commission. The proposal was first heard at the February 27, 2001 meeting but tabled to allow staff the opportunity to gather additional information. Ms. Camery reports that after obtaining further information, the staff report has been substantially revised and CDD now recommends approval of the requested Variance. As it was originally presented, the proposal is a Variance to the front setback of 17.5 feet. It is a Variance to place a two-story garage at the 10-foot setback line, rather than the 17.5 setback line. It is no a Variance to a one-story or square footage requirement of the garage exception clause of the Code.
    Concerns were mentioned with regard to the application of the garage exception to this case. The applicant laid the foundation for the garage in accordance to the building permit issued on January 22, 2001. The building inspector allowed the foundation to be placed at the 10-foot setback line because the permit forms noted that the garage would meet all the garage exception criteria, which allows the garage to be placed up to 5 feet from the setback. The applicant had been told that the proposed garage would meet the exception criteria if the garage were limited to one-story. The applicant then applied for building permit, with proposal for a one-story garage, 10 feet from the setback, as a fall back option if the Variance to build the garage with the second story was not approved. However, building staff had overlooked the second part of criteria no. 3, which not only limits the garage to one-story, but also limits it to 600 square feet. The applicant's garage is 806 square feet and is therefore disqualified from meeting all garage exception criteria. The building permit was therefore, issued in error.
    Staff has researched department policy and concludes that the applicant may still meet garage exception criteria if the garage is limited to one-story and the floor plan is altered. As described in detail in the staff report. Staff will make a determination at a later date if this option becomes a necessary consideration. However, the applicant has stated that they will pursue a two-story garage, even if it requires moving the foundation.
    A second concern raised at the February 27th meeting was the inaccuracy of the applicant's site plan. The applicant has since submitted an as-built survey, which is attachment D.
    Staff has changed the recommendation in support of granting the Variance by changing determination of the criteria 1, 5 and 6. As well, the analysis of criteria 2 and 3 has also been changed.
    In the original staff report, it was determined that Criteria No. 1 had not been met because the owner could have built a smaller garage, or reduce it to one-story so that it met the garage exception. In the revised analysis, the garage exception does not apply and staff has considered that the purpose of the proposal is to provide living space as well as garage space. Factoring the second story living space of the garage, the applicant's total living area would be 2,161 square feet. This is completely comparable to other homes in the vicinity. In fact, without the addition, the Campbell's home would remain one of the smallest homes. Therefore, staff has determined that the Variance would provide substantial relief for the property owner and it would be consistent with justice to other property owners and Criteria No. 1 is met.
    Ms. Camery has added more information to support Criteria No. 2. Staff determined that placing the proposed garage within the required setback would create wider separations between the home and the garage than the proposal requiring a Variance. The wider distance may have a greater visual impact on the single-family character of the neighborhood. The Variance also eliminates the need to place the structure near the drainage and cut down trees near the drainage, which will further minimize negative impacts. Additionally, if the two-story garage were constructed within the required setback, it would be more visible to neighbors. Criteria No. 2 is met.
    Additional supporting information was also added to support the determination that Criteria Nos. 3 and 4 were met.
    More significantly, staff changed the analysis and determination of Criteria No. 5 after finding that the Variance meets the requirements of (C) that a Variance may be granted if compliance with existing standards would be unnecessarily burdensome because unique physical features of the property render compliance with the standards unreasonably expensive.
    Ms. Camery determined that placing the garage within the required setback would put the structure at the edge of a slope and a significant drainage. As well, the building pad would be within the drainage itself. Ms. Camery reports that this feature was not noticed at her first site visit because the area frozen and was under several inches of snow. As such, it appeared to be minor. Subsequent site visits revealed that the slope was obvious and the drainage had a significant amount of flowing water. Ms. Camery concludes that neighboring property owners face potential expenses if the impact to the drainage changes the water flow through their lots. She feels that adding fill to build up to the drainage and adding a new system of culverts would be necessary in an attempt to stay ahead of the water flow changes. Recent letters from neighbors that were supported by Department of Transportation officials expressed concerns over this issue and voiced their support in granting the Variance. Based on this additional information, Ms. Camery determined that Criteria No. 5 have been met.
    In light of new evidence and analysis, particularly the significance of the drainage issues, staff has changed the previous determination and finds that Criterion No. 6 is also met. This Criterion states that a Variance may be granted if a grant of the Variance would result in more benefits than detriments to the neighborhood. Several features in support of this finding are that granting the Variance would lessen the visibility to both uphill and downhill neighbors. Also, granting the Variance would allow the structure to be built without disturbing the drainage and changing the water flow through the subject property and the neighboring properties. Ms. Camery finds that granting the Variance would bring more benefits than detriments to the neighborhood.

    Conclusion

    After reviewing the criterion for variances found in CBJ 49.20.250, it is evident that there are unique physical features associated with this site that create a hardship and practical difficulty to keep the applicant from complying with regulations and justify the Variance. Furthermore, placement of the garage within the proposed location appears to minimize both visual and environmental impacts to the neighborhood. These impacts would be exacerbated if the required setbacks were followed. Therefore:

    Staff recommendation: That the Board of Adjustment adopt the staff analysis and director's findings and grant the requested Variance.

    Public testimony;

    Sheila Degener, 17050 Glacier Highway, is the neighbor to the south of the Campbell's property. Ms. Degener notes that the revised staff report and submitted letters of support focus on tree removal and drainage concerns. Her comments aimed to rebut these points. First of all, the trees that would need to be logged, if the applicant were required to move the garage do not provide any screening whatsoever. She states that the trees are barely visible from her property and to the properties of her neighbors. Ms. Degener also comments on the problems of drainage. Development and poor drainage management has led to problems to the city's roadways and down hill landowners. The applicant and CDD staff maintains that moving the structure would force the altering of an existing drainage and the removal of trees. She is unmoved by this argument, stating instead that the applicant has already altered the drainage, illegally, without a permit, a properly engineered plan and without an inspection. The applicant's building preparations have already caused damage to their property, Ms. Degener asserts. She states that their situation might be improved upon if the drainage were altered. This would afford the applicant the opportunity to correct an existing problem with the benefit of an engineered plan and proper inspections. Ms. Degener feels that granting the Variance would not preserve the aesthetics of the neighborhood with regard to trees, and drainage issues that already exist would continue.

    George Campbell, 17090 Glacier Highway, is the applicant and he appears to clarify points in dispute and to answer any questions. First, he responded to claims that they carried out unpermitted work to the drainage. Mr. Campbell states that he received a grading permit for the site preparation carried out two years ago. The drainage was relocated approximately 15 feet to the side of where the garage will go. The drainage is directed through the root system of a large spruce tree. As he worked on the pad, that drainage became an issue when it was noted that it fans into about 25 different directions. Workers attempted to channel the fanning more into the stream to protect the neighbor's property. He had discussed this with the neighbors and heard no objections at the time.
    Mr. Campbell responded to the assertion that a build up of silt on the Degener's property is caused by the Campbell's. Silting occurs not because the streambed had been moved, but because it naturally occurs in that area. Mr. Campbell dug a four-foot deep pond and within two months it had been nearly filled in with sediment. If the foundation needs to be moved, trees and their root systems must be removed. The detriment of that action is that root systems keep the soils and streambeds in place.
    He said one complicating factor that has increased the water table in the area has been the conversion to city water system. This had a huge impact on the volume of water that stays in the stream. The problems are so extreme that some of their neighbors are in daily contact with CBJ Engineering as they try to resolve their drainage problems.
    In conclusion, the work to the stream was completed with permits and the flow change has not created a disturbance to the area. The drainage problems arise from the natural setting of their properties.
    Mr. Allington wondered if the alteration to the stream increased the length of the run through Mr. Campbell's property. Mr. Campbell thought that it increased it a little. The original stream traveled straight down, through the center of his property and now it bows to the side of his house.

    Alan Degener, 17050 Glacier Highway, noted that he testified and submitted written testimony at the last public hearing and he wished for his testimony in opposition to stand. Mr. Degener has a copy of the permit issued two years ago. The project description states that "place a two foot cap for a driveway to parking pad." It doesn't mention drainage issues, however, the application indicated that a grading plan stapled to it, but it wasn't attached to his copy. Regardless of what may have been permitted, the completed project did not receive an inspection.
    Mr. Degener emphasized that the heart of their concern is the fact that a two-story structure imposing itself onto the Degener's private back yard. It would be detrimental to their privacy, increase light levels, and it would be extremely difficult to screen given its relative height to their back yard. He worries that the structure could lead to an oversized, unattached apartment. Rentals can be hard to detect.
    Mr. Degener opposes the staff's recommendation and he is surprised by the reversal of their opinion. He thinks that this has put the Planning Commission into a difficult position and he can see only two solutions. First, grant the Variance and allow the structure to be built where it is; or secondly, move the structure to a different location. To assist the applicant in finding a win-win solution, Mr. Degener presented some alternative building design ideas to the applicant. The applicant said they had considered the ideas but had not liked them. Mr. Degener emphasized that there are alternatives to be explored that can also meet everyone's goals.
    From his point of view, the applicant has made several mistakes. One, he did not consult with the neighbors with regard to their plans. Once they became aware that the neighbors had a right to comment in the public process, they acted. However, by then the applicant had poured the foundation. He laments that a better solution could have been achieved. The second mistake made by the applicant was waiting for the Variance process to be over before laying the foundation. If the Planning Commission approves the Variance, the people who will pay for that mistake will be the neighbors. He hoped that they would oppose the Variance.
    Mr. Sanford asked what the distance between Mr. Degener's house and the applicant's was? Mr. Degener estimated the distance to be over 60 feet. He said the distance was not an issue, the height was. The Campbell's property is 15 feet higher than the Degener's and then the proposed height of the garage was an additional 30 feet up. He anticipates the garage to tower 45 feet above the back yard.
    Mr. Pusich asked for clarification on the loss of privacy. Mr. Degener said that view from the garage would peer down into his bedroom windows. Also, the Degener's have a hot tub in their back yard. The wall of the structure that will face the Degener home is primarily glass and the height will prevent any screening.
    Ms. Gladziszewski asked staff to clarify that if the Variance were not granted, the applicant could move the foundation 7 feet and build their two-story garage? Ms. Camery said that was correct.
    Mr. Bavard asked what tree cutting issues had been problematic. To Ms. Camery's knowledge, the applicant had not removed any trees to accommodate the placement of the pad. Should the applicant move the pad to comply with the required setbacks, tree removal would then occur.
    Mr. Bavard also asked about the grading permit and assertions of unauthorized filling. Phil Zenter from CBJ Engineering visited the property to evaluate the grading referred to by the Degeners. He determined that no illegal filling had been done. The applicant had permits for all existing work.

    Planning Commission Action:

    Motion: by Mr. Bruce for acceptance of VAR2001-00003, as revised and accept the findings and recommendations of staff.

    Mr. Bruce said the he appreciated the concerns of the Degener's but he thought the applicant was certainly within his rights to seek the Variance, considering the terrain and topography that he's contending with.
    Mr. Bavard also supports the motion. He didn’t think that it was an unreasonable use of the property and he was convinced that trying to move things around to meet setback requirements would create problems.
    Mr. Allington noted that Dean Griggs is a hydrologist at the Department of Transportation who is well qualified to comment on the site.
    Ms. Gladziszewski said that if the Variance is not granted, the applicant could still build a two-story garage without further comment from the Planning Commission. She was also convinced by the letters from engineers and supports the motion.
    Mr. Pusich said he finds staff's analysis and findings very difficult to argue with and he supports the motion. If the Variance is not granted, the impacts cited by the Degeners will still occur. The only difference is that the environment will be harmed.

    Roll Call Vote:

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

    VIII. REGULAR AGENDA

    Mr. Dybdahl announced that CSP2001-00003 and USE2001-00009 would be heard together as one item.

    CSP2001-00003

    A city project review for a building of approximately 27,000 square feet for use in winter as an indoor ice rink and in summer as a multi-purpose facility at Savikko Park.

    Location: 121 DOCK ST
    Applicant: CITY & BOROUGH OF JUNEAU

    Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and approve the city project review as identified above. The approval would allow the development of the Treadwell Arena, a building of approximately 27,000 square feet for use in winter as an indoor ice rink and in summer as a multi-purpose facility for tennis, basketball, in-line skating and special events. The approval is subject to the following condition:

    1. The Assembly is encouraged to authorize design changes to the building which would incorporate features and architectural references to the existing structures of Savikko Park and/or the historic mining buildings of the Treadwell Mine and thereby set an example of good quality design worthy of a public building.

    USE2001-00009

    A Conditional Use permit for a building of approximately 27,000 square feet for use in winter as an indoor ice rink and in summer as a multi-purpose facility at Savikko Park.

    Location: 121 DOCK ST
    Applicant: CITY & BOROUGH OF JUNEAU

    Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and grant the requested Conditional Use permit as identified above. The approval would allow the development of the Treadwell Arena, a building of approximately 27,000 square feet for use in winter as an indoor ice rink and in summer as a multi-purpose facility for tennis, basketball, in-line skating and special events. The approval is subject to the following condition:

    1. Prior to issuance of a final building permit, the applicant shall submit to the Community Development Department, for final approval, specifications of proposed exterior lighting such that glare will not be caused onto adjacent properties or roadways.

    Staff report: Oscar Graham would brief the Planning Commission on the staff report prepared by Gary Gillette. Mr. Gillette was out of town. The project involves the construction of a 27,000 square foot ice rink structure is intended to be reminiscent of historical Treadwell buildings. Staff hopes that the incorporation of historical features be reinforced into the design of the building. Mr. Graham suggests simply adding window simulations or refinement of the roofline. The design team is amenable and later, John Stone of the Public Works Department will discuss that issue.
    There were no significant traffic impacts, due to the excellent location of the facility and the adjacent road system. The parking requirement was calculated to be 1 space per 4 users, or a maximum parking requirement of 85 spaces. Currently, there are 190 parking spaces available and staff determined the parking to be sufficient.
    The proposed building location is in an established park. Savikko Park has been pinpointed to be the site of the ice rink and it is therefore compatible with neighborhood harmony.
    The project is being constructed with a combination of public and private sources; however, full funding is not currently in place. The intent is for the project to be constructed in phases, as funding allows. Phase I involves the completion of the building shell itself. The facility will be owned and maintained by the CBJ and operated by a nonprofit organization.
    The CDD staff recommends that the Conditional Use permit subject to one Condition requiring that a lighting plan be submitted prior to issuance of the building permit. Staff also recommends approval of the City Sponsored Project subject to one recommendation, which encourages the Assembly to authorize design changes to the building that would incorporate historic features in the building’s design. Mr. Graham said that the design team would address the technical questions, relative to the project. He introduced John Stone, from the Public Works Department

    John Stone, Director of the CBJ Engineering Department and Chair of the Ice Rink Working Group that the Mayor convened in November 2000. The working group put together a conceptual design and cost estimate of the Treadwell Arena and they are now working on the operations and revenue side of the project. The information will be presented to the Assembly’s Public Works and Facilities Committee on April 4th. From there, the project will be forwarded to the Assembly’s Finance Committee with the outlook that people will be on the ice in a year.
    Mr. Pusich said that one recommendation under review involved design changes to the building. Has the Working Group discussed the changes with staff and are they comfortable with that? Mr. Stone said it had been discussed and the Working Group plans to meet with Gary Gillette to see what he had in mind. The main concern seems to be breaking up the monotony of the walls. While the design team was amenable to the suggestion, he cautioned that the project’s budget is a significant limitation. One thought is to list Mr. Gillette’s suggestions as "alternates" in the bid package and to see how much it costs. If the project budget supports it, fine.
    Mr. Bavard noted that the construction of the Treadwell Arena meant the displacement of the current basketball courts. What types of consideration would be given to accommodating the multiple uses of Savikko Park within the Arena? Would there be a fee for the summertime use? Mr. Stone said the flooring has not yet been specified, however, a suggestion is a brushed concrete surface that allows for alternate uses such as basketball and inline skating. The Working Group hasn’t addressed whether or not there would be a fee for summertime use of the facility.
    Mr. Bruce asked how old the surface that is currently in place is? Mr. Stone said that the basketball court surface was 25 years old.
    Mr. Sanford asked what changes would be made to the walking path? Mr. Stone described that the building would be pushed up against the hillside, to the extent possible. The path would be moved to the front of the structure.
    Mr. Sanford asked if any softball field space would be lost in order to accommodate the new facility. Mr. Stone indicated that no fields would be lost.
    Mr. Allington asked if he would have a problem if the recommendation or suggestion to incorporate historical qualities to the design of the building to a requirement?
    Mr. Stone said that he couldn’t commit the Assembly’s money before he’s had a chance to talk to them. The design team would meet with Mr. Gillette to hear what the concerns are and then they would take the recommendation to the Assembly.
    Ms. Gladziszewski asked if the Working Group had bids for the building as it's currently designed? Mr. Stone said that the bids were in and the total project is approximately $3 million dollars. The building alone is $350-400,000. It is unknown what additional monies would be required to make the changes Mr. Gillette had in mind.
    Mr. Pusich asked if the facility would ever be used in the summertime for ice-skating. Mr. Stone said a final decision hasn’t been made yet. He noted that it must be determined prior to construction. As it stands, seven months per year the facility would sport ice, the remainder would be dedicated to other uses.
    Mr. Sanford asked if the proposal had been presented to the Douglas Advisory Board? Mr. Sanford said that March 21, the Working Group is set to meet with the Douglas Advisory Board. He also believed that the idea has been presented to them in the past.

    Emily Wall, 513 5th Street, Douglas, came to the meeting prepared to recommend that the Conditional Use permit be continued; however, most of her questions have now been addressed. Ms. Wall supports Mr. Allington's idea that the design recommendations are converted into requirements. She hopes that something can be done so that there isn't a huge metal shed sitting in the middle of Savikko Park. Other building materials such as wood could be incorporated into the design. She understood the constraints that design teams typically operate within, and she commended those involved for their hard work. However, she supported postponing the construction till the next year so that more funds could be raised and a better-looking building would result.

    Sandy Williams, 640 5th Street, Douglas: lives in the vicinity of Savikko Park and he also serves on the Working Group. He agrees that the ice rink facility will look like a large metal-sided building, and unless aesthetic changes are made, it won't look pretty. However, it reminds him of what the City built 25 years ago: the Parks and Recreation Department’s Maintenance Facility. As such, Mr. Williams thinks that the ice rink will blend in with its environment. Because of the ice rink’s proximity to the baseball fields, no windows will be considered. False window frames to enhance the appearance are low budget options that may be possible. Other changes, such as lifting it up or lowering it would be cost prohibitive. Mr. Williams notes that the completed structure is estimated to cost $3.1 million dollars and the group has $2.1 million dollars will put ice into the facility. The primary objective is to get the ice in the building and other enhancements can be added later.

    Chair Dybdahl closed public testimony.

    Planning Commission action:

    Motion: by Mr. Bruce, that the Planning Commission grant USE2001-00009 adopting staff's analysis, findings and recommendations. As well, that CSP2001-00003 is adopted.

    Mr. Bruce recalled an election in 1990 where the public stated strongly that they didn't want to spend the amount of money that the CBJ envisioned for an ice rink building. From his experience sitting on the Public Works Committee, he understands the efforts involved to keep the project as economical as possible. Extras would be great, but the public doesn't support a lot of aesthetics, they want a cheap building. Furthermore, Mr. Bruce didn't support adding any aesthetic requirements because that could be the death knell of the project. Mr. Bruce recounted that all of the ice rinks he has known and loved have all looked like the big metal shed that is the Treadwell Arena.
    Mr. Pusich also supports the motion. The public need has been clearly identified and he thinks the Working Group can work out the suggested design changes to the building.
    Mr. Allington suggested a minor modification to Recommendation No. 1, specifically stating that exterior lighting will be "full-cutoff luminaires." The public is fickle, today they want the ice rink but tomorrow they'll complain about the looks of the building, stating that it wouldn't have been approved if it were a private project. Nevertheless, he supports the motion.
    Ms. Gladziszewski said she supports the motion, but she would hate to see a large metal building in Savikko Park. It’s an issue of how much does it cost, and what is affordable. The question is for the Assembly to answer. She would also prefer deferring construction so that the building was more aesthetically pleasing and not a big tin shack.

    Roll call vote

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

    CSP2001-00004

    A Review of a City Project to reconstruct Gastineau Avenue from 2nd Street to Ewing Way including water, sewer, storm drain, sidewalks, retaining walls, and stairways.

    Location: GASTINEAU AVENUE
    Applicant: CITY & BOROUGH OF JUNEAU

    Staff report: Tim McGuire, CDD Principal Planner introduced the proposed project to the Planning. The reconstruction of Gastineau Avenue has been in the works for quite some time and it has undergone extensive reviews with ample involvement from the public. Mr. McGuire announced that Nathan Leigh from the Engineering Firm, USKH will present the project description and the project manager, and Joe Costello from CBJ's Engineering Department will be available to answer questions.

    Nathan Leigh, of USKH Engineering reported that the reconstruction project was initiated by public meetings that resulted in over 275 comments detailed what was important to the residents of Gastineau Avenue. Several design options were explored with prices ranging from 7million to 5.5 million dollars. The least expensive option covered the most important priorities including the replacement of the retaining walls and water lines, separating the water and sewer lines and upgrading the stairs and utilities and replacement of existing features. Planners went back to the public to develop an alternative and to identify what was most important to them. They were told that the removal of the chain link fence, increase sidewalks and to rebuild the road. Lesser priorities included road widening. The final design alternative was finally selected and it includes the following:

    Additional funding sources were sought as the currently projected cost for the project remains at 5.4 million dollars.
    Mr. Dybdahl asked if Gastineau Avenue was the only remaining neighborhood where the water and sewer were combined? Rory Watt, CBJ's Chief CIP Engineer came forward to respond. He stated that with each street reconstruction projects, the stormwater and sewer lines have been separated. There are some remaining areas in the downtown and Highlands area where the systems are combined. The problem with combined systems is that during a storm, there are combined sewer overflows into the Gastineau Channel. Years ago, there were about a hundred of these events in a year. Today the overflows happen only once or twice a year.
    Mr. Allington was concerned about access to the neighborhood. How would people access their homes with groceries and other loads? Is there any way to provide access by carrying out the project in stages?
    Mr. Watt said that construction on the project would be difficult and will result in the road being closed. The contractor will keep pedestrian access open all the time but they will not be able to drive most of the time. The contractor will be allowed to close the road from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during construction of the utilities. During construction of the retaining wall, the road will be closed for three weeks at a time, Monday through Friday. The public is fully aware that the road reconstruction will prevent vehicular access to Gastineau Avenue for the bulk of the summer construction season.
    Mr. Sanford asked if the Gastineau Avenue was on a looped system? Mr. Leigh said that it was. There was a water line connection at Ewing Way and South Franklin as well as Gold Street and Second Avenue.
    Mr. Sanford asked for a description of the temporary fire access route. Mr. Leigh said that the existing access route from the gold mine to Thane would be utilized. This will require constructing about 300 feet of road between Thane and the mill site. The contractor will also utilize the road for construction, however it will not be open to the public.
    Mr. Pusich asked if service providers such as oil delivery vehicles had been informed of the limited hours and days of access to Gastineau Avenue? Mr. Leigh said that the contractor would coordinate all of these issues.
    Mr. Bavard asked when the bids would be received? Mr. Leigh expected to be reviewing bids in four weeks.

    Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and approve the City Project Review to reconstruct Gastineau Avenue from 2nd Street to Ewing Way including water, sewer, storm drain, sidewalks, retaining walls, and stairways. The approval is subject to the following condition:

    1. That maintenance of the temporary access road is assured so that passage of emergency vehicles is protected.

    Mr. Allington asked if there was need for a Condition that required advance notice is provided to the residents. Mr. Leigh indicated that the residents would be updated on road closures weekly.

    Public testimony:

    Nancy Waterman, 227 Gastineau Avenue, complimented staff on how well they have worked with the neighborhood. She thought that one thing which had been looked at years ago was putting in underground utilities. While that is not feasible due to the expense, Ms. Waterman hoped to continue discussions with Mr. Watt with regard to installing conduits for cable and lateral wires. The stability of the hillside during the construction phase was also a concern to Ms. Waterman. In that regard, she was pleased with staff and how they've worked out solutions to her satisfaction.

    Robert Steike, was a property manager for the state apartments located at the end of Gastineau Avenue. Mr. Steike spoke in support of paving Gastineau Avenue to the end. He thought that if the road looks like a city street then it will be treated like a city street and he would like to see an end to the excessive littering that currently takes place in the vicinity of his home. Other benefits of a paved road include diminished dust and less likelihood that people would hide out.

    Robert Clark, is a neighbor to Robert Steike and he spoke in support of a complete paved road. He also raised the issue of an old retaining wall. Mr. Clark recalled CBJ staff telling him that after to road is rebuilt, maybe they would have time and money to work on the old retaining wall. He understands that the retaining wall that keeps the road off of his building will not be reconstructed.
    Mr. Bruce commented that the Public Works Committee held a hearing dealing with whether or not Gastineau Avenue should be paved from the green house to past the bridge. The meeting concluded with CBJ staff planning to poll the affected residents of Gastineau Avenue to determine what their wishes were.

    Cami Clark, also lives at the end of Gastineau Avenue. She stated that it would be a shame for so much money to be spent on the project without paving Gastineau Avenue completely. She was also disappointed by the fact that the reconstruction of the retaining wall next to her home was not included in the project. Each year, the old retaining wall is pushed up against her home and they must push it back off repeatedly. Ms. Clark states that the CBJ had always told them that the retaining wall would be addressed with the reconstruction project. She is shocked that this year’s property tax assessment spiked in price yet the CBJ had no plans to fix the retaining wall.
    Mr. Bavard asked about the closure of the streets and what hours of operation would the City limit the contractor to? In the past, the City has tried to encourage expedited completion of projects by encouraging long working days six days out of the week. In this situation, the contractor must make special accommodations for the resident’s accessibility.
    Mr. Leigh said the contractor could work longer than 8 to 5 p.m., but the contractor cannot keep the road closed longer than that time frame. Each competing need was balanced.
    Mr. Watt clarified that the project includes three major retaining walls. When work on the retaining walls is under way, the street would be closed to traffic from Monday morning to Friday evening. The street would be reopened for weeks in a row. The work schedule is actually quite aggressive.
    Ms. Gladziszewski asked for an explanation of the Clark’s retaining wall and the paving of Gastineau Avenue from the green house.
    Mr. Watt explained that currently at approximately Bulger Way (a 5-foot alley way), and between Mr. Keene’s property, there is an old bridge structure. The paving ends there. Originally, staff proposed that paving continue to the end of the road. Some residents opposed the paving because they liked the character of the dirt road. The CBJ proposed to leave it as a gravel road, unless there was a demonstration of support by the majority of the affected Gastineau Avenue residents. Now it is a neighborhood opinion question.
    Mr. Watt explained that the retaining wall is a separate issue. The Clark’s retaining wall belongs to the private property owner and it was constructed for the benefit of the building. Mr. Watt said he only recently learned about this issue and he’s looking into its background. As he understands it, there are issues of soil creep. Mr. Watt said that CBJ would investigate to see if there are things that could be done to assist the Clarks during the reconstruction, however, there must be a benefit to the general public as well.
    Mr. Allington asked if the retaining wall was holding the road in place or the private property in place? Mr. Allington suggested that if the retaining wall fails and impacts the road, then it would be in the public’s best interest to protect the road. Mr. Watt stated that the wall was below the road, and he believed it was holding the property in place.
    Mr. Allington asked what the contract time limit of the project would be? Mr. Leigh stated that its expected to be a two construction season project, or to the end of 2002.
    Mr. Allington wanted to be certain that the project specifications required the contractor to put the road back into passable condition at the end of this year’s construction season. Mr. Leigh said that when winter comes, the contractor would have Gastineau Avenue passable.
    Mr. Pusich asked about the incentive duration stipulated in the contract. If the contractor fails to achieve the incentive goals, are there damages? Mr. Leigh stated that the construction is broken into five phases. The contractor will receive a bonus of approximately $10,000 per phase if they are completed on time. If the contractor completes the first four phases, most of the work will be done this season with only a small amount left over for next year. The only provision for liquidated damages is if the contractor does not complete the entire project by the end of 2002.
    Mr. Watt added that typically, liquidated damages are only imposed for failure to complete on time. On this project, there was a great desire to get the project completed on time, so CBJ is experimenting with incentive payments of about 1 percent of the final project cost.
    Mr. Sanford asked how Gastineau Avenue would end following the completion of the project. Mr. Leigh said that the road would look the same, except it would be paved, if the majority of the residents desire. . The alternative access road will be obliterated by a trench and placement of boulders.
    Mr. Sanford thought that it was important for safety that the road be paved now.
    Mr. Bruce reported that in the Public Works Committee, a motion to approve the project, including the paving, was withdrawn following a 2 to 2 vote. After that action, staff was directed to ascertain the preference of the residents of Gastineau Avenue that are affected.
    Mr. Allington agreed with Mr. Sanford in principal, but acknowledged that since it was the end of a road that impacted very few residents, their preference should be respected.
    Motion by: Mr. Bruce that the Planning Commission forward CSP2001-00004 to the Assembly with a recommendation to adopt staff’s findings, analysis and recommendations.
    Mr. Bavard spoke in support of the motion. He commended staff on their collaborative work with the residents so that the best plan could be developed.
    Mr. Bruce said that his participation on the Public Works Committee resulted in a lot of exposure on this issue. It’s been a lot of work but he believes the final result is a great product is something that staff can be proud of.
    Ms. Gladziszewski commented on how refreshing it is to hear citizens say thank you to the City for working with them. She also thanked staff for their work.
    Mr. Pusich noted that the residents of Gastineau Avenue have always been a very concerned group of citizens. He was gratified to see their needs and interests taken to heart and he is confident that everyone will be pleased with the final results of the project.

    Roll Call Vote:

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

    1. BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT None
    2. OTHER BUSINESS – none
    3. REPORT OF REGULAR AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES

    XII. PLANNING COMMISSION COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS

    Mr. Allington reminded Commissioners of his concerns regarding the narrow road width planned for with the Marine Park reconstruction project. He was concerned by limited access for emergency vehicles and potential exposure to a tort claim if an emergency vehicle is held up because of the narrowness of the roadway. Mr. Allington checked with Rory Watt tonight and learned that the CBJ opted not to widen the road way because if we want 18-foot roadways then a policy must be established. Mr. Allington suggested that staff address this issue.
    Mr. Bavard said he was interested in updates on several items that the Planning Commission had been involved with. First, what was the status of the Rock Dump gold mine? Mr. Bavard recalled that when the applicant was before the Planning Commission, they had expressed urgency. Is there any activity at the Rock Dump? Mr. Gillette hadn’t heard anything but he would check on it.
    Mr. Bavard also asked about the Bicknell asphalt issue and the Malick issue. Mr. Gillette said that the applicant was considering going back to the original permitted site off of Industrial Boulevard. He still has the opportunity to start operations in the spring for several days and there is an appeal before the Assembly also. With regard to the Malick appeal, Mr. Gillette indicated that the permit will be remanded to the Commission but he didn’t have news on the timing.
    Mr. Bavard asked what could the Planning Commission expect at the upcoming special meeting dealing with the Totem Creek Golf course. Mr. Graham didn’t know if the applicant would present any new information to the Planning Commission. Following the last public hearing, the Planning Commission had requested additional information. Excepting the Hillside Endorsement, no new information had been submitted to the CDD.
    Mr. Bavard hoped to have the entire package but he noted that four issues remain unresolved.
    Mr. Dybdahl thought that the proponents expect to have a decision from the Planning Commission on March 20th.
    Mr. Bruce noted that perhaps the applicant believes there are issues that won’t be resolved between staff and the applicant and they are turning to the Planning Commission for a decision.

    XII. ADJOURNMENT

    Motion: by Mr. Pusich to adjourn.

    There being no other business and no objection Chair Dybdahl adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m.