CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU
March 20, 2001
Chair Johan Dybdahl called the special meeting of the City and Borough of Juneau Planning Commission to order at 6:00 p.m., in Ball Room No. 1 of Centennial Hall.
I. ROLL CALL
Commissioners present: Roger Allington; Mike Bavard; Dan Bruce; Johan Dybdahl; Maria Gladziszewski; Marshal Kendziorek; Merrill Sanford
Commissioners absent: Mark Pusich, Jody Vick
A quorum was present.
Staff present: Cheryl Easterwood, Director of Community Development; Oscar Graham, CDD Planning Supervisor; Sylvia Kreel, CDD Planner
II. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS - None
A hearing of a Conditional Use permit for the Totem Creek Golf Course, Clubhouse and Maintenance Facility and Associated Hillside Endorsement.
Location: NORTH DOUGLAS HIGHWAY
Applicant: TOTEM CREEK, INC.
Staff report: CDD Director Cheryl Easterwood recommended that the Planning Commission continue action on Totem Creek, Inc.’s Conditional Use permit application until further information is received. She explained that the Special Meeting would proceed with staff’s focus on the question: "is the application complete?" Should the Commission determine that the application is not complete, the Findings cannot be made and the review process is suspended. Should the Commission determine that the application is complete then the review moves forward and the Commission can act.
Ms. Easterwood explained the format for the hearing at hand: CDD staff will discuss their recommendations and the reasons why they found the application to be incomplete. Next, Totem Creek, Inc. (hereafter referred to as TCI) has the opportunity to present their case followed by public testimony. Finally, the Planning Commission will deliberate on the question of the complete application. Should the Commission determine that the application is complete, Ms. Easterwood suggested that a recess be called for members to digest the materials just received from the applicant.
Chair Dybdahl discussed the importance of the Planning Commission's deliberation on this type of large-scale project. By nature, it is controversial and their decision must be defensible especially considering the likelihood of an appeal. As such, Chair Dybdahl was unwilling to rush to judgement and risk dooming the project to endless appeals.
Ms. Easterwood gave some brief comments regarding the background of the project. She recalled the November 30, 2000 Special Meeting where presentations were made by both staff and the proponent. As well public testimony was also taken. Because the Hillside Endorsement was not complete at the time, staff did not present findings or a recommendation to the Commission. At the meeting’s conclusion, several issues were identified that needed additional information. TCI was asked to provide:
Since the November hearing CDD staff met with the applicant and reiterated what they understood to be the requests of the Planning Commission, as well as some items in addition. Staff requested that:
A TCI representative indicated to staff that a map that clearly depicts which streams connect with Peterson Creek was being drafted and that the wildlife study was also underway. Eventually, the representative indicated that TCI didn't believe additional information was necessary and, other than the approved Hillside Endorsement, no further information would be presented. TCI then requested that the hearing take place.
Following the November meeting, CDD staff examined the standards of review and determined that there was insufficient information to conclude that the project would not materially endanger public health; that it would be compatible with the Comprehensive Plan; and that it was consistent with the Juneau Coastal Management Program (JCMP). As well, the project to date would not meet the standards for Audubon certification.
Staff based their finding on the missing information that has been identified:
CDD’s review of their analysis continued as CDD Planning Supervisor, Oscar Graham addressed TCI’s site plan and their integrated pest management plan for the Planning Commission.
Mr. Graham said at the last hearing, several commissioners asked for clarification of the 100-foot buffer width and how that would impact the playability of the fairways. In follow-up meetings with TCI, staff requested that the site plan also include tributary connections to Peterson Creek, intermittent streams, the location of cartpaths and landmark trees as well. While this request expanded upon the request of the Planning Commission, it was made in order to provide a clear understanding of the proposal.
Mr. Graham commented that a site plan is the most fundamental document provided in support of a land use application. Typically, it includes all the important features such as streams, vegetative cover, wetlands and buffers. While the applicant's site plan contains detailed information, the scale and method of depiction renders it very difficult to review. The applicant could easily remedy this and a revised site plan would promote understanding of the proposal.
Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPM)
Mr. Graham noted at the last public hearing, substantial testimony relative to the potential chemical applications was also heard. During subsequent meetings with the applicant, staff requested a list of fertilizers and pesticides that might be utilized by the golf course. This information should include a detail of each chemical’s properties such as toxicity, mobility, and solubility. Mr. Graham reports that CDD’s request has not been answered. CDD has continued its review of the previously submitted conceptual IPM and Mr. Graham points out several fundamental points of disagreement with the applicant.
The applicant's IPM states that TCI has established a policy that they do not intend to use pesticides at Totem Creek. Concerned that this policy was unrealistic, staff conducted an independent review of pest management involving discussions with golf courses in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast Alaska and with environmental firms. Adolfson and Associates of Seattle, characterized the likelihood of chemical application to turf grass:
"While IPM relies primarily on non-chemical means of maintaining
attractive, healthy playable turf, it is virtually impossible to adequately
maintain golf course turf grass without some chemical applications
primarily fertilizers and pesticides. Many such chemicals have the
potential to cause damage to water, fish and wildlife."
TCI had claimed that the only pest they expect to contend with was moss. CDD disagrees with that assertion. For example, Adolfson and Associates recently prepared an IPM for a golf course located on the Olympic Peninsula, and assessed the following pests for a potential problem: the European crane fly, white grubs, cut worms, many types of broadleaf plants, dandelions, crab grass, annual blue grass, Fusarium Patch, red thread, take all patch, pink snow molds, several types of rusts, smuts and mildews. Mr. Graham acknowledged that it is possible to manage grass without chemical additives, but the quality, world-class facilities all utilize pesticides to some extent. Mr. Graham noted that TCI aspires to be a world-class facility.
Mr. Graham stated that TCI has submitted an IPM, which does address some of the precepts of integrated pest management, but it is largely conceptual. Missing from the plan:
TCI maintains that the IPM plan that they propose to develop will be implemented as an operational component of the course. Staff recommends that the IPM is prepared prior to issuance of the Conditional Use permit. Because of the potential impacts on water resources, fish, wildlife and the human community, disclosure of chemical applications and preventative mitigation actions prior to issuance of the land use approval is merited.
Staff recommends that TCI contract with a qualified firm with experience in golf course development to prepare the IPM.
Ms. Easterwood states that windfirmness and the100-foot buffer width are the other areas where insufficient information has been submitted. She announced that CDD Planner Sylvia Kreel would address these issues for the Commission.
100-Foot Buffer and Windfirmness
Ms. Kreel reports that staff recommends a 100-foot buffer zone on each side of the anadromous streams. The potential mitigation impacts of the buffer on wildlife and water quality are indisputable. The buffers provide food and cover for wildlife, function as a rearing area for young, help to provide nutrients and woody debris as well as cover for fish. Buffers assist in the filtration of sediment and pollutants from the streams. Dense vegetation along the streams also helps to slow water velocity during times of flood.
The applicant has submitted site plans calling for a 66-foot wide buffer. Plans submitted on March 19 also show the areas impacted by a 100-foot buffer. Staff contends that the 100-foot buffers be maintained, and if need be, that the golf course design be altered to accommodate. Ms. Kreel indicates that the best science accepts 100-foot buffers. She cites a study authored by K. Koski, which looked at a variety of buffer-width studies and determines that buffers less than 10 meters provide little, if any maintenance of riparian buffers. Buffers 15-30 meters (100-feet) provide minimum maintenance for most functions. Buffers greater than 30 meters appear to be adequate for most functions with the exception of wildlife. Ms. Kreel also described other studies and noted that sediment was the worst pollutant in many streams and rivers. Studies demonstrated a positive correlation between buffer width and their ability to trap sediment. Ms. Kreel cited long-term studies that indicated at least 100-foot buffers were necessary for effective sediment control in the long term. She commented that with regard to the golf course development, it was important to look at the long-term protection for the streams in terms of water quality and habitat.
Ms. Kreel reported that the available literature advises that 35 feet to 100 feet of riparian buffers containing native vegetation should be preserved along the streams to regulate the water temperature and to provide large woody debris into the stream. Because 95% percent of woody debris in streams comes within 66-feet of the stream, the Forest Practice Act requires that margin on private land. However, a larger buffer is required for public lands. The Forest Practices Act concerned itself with large woody debris and not the other functions of buffers.
Ms. Kreel added that to be most effective, buffers must extend to all streams, including intermittent streams. She states that there are at least 12 streams crossing the subject property, possibly many more. However, the JCMP only requires setbacks on anadromous streams and it doesn't address intermittent streams.
Chair Dybdahl asked if there was any differentiation between the types of vegetation that is most effective for curbing sedimentation. He asked staff to discuss large trees, shrubs, natural vegetation and grass. Ms. Kreel said that the literature that she had read didn't address that aspect.
Ms. Kreel focused on the prevalence of windthrow in the vicinity of the proposed golf course. Because the area was at such a high risk for windthrow, it was imperative that buffers be made as windfirm as possible. Regardless of width, buffers are susceptible to wind damage. If further diminished by windthrow, the buffers loose their effectiveness. Ms. Kreel states techniques that can reduce the potential for wind throw include: feathering, wedging or topping selected trees. Since stream buffers are critical, consideration to how they are shaped to improve their windfirmness should be given. Again, staff urges that the minimum buffer width is 100-feet and that any buffer enhancement, such as wedging, be considered outside of the 100-foot buffer.
Mr. Bruce asked if the wedge also functions as a buffer, why make the buffer larger? Ms. Kreel indicated that the wedge was indeed part of the buffer, but there was no way to protect the buffer 100%.
Mr. Bruce suggested that a buffer's function was to separate an anadromous stream from development. In the case of a golf course, the buffer was separating grass from the stream. Grass is materially different from development such as a subdivision. Further, K. Koski testified that there could be some flexibility regarding the buffer width. Ms. Kreel acknowledged that there could be flexibility, but maintains that the course should be designed to accommodate the buffers not the buffers designed around the fairway design.
Ms. Kreel next elaborated on the issue of important upland habitat, which relates to landmark tree stands. The Juneau Coastal Management Plan (JCMP) states that important upland habitat shall be managed to promote its capacity to support living resources. While the JCMP does not specifically define important upland habitat, Ms. Kreel suggests that landmark tree stands qualify due to their uniqueness and their protection should be taken into consideration with the course design. Like the buffers, landmark trees are susceptible to windthrow and precautions should be taken.
Chair Dybdahl asked if the project area was susceptible to blow down? Ms. Kreel reported that many trees have blown down in the area. She predicted that a commissioned study could assess the wind direction and make recommendations on how to minimize the potential.
Mr. Kendziorek asked if the Planning Commission was bound by the Forest Practices Act? Ms. Easterwood indicated that it did not apply to the project.
Mr. Allington asked if any of the issues staff had raised could be addressed in the permit’s Conditions. Ms. Easterwood said that the Planning Commission must make that determination.
Ms. Easterwood addressed the final area in which staff felt TCI’s application was deficient: the wildlife study. Ms. Easterwood quoted from King County Golf Course Best Management Practices Manual:
"The first step for a golf course planner is to conduct a thorough evaluation/survey to identify the type and quantity of wild habitat present in the area. Using this site assessment, the course lay-out should attempt to avoid valuable habitat areas."
This mirrored her remarks made at the previous public hearing. Information must be gathered through a careful assessment and that information must then be used to prepare a detailed development plan. All the literature that CDD has reviewed recommends a similar planning process for golf course, step 1: conduct a wildlife survey.
On March 19, 2001, TCI submitted information indicating that Phase I of their Wildlife Study had been completed along with excerpts and a summary of the Plan. Phase I includes the initial reconnaissance to evaluate the project area. Priority species are identified and alternative study plans for Phase II are developed. Ms. Easterwood reports that the submittals do not satisfy the request for a detailed Wildlife Plan. The Planning Commission must see the study in its entirety to assess whether or not the course design reflects the findings of the study. Furthermore, Ms. Easterwood indicated that until CDD sees the Phase I study results, it isn't known if that satisfies Phase II.
CDD feels that the Wildlife Study should be completed now, and that the applicant be prepared to adjust the course, if necessary, to accommodate important habitat and other important considerations discovered on the site. The applicant has the opportunity to develop the project in such away that wildlife habitats are preserved, maintained or enhanced.
The final aspect Ms. Easterwood discussed was whether the project has been designed, constructed and maintained in a fashion no less stringent than the Audubon certification program. At this point, CDD finds that the project has not met this requirement simply because of the lack of information gathered related to the wildlife study.
In closing, Ms. Easterwood recalled the Thane Neighborhood Association decision by the Alaska Supreme Court. The decision provides some guidance on the standards for review in which the Planning Commission should abide by. In that case, the Court held that phasing is generally disfavored. Ms. Easterwood clarified that in practical terms, 'disfavored' means that project phasing and data phasing are not allowed. CDD resolved the project-phasing test since housing is no longer a part of the project. However, data phasing is a concern. To avoid data phasing, the Planning Commission must have all the information that is reasonably obtainable and necessary for review in front of them.
Further, the Commission may not substitute Conditions for Findings. The Finding must be made and it cannot be made on the condition that information will be forthcoming. Another discussion contained in the Thane decision may also be relevant to the golf course review. The Court discussed how cumulative impacts of a project must all be carefully weighed. The components are significantly inter-linked to other parts of the project if, extensive redesigns to these components become necessary, the project could have significantly greater environmental impact. Therefore, phasing the approval of components could cause the cumulative impacts of the project to be inadequately considered. In conclusion, the Thane case leads CDD to urge the Planning Commission to continue action on the permit.
Ms. Easterwood believes that important information that the Commission needs to make the Findings is outstanding. To approve a permit with Conditions stating that the item will be studied later is data phasing and this is disfavored. CDD believes that the requested information is reasonably obtainable information and that it should be provided. CDD also believes that the reasonably obtainable information should be provided to meet CBJ Code requirements. Lastly, CDD hold that the reasonably obtainable information will result in a project that is both environmentally sensitive and a sustainable development.
Mr. Bavard referred to TCI's recent request for changes to the staff's recommendation and he asked if CDD agreed with any points. Ms. Easterwood said that staff didn't have the time to fully review TCI's submittal.
Mr. Bruce asked staff to identify what information is missing and could be provided because it is reasonably obtainable. Ms. Easterwood referred to all items that had been discussed so far.
Mr. Bruce raised the issue of an integrated pest management plan. Of all the golf courses in the Northwest that CDD staff referred to, the only insect pest identified was the European crane fly. Was that insect in Southeast Alaska? Staff indicated that it did occur in Southeast, as did the pink snow mold. The products used to combat those pests were commonly known, Mr. Graham stated. As well, the procedures for developing a pest management plan (IPM) were also standardized. Starting in the 1980's, the development of an IPM is a part of every high quality golf course development. The many questions regarding the types of pests that the golf course would likely encounter could be answered by a qualified individual or firm as a part of an IPM.
Chair Dybdahl asked how expensive such a study is. Mr. Graham replied that a starting point would be about $5000, based upon his experience working in Western Washington nearly ten years ago.
Ms. Gladziszewski asked if there were any experts in the area who could testify about local pests and growing turf in the local area. Mr. Graham said that there were experts and that developing an IPM was a well-known set of procedures for golf course designers.
Mr. Allington asked for the other reasonably obtainable items that were missing from the complete application. Ms. Easterwood continued from the IPM, adding a Wildlife Study, an analysis of windfirm buffers, a detailed and accurate site plan.
Mr. Bruce asked if CDD staff now proposed that buffers be planned for the intermittent streams? Ms. Easterwood said no.
Recommendation Regarding the Hillside Endorsement
We recommend that the Planning Commission grant the requested hillside endorsement. The endorsement would allow development of an access roadway in hillside areas for the proposed golf course project. The endorsement should be subject to the following conditions:
We recommend that the Planning Commission adopt the director’s findings and continue action on the golf course application until such time as the reasonably obtainable information requested from the developer, which is necessary to support positive findings with respect to findings #2,4,6 and 8, is provided to the Community Development Department.
If after benefit of a public hearing, the Planning Commission determines substantial evidence has been produced to support the required findings, we recommend any approval of the permit be subject to the following conditions.
1. This Conditional Use permit constitutes authorization for the applicant to seek grading and building permits for golf course construction. The grading permit or permits shall be subject to department review prior to issuance by CBJ Engineering Department.
2. This permit requires submittal of detailed drawings, surveys, reports and other information required for a grading permit, and as prescribed in the project plan documents and these conditions, prior to issuance of grading permit. It shall be the applicant's responsibility to submit this information so that it may be reviewed contemporaneously to ensure that these construction details properly implement the interrelated design, construction and the management guidelines of the approved plans.
3. The layout of the 18-hole golf course shall substantially conform to the layout reviewed by the Planning Commission and amended with this permit, which is entitled Totem Creek Golf Course Site, dated August, 2000. The final design drawings of the golf course shall identify the layout of the golf course holes and other improvements, including, but not limited to, drainage and irrigation structures, golf cart paths, and buffers.
4. Any changes in the project that result in significant changes in the development characteristics of the approved project shall require an amendment to the Conditional Use permit. The scope of the review shall be limited to the request for amendment and any items reasonably related to the request. The Director may approve minor changes to the original permit, which do not have significant environmental impacts and are within the spirit and intend of the conditions of the original permit. The Director shall notify the Commission of all minor changes. If the Commission finds that the change is more than minor, the change shall be treated as a permit amendment.
5. The applicant shall obtain all required federal, state, and local permits and authorizations and shall comply with the conditions of those permits and authorizations.
6. The project description and plans submitted to the Planning Commission for its October 24 and November 30, 2000 public hearing, as modified by this permit, are incorporated herein as permit conditions and shall be required elements of the project.
7. The golf course shall be designed, constructed, maintained and operated in conformance with the Environmental Principles for Golf Courses in the United States by the Center for Resource Management and the Audubon International Principles for Sustainable Resource Development. Both sets of Principles are understood to be guidelines representing a philosophy of good environmental design and management rather than specific dictates each of which must be met in each case by the Totem Creek Golf Course.
8. As part of the grading permit review, the department shall determine that the final construction drawings reflect all of the provisions of the plans approved as part of this Conditional Use permit, the studies and details as required in those plans, the permit conditions approved herein, as well as the Environmental Principles for Golf Courses in the United States and the Principles of Sustainable Resource Development. The department may choose to employ a consultant or consultants to review these submittals. The applicant shall establish a construction escrow account that will reimburse the CBJ for all such professional review costs which may include, but are not limited to, the following:
9. The construction escrow account described in condition 8 above shall be funded by the applicant prior to the start of construction with an initial payment of $25,000. The escrow account shall be replenished by the applicant to a total net balance of at least $25,000 within ten (10) business days of applicant's receipt of written notice from the City and Borough of Juneau that such account has fallen below $15,000. Failure to replenish the escrow account in accordance with this condition shall represent a violation of this approval and will result in a stop-work order being issued on the project.
10. The applicant shall establish an escrow account that will reimburse the City and Borough of Juneau for all professional review costs subsequent to the granting of the necessary City approvals associated with the continued review, monitoring and associated inspection of the IPM and water monitoring and testing reports by a consultant or consultants chosen by the City. The escrow account shall be funded by the applicant prior to the start of construction with an initial payment of $10,000. The escrow account shall be replenished by the applicant to a total net balance of at least $10,000 within ten (10) business days of applicant's receipt of written notice from the City and Borough of Juneau that such account has fallen below $3,000. Failure to replenish the escrow account in accordance with this resolution shall represent a violation of this approval and will result in a stop-work order being issued on the Project.
11.Prior to issuance of grading permit, the applicant shall submit a construction and sequencing schedule which defines appropriate phases of clearing and development. Clearing and grading should be staged to minimize the amount and extent of exposed (unstabilized/barren soils) area at any one time. The maximum amount of exposed area at any one time during construction period shall be 25 acres.
12. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit, drainage plans and necessary support documents, prepared and stamped by a licensed civil engineer, shall be submitted for approval by the Engineering Department.
13. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit design details according to the approved Erosion and Sediment Control Plan. These submittals shall be prepared and stamped by a licensed civil engineer. The design details must show locations and details of the settling ponds, silt fencing location, construction scheduling, and a maintenance plan for the erosion control devices and other features as required by CBJ Engineering and by the stipulations of the ACMP review relevant to erosion and sediment control. The Plan shall provide for the immediate stabilization of exposed areas following grubbing, rough grading, and shaping and/or other intervals approved by the City Engineer as part of the construction/sequencing schedule.
Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan
14.Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the developer shall submit a detailed Wildlife and Habitat Management study which meets the objectives of the October 12, 2000 Icy Straits Environmental Services study plan phase I and II and which substantially conforms with the direction of the plan approved by the Commission and dated October 24, 2000. The results of the study shall be subject to approval by the department. It shall also:
15. The detailed Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan shall include the following provisions to ensure the planned habitat maintenance and protection measures are followed:
16. Field investigations as described in the Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan shall be completed prior to the final construction drawings with the intent of adjusting the course design to avoid sensitive habitats mapped in the field and to provide for wildlife corridors and core habitat areas. This condition recognizes that some sensitive areas may be impacted.
Integrated Pest Management
17.Prior to issuance of a conditional use permit the applicant shall submit an integrated pest management plan (IPM) that identifies course management units (tees, greens, fairways, roughs, other areas) and details management strategies for each unit. The IPM shall address:
18. The IPM shall consider and respond to sensitive areas identified within the course boundaries including streams and wetlands by designating no chemical/pesticide application zones as appropriate, including a 200’ no spray zone around Peterson Creek tributaries.
19. The IPM shall clearly identify fertilizers and chemicals proposed for use along with their toxicity class relative to target and non-target species, mobility, solubility and persistence relative to the species and environments within and adjacent to the course boundaries including Peterson Creek.
20. The IPM shall include specific provisions for the storage and handling of pesticides, safety procedures, and contingency plan(s) in the event of a spill.
21. The IPM shall be prepared by a qualified individual or firm experienced in IPM/ITM principles applied in aquatic environments. CBJ reserves the opportunity to contract 3rd party review of the plan at the applicant’s expense per conditions 8, 9 and 10.
22. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit for the course, the site plans shall be amended to show stream buffers on the anadromous tributaries to Peterson Creek of between 100 feet and 200 feet. One hundred feet shall be considered the minimum buffer width. This width shall be increased if the department determines that field investigations implementing the approved Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan indicate modifications are necessary to support wildlife routes, or if increased buffer width is found by the department as necessary to provide windfirm buffers, to provide additional erosion protection in specific locations or to reduce subsequent wildlife management problems.
23. Prior to issuance of a grading permit the applicant shall adjust the course design so as to preserve the 1-acre landmark tree stand.
24. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall engage the services of a professional forester or other qualified professional with demonstrated expertise in the management of riparian buffers to examine soil depth, tree species, size and density, direction of prevailing and storm winds, and the shape and orientation of clearings. The Golf Course Architect shall make adjustments in the course or buffer designs as necessary to minimize, to the extent practicable, the effects of wind on stream buffers and wetland areas.
25. The practice range, as shown on the plans dated August 2000, shall be relocated so as to avoid impacting wetlands. The revised location shall be reviewed by the department as part of the grading permit.
26. Removal of vegetation in wetlands shall be minimized to the extent practicable. No stumps shall be removed in wetland areas except where necessary to accommodate road and golf cart paths.
27. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit for the maintenance building, the applicant shall amend the site plan to provide for circulation to the maintenance building and for the maintenance yard or storage area associated with the maintenance building.
28. To the extent practicable, irrigation lines should be located to avoid crossing streams and wetlands. To the extent feasible and prudent, at points where irrigation lines cross wetlands and streams, the lines shall be located above ground or under golf cart paths.
29. Utility corridors, shall, wherever feasible and prudent, be integrated with roads and other transportation corridors.
Parking and Lighting and Buildings
30. Prior to the issuance of any grading permit for parking area, the developer shall submit a final parking plan to the department for review and approval by the department.
31. As part of the final parking plan, the following shall be provided: a maximum of 82 automobile parking spaces sized to meet CBJ Land Use Code requirements, 8 RV spaces and 10 bus spaces. Should the Commission approve a significantly larger number of parking spaces, the final design shall include interior parking lot landscaping.
32. Prior to issuance of building permits for any structures, a lighting plan shall be submitted to the department for review and approval. All lighting shall be located and shielded so as not to spill over the boundaries of the golf course property. Lighting within the course area, if desired, shall be limited to path lighting along the pathways to enhance winter use.
33. The application for a building permit for the maintenance building shall describe how the building meets the Audubon International guidelines for the maintenance building construction and management. This demonstration shall be approved prior to issuance of a building permit. The physical arrangement for the storage of chemicals on site shall be approved by the CBJ Fire Marshall.
Wetland Protection and Preservation
34. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit for the golf course, the applicant shall submit for department review and approval, a wetland management plan. The plan shall describe TCI’s approach to maintaining wetland hydrology and the functional characteristics of the wetlands located on and adjacent to the course. Elements of the wetland plan shall include: periodic inspections, maintenance of proposed vegetative conditions, restoration or repair of damaged areas or enhancement plants which fail, and monitoring and record keeping.
HILLSIDE DEVELOPMENT ENDORSEMENT
35. Prior to any site preparation or construction activity, the applicant shall obtain a grading permit issued by the Community Development Department.
36. Prior to commencement of any grading on the roadway alignment, the applicant shall identify and flag the limits of cut and fill areas for review and approval by CBJ Engineering Department.
37. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit a detailed development schedule for excavation, utility installation, erosion/sediment control devices installation, slope protection/vegetation placement, and project completion.
38. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit a detailed erosion /sediment control plan which identifies types and locations of control devices, how these would be monitored and maintained, and how construction would be phased such that large areas of soils are not exposed at the same time.
39. At the CBJ Engineer’s discretion, the grading/excavation work may be halted during periods of very wet soil conditions.
40. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit a detailed site grading plan which shows how excavation and exposure of disturbed soil would be minimized and how the effects thereof would be mitigated.
41. If any material is moved and stockpiled on the project site, the applicant shall identify such locations and develop appropriate measures for soil erosion/sediment controls which shall be reviewed and approved by the CBJ Engineering Department.
42. The applicant shall place soil matting or hydro mulching on all cut and fill slopes immediately after slopes are exposed or graded. All soil matting and hydro mulching shall be left in place until permanent vegetation has been established.
43. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, a bond in the amount of $25,000 shall be submitted to CDD to guarantee maintenance of erosion control devices.
44. Prior to issuance of grading permit, a bond in the amount of $5,000 shall be submitted to CDD to guarantee the replanting of vegetation as necessary to fill in any bare spots that might occur one year after a full growing season.
45. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit to CDD a guarantee bond of $100,000 to insure the roadway and required improvements are completed as designed and approved.
46. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit to CDD an inspection fee deposit of $10,000. Any unused funds from this deposit shall be returned to the applicant upon completion of the project.
47. All mulching and planting shall be in accordance with CBJ Standard Construction Specifications.
48. Prior to the commencement of operations, the applicant shall post the speed limit of 35 miles per hour along the roadway and at 15 miles per hour at the curves and/or hills which require reduced speeds. Signs shall be posted in accordance with AASHTO standards for appropriate distance to reduced speed areas.
49. Clearing and grubbing shall be limited to between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
50. Prior to the commencement of construction of the course, the applicant shall submit to the department a traffic plan for the hauling debris from the site and sand to the site for approval by the department and DOT. The plan shall include, but not be limited to, signage, assignment and location of flaggers, road cleaning and truck wash down facilities, and the coordination of the routing and timing of construction traffic to school and peak hour periods.
51. In the event that any prehistoric, historic, or archaeological evidence is discovered during course construction, the operator shall stop work promptly in the immediate area and notify the CBJ Community Development Department and the Alaska State Historic Preservation Officer.
52. For course construction, the applicant shall employ only a qualified contractor who is experienced in golf course construction.
53. The applicant shall make at least weekly inspections of all erosion control measures, and shall also inspect all erosion and sedimentation control measures before and after each rain event. Any deficiencies shall be immediately corrected to the satisfaction of the CBJ Engineering Department or designee.
54. The applicant shall retain a qualified golf course superintendent as soon as possible after financing is secured and prior to construction to oversee implementation of sustainable practices in the development of the course as reflected in the approved plans.
55. Prior to the burning of stumps or other clearing debris, the applicant shall obtain a burn permit from the CBJ Fire Department.
56. Construction activities shall be phased and sequenced to ensure efficient and environmentally sound development of the site and shall be completed pursuant to a construction plan approved by CBJ Engineering.
57. Soils exposed after grubbing and grading shall be stabilized immediately by hydromulching or as otherwise stipulated by the Engineering Department.
58. A qualified inspector, approved by the Engineering Department, shall be present at pre-grading conferences and during any grading operations that are in or adjacent to areas where natural vegetation is to be preserved, and periodically during construction, to ensure that sensitive resources designated for preservation are properly protected.
59. During construction, wetlands, stream buffers and other natural that are adjacent to grading areas shall be temporarily fenced with stakes and plastic or otherwise protected to prevent grading or storage of heavy equipment or building materials in these habitats.
60. Entry into stream buffers and wetlands shall be prohibited except for necessary construction or management related activities, such as surveying or staking.
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE PHASE
61. Prior to operation, the applicant shall obtain a sign permit for all golf course signage.
62. The parking lot shall be chip sealed or surfaced similarly to the access road.
63. Should power lines be installed, they shall be located underground.
64. Stationary mechanical equipment shall be housed in enclosures designed to attenuate noise so as to avoid causing disturbance to adjacent property owners.
65. Prior to operation, the Water Quality and Conservation Management Plan shall be submitted to the department for review and approval.
66. The applicant shall ensure that any proposed trails on the site have specified access points and shall include interpretive signs. The signposts on the trails shall educate users about the species to be observed on the trails and their value to a balanced ecology.
67. Human intrusion into the habitat protection areas shall be restricted/controlled through measures to be specified in the detailed Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan.
68. Quarterly, or as specified in specific plans, the Golf Course Superintendent shall file with the department a record of implementation of the IPM, the Wildlife and Habitat program, the wetland preservation program, and water quality monitoring program. After two years of operation, this condition may be modified by staff to reduce or eliminate reporting requirements.
69. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall post a bond, cash deposit, or other City approved security to provide for site reclamation if the applicant is unable to complete the project. The amount shall be sufficient to enable the CBJ to complete the necessary work. The department reserves the right to seek forfeiture of the financial warranty in whole or in part in the interest of protecting the environmental, health, and general welfare requirements of the CBJ if it determines that the applicant has violated the obligations or requirements of the conditional use permit. The amount of the warranty shall be established by the Planning Commission prior to issuance of a grading permit.
70. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall post a bond or other City approved security, in the amount of $100,000, to guarantee implementation and maintenance of erosion control devices and the replanting of vegetation as required. This performance bond may be reduced based on percent completion as requested by the applicant and approved by the City Engineer, but not to an amount less than 25% of the initial amount. This 25% shall be retained as a maintenance bond for a period of two (2) years from the date of completion.
1. The Planning Commission will recommend to the Assembly that consideration of the extension of the Douglas Highway be given careful consideration in the land negotiations. Specifically, the Assembly should consider retaining an easement to accommodate future alignment of the extension.
2. The Planning Commission will recommend that the Assembly consider the winter use of this property. TCI has noted the difficulties in managing such use and protecting the turf. It may be that, subject to reasonable rules adopted by TCI, residents could use the golf course for the limited purposes of walking and cross county skiing.
Ms. Easterwood indicated that staff’s presentation was complete and Chair Dybdahl next asked for a representative of Totem Creek, Inc. to step forward with their presentation.
Totem Creek, Inc. Tom Findlay addressed the Planning Commission on behalf of TCI’s Board of Directors. Mr. Findlay introduced the other TCI board members who were in attendance: John Barnett, Tom Koester, David George and Peter Metcalf. Mr. Findlay explained that TCI is a non-profit corporation that was formed years ago to address the task of bringing a golf course to Juneau. In 1994, the CBJ issued the first RFP for a golf course and TCI was awarded the project after the first place finisher dropped out, due to financing issues. TCI's mission statement is to make a golf course happen on the land set aside by the Assembly on Douglas Island. Whether to build a course and where to build it has already been decided by the Assembly. The process TCI is now embroiled in is how to build the course. Since the initial award in 1996, TCI has spent over $500,000 on course design, on surveys and on the permitting process.
Mr. Findlay recalled the circumstances following the last public hearing, in November, 2000. The hearing concluded with CDD staff recommending 47 Conditions to the Conditional Use permit. Following the meeting, the combined work of TCI and CDD staff resulted in the winnowing down the areas in dispute. In fact, four out of eight issues of disagreement had been resolved. TCI thought that the issues were narrowed to wildlife language in the Conditions, buffers and whether the golf course was going to be a Signature or Sanctuary course. Additionally, TCI completed the Hillside Endorsement process in January 2001.
Over the past four months, the original 47 Conditions have turned into 70 Conditions. Mr. Findlay states that items that had been agreed to have now been pulled back. Items that were not considered in November, are now important to staff. TCI thought that in November, the Planning Commission would decide the disagreement over the buffer width and whether the course should be a Signature or Sanctuary program and what level of information relative to the Wildlife study was needed. Mr. Findlay recalled that TCI and CDD staff concluded that they would agree to disagree and leave the resolution to the Planning Commission.
Now there is a new staff report and Mr. Findlay has no idea how many areas are in dispute. TCI would like to decide the matter tonight because every time there is a delay, the rules change. In fact, this isn't the first time that TCI has waited and has ended up with something new demanded of them by CDD staff. Mr. Findlay reminds the Commission that staff is making recommendations. In that regard, he read from the CDD director's letter dated December 4, 1997 written to the State of Alaska in support of the Consistency Determination:
"It is recommended that the applicant shall ensure that proposed buffers are maintained in a natural and an undisturbed condition consisting of the streamside and adjacent vegetation as it currently exists on the site for a distance of 66 feet from the ordinary high water mark on every tributary of Peterson Creek."
TCI relied on Ms. Easterwood's statements that identified a buffer width of 66-feet. Based upon the written word of the City, it seemed reasonable for TCI to move forward with the golf course design. Other highlights in the permitting process for the golf course include receipt of the ACMP permit, issued on October 27, 1999, and a public hearing before the Planning Commission in November of 2000. Since that time, additional items have arisen including landmark trees, the need for a site map showing all tributaries going to Peterson Creek, criticism of the pest management plan, the issue of windfirm and the wildlife plan. Staff continues to state that TCI must meet the Signature program requirements and the buffers should be greater than 66 feet. Based upon this, TCI said that they would try to map tributaries onto Goldbelt property. In fact a preliminary map is available. However, Mr. Findlay argues that the modified map should not be a requirement of the Conditional Use permit. TCI is sensitive to the new item of landmark trees and their protection can be accommodated within the current design of the course. Where they can, TCI has incorporated the good ideas into the plans.
Integrated Pest Management Plan:
Regard to the pest management plan, TCI is more than surprised by CDD's requirements. Mr. Findlay states that TCI brought in Juneau's best expert to develop the grass at the proposed golf course. David Lendrum testified that pesticides are not needed to grow grass in Juneau and his testimony has since been updated with more information. Contrary to their local expert's representation, TCI is told that their application should be denied because they didn't provide a list of the pesticides that they are not going to use.
Mr. Kendziorek interjected his recollection that TCI had reserved the right to use pesticides and that they did not state that pesticides would not be used. Was TCI now stating that they would not use pesticides on the golf course? Mr. Findlay said that TCI asked Mr. Lendrum, 'do you need pesticides to grow grass in Alaska?' Mr. Lendrum said historically, no. Is that the end of the story? Mr. Lendrum answered that he cannot say what will occur in the future. Therefore, TCI asks that prior to application of any previously unused fertilizer or pesticide on the course, they will submit an amended pest management plan that includes assessment of the targeted pest, use of the chemical within the content of the identified course management needs and details and management strategies for each unit. In other words, TCI wants to try to build the course as Mr. Lendrum said could be done: without pesticides. If after a year or two years or more, the need to use a pesticide comes up, it’s covered in their pest management plan.
Ms. Gladziszewski asked for TCI to clarify their term, 'pesticide.' Mr. Findlay said that pesticide includes both insecticides for insect pests as well as fertilizers. Ms. Gladziszewski noted that her experience in growing grass proved to be more complex of a situation than Mr. Lendrum represented. Mr. Findlay agreed, adding that TCI had a threefold approach. TCI found the local person with the most knowledge, TCI is doing its best to keep chemicals off the grass, yet if there is a need to use chemicals, TCI shall be bound by a Condition to come before the appropriate agencies for review and approval.
Mr. Allington clarified that if staff wants TCI to submit a pest management plan and TCI's plan is to do nothing at this time, why not submit an IPM and amend it later? Mr. Findlay indicated that they did just that. He added that TCI could go and predict any and all pests that might appear or they can set up a roadblock to using any chemicals on the course until the proper steps are taken. He emphasized that TCI is not looking for carte blanche.
Mr. Kendziorek stated that a significant aspect of an IMP is the anticipation of the potential pests. This is done by getting experts to analyze the individual environmental circumstances of the site. With respect to TCI's expert, the lay people in the room have been able to identify plenty of pests including: mosses, crane flies, pink snow mold among others. Mr. Kendziorek thought that a professional IPM would envision chemicals used to counteract the anticipated pests should it become necessary. While he commended TCI's willingness to amend their plan, the Assembly’s Resolution 18-11 stipulates that the project is no less stringent than what is required by Audubon (whichever program is chosen). TCI’s IPM should address what is now known to occur. He argued that TCI's pest management plan didn't address any pests. Mr. Kendziorek thought these items should be included.
Mr. Findlay deferred Mr. Kendziorek's question to David Lendrum who had not yet arrived at the meeting.
Ms. Gladziszewski pointed out that Jim Douglas of the Cooperative Extension Service was in attendance and could possibly answer some questions that the Planning Commission might have in the absence of David Lendrum.
Mr. Allington added that most people with lawns in Juneau have experienced some pests and he thought that at the least, those common pests needed to be addressed in TCI's pest management plan. A plan with specifics must be submitted rather than a plan dealing only with generalities.
Ms. Gladziszewski added that it depended on what quality of lawn TCI expected to have. What quality of turf did TCI's clientele demand? The answer seemed to be an indicator of how many pesticides TCI would employ.
Mr. Findlay turned to the issue of the buffers. He stated that TCI was surprised that at the November public hearing, staff called K. Koski forward to testify without prior notification. In rebuttal to Mr. Koski's assertion that the 66-foot buffer was not based on scientific evidence, TCI has learned otherwise. Mr. Koski wrote that the 66-foot buffer captured 95% of the nutrients. If the buffer is extended to 100-feet, the capture rate increases to 99%. A 66-foot standard is based on the fact that 95% of nutrients are captured within that margin. The question is whether it's worth the effort to go 50% farther out for a 4% benefit. He reminded that TCI isn't placing K-Mart's parking lot next to an anadromous fish stream, rather the buffer shall be further buffered with grass. Grass is a great filter and it is employed to capture sediment and pollutants.
The other point is that based on the City's recommendation of a 66-foot buffer, TCI moved forward to design the golf course. Mr. Findlay argues that the City must be held accountable when it tells the public what the rules are going to be. The City should have to follow the rules as well.
Mr. Bruce asked in light of the proposed language that TCI submitted on March 19, 2001, is the 66-foot still an issue? Mr. Findlay indicated that TCI was willing to expand the buffers to 100-feet so long as there was some flexibility where necessary. More specifically, where the buffer’s wind firmness was at issue, TCI wants to use the 66 to 100-foot area to create the hedging or feathering. If TCI is not held to a rigid 100-foot buffer, they would like to design the course so that a fairway could encroach somewhat (but not pass 66-feet) then TCI would have the flexibility to build a good course and the windfirmness problem would also be solved.
Mr. Kendziorek noted that the map indicates 100-foot buffer and the several areas where TCI would request flexibility. He thought that there were very few areas of conflict where the buffer impinges on the course. Why was TCI raising this issue? Mr. Findlay indicated that if the design were approved, then there would indeed be no problem with reducing the buffer below 100-feet. However, if the Planning Commission redesigns the course, again, TCI requests flexibility.
Mr. Sanford asked if TCI has tried to adjust the fairways to accommodate the 100-foot buffer? Mr. Findlay indicated that in reality, when a golf course is being built, designers need flexibility to address all of the issues laid out in the Conditional Use permit. TCI requests the flexibility to design a classy course. To do so, they will attempt to stay 100-feet away from streams. It is difficult to transpose the concept from a map to the construction site, however.
Mr. Bavard noted that staff doesn't consider the maps presented by TCI to be an adequate site plan. Does TCI agree? Mr. Findlay says that staff claims their maps to be inadequate because they do not show the creeks on the site extending off of Totem Creek's property and onto Goldbelt land, which is private property.
Diane Mayer, a consultant for TCI displayed the site plan that now indicates the streams and how they continue from the buffered area onto Goldbelt lands. While there is more fieldwork to be done, the new mapping is a product of GPS mapping and it is considerably more accurate.
Mr. Findlay suggests that the windfirm issue is resolved in the 66 to 100-foot section of the buffer. TCI is willing to hire an expert to determine this. He added that even though wind throw is a natural phenomenon, the buffers would also naturally evolve into windfirm buffers.
For his final point, Mr. Findlay's presentation focused on the Signature/Sanctuary issue. TCI has never said they would be an Audubon Signature golf course. Supporting his assertion, he quoted from Ms. Easterwood's December, 1997 letter: "It will be the equivalent to an Audubon Sanctuary program." As far back as 1997, the CBJ states that Totem Creek will be Sanctuary program yet today, they are saying that Totem Creek will be a Signature program. He reminded Commissioners that the Signature program requires that the course designer be imported from New York or Kentucky. TCI has never intended for anyone other than Bill Robinson to design Totem Creek's course. However, TCI has always said they would be a Sanctuary course.
John Barrett of TCI added that the Audubon Signature and Sanctuary programs are a product of Audubon, International, which are funded primarily by the United States Golf Association. The Sanctuary program is a stewardship program that assists in the maintenance and operation the course. Nationwide, there are about 2,300 golf courses that are members of the Sanctuary program. In contrast, the Signature program actually designs the course. Totem Creek's course design essentially has been designed and dictated by the Army Corps of Engineers, the presence of wetlands and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game during the Consistency Review process. In 2000, only two out of the 524 golf courses opened that year were Signature golf courses. The green fees for the two Signature courses were $111 and $105 for a round of golf. In Alaska, the average green fee is $37.50. Mr. Barrett said that the City also directed TCI that the course would be privately owned and operated but open to the public with reasonable green fees. If TCI must redesign the course in the Signature program, the green fees would be prohibitively high. Mr. Barrett cited other statistics for the Commission’s consideration: out of the 16,000 golf courses in the US, currently 22 courses have Signature status. 34 courses that originated with Signature status were deactivated due to the expense of operating. Mr. Barrett maintains that what CDD staff was requiring of TCI was inconsistent with what they were told in the past and he hoped the Planning Commission would find their existing equivalent program satisfactory.
Mr. Kendziorek didn't recall that the Commission required that the course be an Audubon Signature level course. However, Resolution 1811 is clear stating that the course has to be "no less stringent than. " Key elements of the course must follow the precepts of Audubon International. He commended TCI for what it has accomplished adding that they must do more and is "no less stringent." Mr. Kendziorek interpreted that to mean the unique environmental characteristics of Southeast Alaska are considered in the design. The Commission must have Findings stating that TCI meets the general ideas specifically, the IPM, wildlife study and stream buffers. Mr. Kendziorek noted the requirement to identify the tributaries. Quoting from Resolution 18-11, "CBJ shall retain ownership or control through conservation easements or other means of the Wetlands areas along Peterson Creek and its tributaries." He explains that CDD staff must ask for that information, because those are the rules.
Mr. Findlay thanked Mr. Kendziorek for his comments stating that TCI is working to create a pest management plan that comes close to no pesticides. Regarding wildlife, TCI has completed some work and that will continues. Nevertheless, TCI hears from staff that the golf course must is equivalent to the Signature program not the Sanctuary program.
Mr. Kendziorek asked if the Sanctuary program asked for an IPM or a wildlife study and plan? Mr. Findlay indicated that it did adding that the Sanctuary plan says, "you have a course, now maximize the operation of that course so that it takes into consideration habitat and wildlife, assuming that the course is in existence at the time. It also contains a community outreach program.
Wildlife Management Plan
Diane Mayer, consultant to TCI addressed the wildlife management plan. Ms. Mayer has been working with biologists Greg Streveler and Bob Armstrong on the formulation of the plan. She notes that TCI has already submitted plans to staff. The plans outline a broad view of the course: the issues, what needs to be done and when, when TCI needs to put people in place to determine that the proper assessment is done. Within this structure, there are two tiers: what information is needed for the design and what information is needed for operation.
Implementation of Phase I involved field reconnaissance trips on two separate occasions by Mr. Streveler and Mr. Armstrong. They've completed extensive interviews with biologists and naturalists who have frequented the area. They've looked at all public research and common knowledge. Basically, this study confirms what they have known as Ms. Mayer summarized:
Ms. Mayer states the issue: are the impacts associated with the land conversion reasonably acceptable or does the applicant need a more in depth study of the impacts. The work completed indicates that the land conversion will displace the birds in the trees that will be removed. The birds of concern include a pair of goshawks, which may nest around the site, marbled murrelets that are in the area and which are possibly declining in Alaska. Townsend's warblers are of concern to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game due to the decline of their winter habitat in Mexico. The Pacific slope flycatcher and the Wilson's warbler are other migrating species affected by the removal of trees.
Other issues are the removal of snags and birds associated: woodpeckers and owls. Breeding birds could also be disrupted by construction. Finally, the edge effect created by the fairways could favor Stellar's jay, which is also known to prey on songbirds. These are the impacts that are likely to occur as a result of the forest conversion. Ms. Mayer asks if it is necessary for TCI to conduct additional studies to delve deeper. TCI doesn't think that more studies will solve the impacts of the conversion on birds.
Conversion of old growth forests will also reduce over-wintering habitat for deer and flying squirrel habitat. Conversion may also impact both mink and otter habitat. Human use of the area may interrupt use by deer or bear, however, it was noted that the area is surprisingly under-utilized by mammals.
The biologists have raised several management concerns such as streamside vegetation for erosion control, stream functions and wildlife. Consequently, Mr. Streveler and Mr. Armstrong both favor 100-foot buffers in their recommendation. Associated with the buffers is the issue of wind firmness. Ms. Mayor notes that at the November hearing, TCI resisted committing to a windfirmness study citing the inexact and undefined methods employed in dealing with wind firmness. As well, TCI sees this aspect as a regulatory matter rather than a management matter. While TCI was reluctant to get behind the idea, Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Streveler say it’s a good idea to proceed with the windfirm study so TCI will comply.
The biologists were also concerned for the potential alteration of groundwater flow during the construction of the course. The concern lay with the importance of the groundwater on cooling and moderating the temperature of streams. Ms. Mayer added that Mr. Streveler and Mr. Armstrong were unaware that TCI had previously dug 28 soil pits throughout the area and had made some preliminary discoveries related to groundwater. Several pits that uncovered groundwater at the four-foot depth resulted in the alteration of the course footprint to avoid the areas. The remaining holes on the site didn’t draw water down to at least seven feet.
The biologists had a management concern that TCI should design a procedure to deal with the eventuality of a goshawk nest discovered during construction. As well, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers running off into Peterson Creek concerned them. However, Ms. Mayer argues, TCI has demonstrated through their water quality management plan, erosion control plan and integrated pest management plan that they are focused on water quality issues as well.
Ms. Mayer commented on the pest management plan. She said TCI’s plan contains all of the principals that Mr. Graham has requested. Not only that, but participation in the Sanctuary program gives courses the forms used to manage the plan. Ms. Mayer said TCI’s first priority is to omit the use of pesticides, which is supported by expert testimony that use of pesticides isn’t likely if cultural practices are employed. Simply, there is a debate going over whether TCI needs to guess now or design a strategy once a pest resistant turf has been selected. There is no technical disagreement beyond the timing issue. At any rate, the IPM will be in place before anything is applied.
The wildlife reconnaissance study anticipates that geese and deer may become pests on the golf course and a management plan may necessary to keep them off of the turf. Other potential conflicts such as bear encounters warrant avoidance plans, as well as strict waste disposal systems are in place. Ms. Mayer notes that the field studies revealed more chewing activities by porcupine in the last five years than in the prior century. In fact, many old growth trees are extremely debarked and the porcupine population may have to be managed.
TCI maintains that these issues are management issues and are not related to the development phase of the golf course.
Biologists indicate that the surest way to enhance the use of the area by wildlife is to prohibit hunting, trapping and dogs on the property. TCI has developed stipulations in response to that recommendation as well. Predator-proof nesting boxes are simple procedures that could be employed to encourage the proliferation of songbirds. Nesting boxes for bats could also be utilized for insect control. These recommendations are all a part of the Armstrong-Streveler study. Ms. Easterwood mentioned several times that more studies are needed. TCI argues that with all of the studies completed to date, the biologists have not uncovered any new information. It comes down to the impacts to birds and mammals, which are known and have been discussed. Any further developments regarding wildlife relate to the operation phase. For example, how shall the porcupines be managed? After hunting and trapping have been banned and the deer return, how shall they be managed?
Ms. Mayer referred the Commission's attention to TCI's proposed Conditions based on Fish and Wildlife Recommendations to highlight the types of concessions TCI was willing to make:
"Prior to the issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall engage the services of a professional forester or other qualified professional with demonstrated expertise in the management of riparian buffers to examine soil depth, tree species, size and density, direction of prevailing and storm winds, and the shape and orientation of clearings. The Golf Course Architect shall make adjustments in the course or buffer designs as
Contouring of buffers within 66-feet shall be avoided. "
In closing, Ms. Mayer states that TCI has a wildlife plan. Phase I of the plan, the reconnaissance fieldwork has been completed. Should the Conditional Use permit be granted, further studies related to the operational aspects will be completed. She also pointed out that Mr. Armstrong reviewed the wildlife plan review presentation and he indicated to Ms. Mayer that it was an accurate representation of his own work. She also demonstrated to the Planning Commission on an overhead projector the vast number of citations to interviews or documents dealing with the proposed site that are in the report. Ms. Mayer stated that volumes of materials had been reviewed and on-site reconnaissance resulted in an accurate snapshot of the habitat and the wildlife in the area.
Mr. Sanford asked if TCI had the actual Phase I Wildlife Management plan document completed or was it a rough draft. Ms. Mayer stated that the final report was in a rough draft form. She emphasized that there is a plan before the Planning Commission and it is being implemented. TCI didn't realize that the staff report called for a finalized Wildlife Study was required.
Mr. Sanford asked when Ms. Mayer anticipated that the finalized Wildlife Management plan would be completed. Ms. Mayer stated that the information she had just provided was complete. TCI thinks that the Planning Commission could also make that determination.
Mr. Kendziorek reminded TCI of the Thane Neighborhood Association court decision and the danger of data phasing. It was important to the process that the Commission makes sound Findings so that their determination would not be overturned on appeal. Having stated that, he asked Ms. Mayer how could the Commission move forward with the permit without the data in hand. He encouraged TCI to get the Wildlife Management plan written up and submitted to the Planning Commission so that they might review it and make good findings of fact.
Mr. Bruce asked Ms. Mayer if she anticipated whether or not the findings in the wildlife study would change between now and the completion of a final report? Ms. Mayer said that nothing would change.
Mr. Allington noted that there is a plethora of information ranging from the IPM and the wildlife and habitat information. However, the Commission has not been presented the information in a concise format. The Commission requires a plan but as presented, the information is unusable. Ms. Mayer responded by questioning whether more information about the impacts of the golf course on the wildlife and habitat are needed. Where in the impacts is there a red flag that needs more work. The next set of information deals with management concerns and opportunities. The reason that the data has to be phased is because, TCI didn't anticipate without a preliminary reconnaissance study that dealing with porcupines would be beneficial at the operational stage. Does that now mean that TCI must design a study to state exactly how TCI will manage a porcupine problem? To make that kind of investment at this time seems unwarranted.
Mr. Allington stated again that how the information has been received is confusing. It seems like a lot of information is couched in the terms, "should" or "would" rather than, "we will" or "we shall." As well, TCI presents their information as bullets rather than narrative. Mr. Allington personally didn't see the need for new information; it just needed to be presented in a better format so that it’s understandable.
Mr. Bruce recalled from the November hearing that a much concern focused on the bear habitat. Tonight’s testimony indicates that there will be little impacts on bear habitat. Ms. Mayer reiterated that the reconnaissance work turned up no evidence a high use bear area. While the reconnaissance work involved only two days of criss-crossing the property, it confirmed the work of the stream survey people. There just isn't bear scat around. The prevailing view is that the bears cross from the tidelands to the hillside via a corridor on the edge of the fairways.
Mr. Bruce noted that from the applicant's point of view, there is enough evidence for the Planning Commission to make Findings that there won't be substantial impacts on bear habitat and no further study is warranted.
Mr. Kendziorek noted that the reconnaissance work was based upon two days of fieldwork during winter. Ms. Mayer said that the field visits involved the men transecting the entire site to analyze its features. As well, the two days of field reconnaissance was followed with interviews with biologists and naturalists who are familiar with the area. All the available public research and common knowledge about the area was reviewed as well.
Mr. Kendziorek made reference to an earlier response that TCI did not anticipate changes with the Phase II study. Mr. Bruce clarified that his earlier question: Would TCI's findings change between now and when the biologists reduce their report into a final version?" To that question, Ms. Mayer answered no.
Chair Dybdahl called for short recess at 8:30 p.m.
Following the recess, Chair Dybdahl announced that the object of tonight's meeting was to proceed to a vote on whether or not the application was complete. If the Planning Commission determines the application to be complete, then the meeting will be recessed to afford staff an opportunity to complete their Findings. Should the Commission determine that the application is incomplete, the hearing will be continued until all the information has been received. He noted that many of the 23 individuals who signed up to testify might wish to speak their support or opposition to the project. Mr. Dybdahl said, with respect, that that would not be helpful at this point. Chair Dybdahl asked that public testimony be limited to gathering additional information necessary to determine if the application was complete.
John Barnett, President of Totem Creek, Inc. and President of the Juneau Golf Club issued TCI's closing remarks. Mr. Barnett noted that tonight's meeting was the culmination of a 20-year project to bring a golf course to Juneau. Contrary to being a defined process, dealing with CDD has been like aiming at a moving target. TCI has had to deal with a hostile and biased staff, which also changes the rules as they go. There seems to be no end to the amount of information that is requested. TCI feels that their application is complete and that the additional information at this point is for the operational phase of the course and not for the design and construction phase. A major effort to put the application together has been made and he urged the Commission to vote in favor of a complete application so that they can turn to the specific Conditions of the permit. TCI is anxious to start to work on the project in which the CBJ selected them to do.
Gary Murdoch, 9476 Eagle Street, cited numerous examples of golf courses that coincide with streams and habitat. For example, Trophy Lake in Bellingham, Washington also has fly-fishing ponds set up to accommodate an equal number of fly fishermen enjoying the resort. Elmendorf in Anchorage has a major fish stream that transects their golf course several times. Moose Run at Fort Richardson also has streams. Palmer has a major river passing by their golf course and one course in Whitehorse also is adjacent to streams.
Mark Rorick, appears on behalf of the Juneau Group of the Sierra Club. Mr. Rorick informed the Commission that the 66-foot buffer required by the Tongass Land Use Management Plan for timber harvest was obtained by Senator Stevens against the advise of many forestry biologists. Even 100-feet is a minimal requirement, as it does not afford protection for mammals. He also noted that blow-down was an inevitable consequence of forest openings. He pointed to the frequent salvage sales conducted by the USFS as a result of the forests unraveling. Mr. Rorick raised a series of questions for the Commission to consider prior to granting the permit to TCI: what happens when the golf course goes bankrupt? Will the investors end up with the property and build condos? Who will the investors be? Will Goldbelt Corp. end up owning even more of North Douglas? His point being that when valuable public land is turned over to private concerns for absurdly low prices for dubious fantasies, the public must know the full details. He suggested that the land be leased so that if the golf course fails, the land reverts to the City.
Bob Wild, declined to testify in that he wished to state his support of the golf course.
Dave Gregovich, appeared on behalf of the Juneau Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Mr. Gregovich supported the staff's conclusion of an incomplete application. The following items, which have not yet been received, have particular relevance to potential fish habitat impacts and have not yet been provided:
Trout Unlimited wanted to be proactive in their approach to Peterson Creek's protection. In that way, they may avoid habitat restoration projects in the future.
Matt Kirchoff, 425 Judy Lane, said he was frustrated by the amount of information that has accumulated and it is difficult for a member of the public to access it. Specifically, he refers to the number of emails and he suggests a coherent method of collection of that type of information so that the public can readily access it.
Mr. Kirchoff addressed several common sense issues. Can grass really be grown in Juneau without fertilizers or pesticides? He notes that everyone else in Juneau has problems with moss. He suggests a task force of experts be convened to see if TCI's plan is realistic. As well, Mr. Kirchoff supported disclosure by TCI of what types of chemicals are foreseeable. He also predicts that construction of the course will require fill and he was interested in what impacts that would have on the habitat.
Greg Wagoner, deferred testimony but noted that he supported the Totem Creek project.
Nancy Waterman, 227Gastineau Avenue, cited Policy 3.4 of the Comprehensive Plan that referred to the protection of watersheds that could potentially be tapped for water supplies. An item that has not been addressed yet was the public use water rights in the Peterson Creek watershed and she suggests that it be discussed. As well, Policy 3.1 calls for a higher level of protection for non-urban shorelines in public ownership. Further, on publicly owned land a 200-foot buffer is called for. Having said that, she notes that staff is requesting a minimal buffer, which is far short of the higher standard called for in the Comprehensive Plan's policy statements.
Mr. Kendziorek commented that at the November meeting, a number of neighbors expressed water quality concerns. In TCI's Water Quality Assurance Project Plan and Monitoring documents, they discuss water quality at length. He notes that the issue has been discussed and addressed by the applicant.
Ms. Waterman clarified that her concern was not so much about the quality of water but the quantity. As well, water rights is based upon the "use it or lose it" principle and she suggested that the CBJ look at what was in the public's best interest in terms of reserving water rights for future development of a public water supply.
Mr. Allington noted that Alaska is an appropriation state where the water belongs to the public and it's dispersal is controlled by the Department of Natural Resources.
Mr. Kendziorek referred once again to TCI's Water Conservation Environmental Sanctuary Plan, and noted that it addressed some of Ms. Waterman's concern.
Julie Penn, 6731 Marguerite Street, raised five questions in which she has not heard testimony on.
She urged the Commission to support the excellent work of staff and vote for an incomplete application until all of the outstanding questions are answered.
Kevin Meyers, 1030 Wee Burn Drive, doesn't believe that people would even want to go to a golf course in a rain forest and he wondered how the course could be kept playable. To answer the question, Mr. Meyers called several greens keepers in Washington to discuss the practical problems with the amount of rainfall that Juneau has. One keeper said he'd hate to be responsible for the Juneau course as the turf must be dry when its cut and it must be cut every day. If not, there is a significant amount of stress that leads to fertilizer. The keepers spoke about the installation of piping under the greens to facilitate drainage. This would also create run-off issues.
Ann Fuller, discussed crane flies with the Planning Commission. A local told a visiting entomologist that there were at least two crane flies around Juneau. After a two-week visit, the entomologist replied that there were at least 200 species of crane flies in Juneau. Ms. Fuller also commented on TCI's characterization of the buffer width. The figures stated that 100-foot buffer filters 99% of sediment and pollutants while a 66-foot buffer filters 95%. TCI described that an additional 44-feet provided only 4% more filtration. She suggested an alternative way to consider that figure is that a 66-foot buffer allows 5 times the sediment and pollution into the streams.
Kathy Hocker, 7995 North Douglas Highway, has read the staff report and she strongly supports it, as more information is needed. Ms. Hocker discussed the unique land formation of the proposed site. Totem Creek sits on an alluvial fan, which have very unique properties. In general, they are well drained and are good growing habitats. Hence, the largest trees in Southeast Alaska are found in on alluvial fans. Their drainage systems are very complex with many intermittent streams and may only appear above ground during excessive rain periods.
Ms. Hocker is concerned by the loss of a rare and pristine forest system surrounding the landmark trees. She notes that the landmark trees are a part of the larger system on the alluvial fan. Even the Tongass Land Management Plan affords fans more special protection in logging areas than what is planned for the proposed golf course. Harvest operations must maintain buffers of 140 feet from existing streams across the fans or the active portion of the alluvial fan, which ever is greater. If the Planning Commission wishes to adhere to the standards of the ACMP, it will consider the alluvial fans as systems rather than narrow streams. Ms. Hocker didn’t think that TCI had considered the dynamic nature of the alluvial fans streams in their plan. She feared that the unpleasant consequence of their disregard would be the eventual channelization of the streams similar to what has been done to Gold Creek as it travels down the alluvial fan to the Gastineau Channel.
Beth Liebowitz, 9123 North Douglas Highway, comments that as a member of the public, she is gratified that CDD staff’s changing requests for information are in response to issues raised in public hearing. She is concerned by the dynamic nature of the alluvial fans and the news that the steams may meander. She wonders how effective the buffers will be if the streams wander away from them. Ms. Liebowitz is delighted that TCI doesn’t plan on using pesticides but she wants them to accept a Condition stating exactly that. If TCI thinks they might need to use pesticides, the must make full disclosure now.
Joyce Levine, 823 6th Street, speaks in support of protecting the alluvial fans. She hasn’t seen anything in the staff report that addressed this feature and she thinks this should be addressed. Ms. Levine was shocked that the biologists invested two days in winter on the project site to complete the wildlife study. She thinks TCI must state what herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers it will likely use on the turf. If there is a chance for the chemicals to drain into Peterson Creek, perhaps they ought not to use them at all.
Jim Ferguson, is retired from the Department of Environmental Conservation, where he was the Forest Practices Act Chief. During his professional life, he’s seen hundreds of logging sites and that is what he comments about now. The proposed site is fairly flat and he expects that a shovel yarding system will be used to log. The ground will be chewed up and turned into a morass. Winter logging should be considered as a way to mitigate the potential damage. He also considered the site to be at a high risk for windthrow. If the 100-foot buffer is to be maintained, Mr. Ferguson recommends that a wider buffer be considered. He recommends staff review the Tongass Land Management Plan’s Riparian Standards manual that discusses logging on sensitive areas such as alluvial fans. It discusses windthrow buffers as well as streamside buffers as they relate to alluvial fans. Adding to Ms. Hocker’s comments on alluvial fans, he says any good USFS engineer would testify that they avoid dealing with these areas. As well, the USFS allows very little logging in these areas because of the instability of alluvial fans.
Ms. Gladziszewski asked for Mr. Ferguson to elaborate on his comments that the USFS would not likely log a location such as the project site. Mr. Ferguson said that the area is messy because it is so wet. When a tracked yarder with treads moves across the site, it chews up the ground. A cable system is preferable, but the project site is flat and there isn’t a way to get logs off the ground.
Jim Douglas, 9579 Meadow Lane, is the District Extension Agent for the Cooperative Extension Service in Juneau. Mr. Douglas said he was asked by a Planning Commission member to attend the hearing for a second opinion regarding lawns. Mr. Douglas recommended in Prosser, Washington there are true turf management specialists that deal with all of the golf courses in that state. He said there is no way to avoid snow mold or red thread. Red thread is treated with applications of fungicides or high nitrogen fertilizers. At a minimum, five pounds of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet will be required to maintain the growth of grass on a golf course. Mr. Douglas noted that if the club members will tolerate a less than adequate course then pesticides can be limited. He advises that good turf is determined by how well the grass holds the ball off the turf. Mr. Douglas cannot imagine avoiding the use of fertilizers and pesticides on a golf course. Some types are worse than others and the experts in Prosser can instruct on the types of chemicals that could be used without harming the environment.
Richard Carstensen, 160 Behrends Avenue, appeared to discuss the Landmark Tree Project. Mr. Carstensen has continued his mapping and now has an accurate location for the tree stands. The trees at Peterson Creek are the second highest scoring trees out of eight landmark sites that have been identified on the Juneau road system. The center of landmark tree site no. 64 lies 235 feet down slope from the TCI’s centerline. The landmark site encompasses about an acre in proximity to hole no. 7. Mr. Carstensen is grateful that TCI is willing for their willingness to protect the stands in the design of their fairway. He had no recommendation with regard to how much of a buffer is needed to protect a stand of trees that are 150 to 200 feet tall, but he suspected that a 100-foot buffer was dubious.
There are several other stands of large and majestic trees in the vicinity of TCI. Laying an acreage grid over TCI’s proposed project site, Mr. Carstensen estimated that there is about 1,000 acres in the lower Peterson Creek watershed. The four alluvial fans occupy about 95 acres or 10% of the acreage. The combination of the proposed fairways and rough would eliminate about 56% of the first fan, 70% of the second, 61% of the third and 58% of the fourth fan for a total of 61% of the 95 acres of alluvial forest. The result is the loss of many of the majestic trees in the area. Coupled with windthrow, many other trees would fall as the forest unravels. Peterson Creek watershed is a rare and productive habitat that deserves to be protected.
Catherine Pohl, is a habitat biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Ms. Pohl reiterated for the Planning Commission exactly what resources are in the Peterson Creek watershed. The creek includes coho salmon, cutthroat, pink, chum and Dolly Varden. The alluvial fans are very important to the hydrology of the streams. She noted that staff has cited at least 12 streams flowing through the alluvial fans, yet TCI’s map only indicate four of them. The habitat is considered valuable and vulnerable by the State of Alaska. Ms. Pohl announced that the State of Alaska has funds from Sustainable Salmon program for the study of salmon rearing habitat and Peterson Creek is a recipient of those funds and it will be studied. With regard to buffers, she agrees that the buffer width must be adjusted out to at least 150 to 200 feet to protect the landmark trees.
Glen Merrill, 526 5th Street, is the Chief Resources Analyst for the Aleutians East Borough but he is speaking only for himself. He is concerned about the amount of information that has been made available to the public and the degree to which it has been reviewed. He urges that the applicant present a clearer understanding of the wildlife and that the impacts on the wildlife be fully articulated. Without a scientific report available, how can an assessment of the methodology be made?
Ora Landau, 410 Calhoun Avenue, #5, urged the Planning Commission to look at the impacts that are both short term and long term. She hopes the Commission is firm in their request for information that is adequate to make a sound decision. She finds it interesting that the biologists are not present and she doesn’t consider a summary of their report sufficient. Regarding buffers, Ms. Landau suggests that buffer width be set at whatever is necessary, whether that is 150 feet or 200 feet. She applauds the Planning Commission for following up with requests for more information when red flags have gone up.
Bob Urata, is a local physician and he supported the development because it is good for people's health. He has many patients in Juneau who are overweight and they don’t get enough exercise. Golf is a good exercise that many people will partake in. Most importantly, golf is accessible for the elderly. Granted, the course will affect the environment. However, it has been proven all over the country that impacts can be mitigated and he believes Totem Creek will do the right thing. Dr. Urata believes that CDD staff has set the bar very high. While that can be a good thing, sacrifices have to be made when development extends past city limits into the wilderness. Accommodating the City’s growth is a reasonable thing to do so that healthy activities are promoted.
David George, 9500 North Douglas Highway, is a board member of Totem Creek and a resident of North Douglas. Mr. George wanted to clear up a misapprehension on the part of the Planning Commission with regard to the various plans that TCI must submit. The plans were not required by law, but it is something that TCI agreed to when they underwent the Consistency Review process.
TCI’s has tried to put a plan in place where they monitor the course and deal with problems in a responsible way. Mr. George maintains that this plan provides more protection than that required by Audubon. Audubon provides forms for regular monitoring and when a problem arises, contact is made and instructions are given. No reporting to a governmental agency is included in Audubon. TCI proposes to follow the Audubon plan, and if problems arise, they will be reported to the CDD. Mr. George states that approach provides more protection than predicting what problems may arise and off TCI goes with no more need to report on problems. He asks the Planning Commission approve of their methodology for dealing with unknown problems as well as known problems.
Mr. Allington noted that expert testimony clearly stated that problems would develop. It seemed reasonable to develop an IPM based on the most probable things that Totem Creek will encounter and still leave open what happens if something comes up that no one has thought about. Mr. George said that Mr. Allington’s suggestion was a "what-if" game. TCI could prepare a hit list of likely problems but exactly how to deal with each problem would be circumstantially specific, however. Mr. Allington maintained that the Planning Commission needed a complete IPM plan in hand.
Mr. Bruce asked staff why a Condition couldn’t be added stating that, "in the use of their pest management plan, TCI shall not violate state and federal water qualities." Why did the applicant need to state exactly what chemical agents might be used? Ms. Easterwood said that the Supreme Court rejected that approach in the Thane Neighborhood Association case. The Court held that a permit could not be conditioned on the premise that a standard will be met. The Planning Commission must require evidence to show that the standard will be met.
Mr. Bruce asked why a performance standard in the operation of the project rise to the level of phasing? Ms. Easterwood said that the Court identified two types of phasing: data phasing and project phasing. Data phasing is a concern if the Planning Commission makes Findings based on work or studies that will happen in the future.
Mr. Bruce suggested that Conditions stating, pesticides and herbicides that are used by Totem Creek shall not exceed certain levels. If TCI is required to report a problem and identify their plan of action before they can take action then the safe guard is there. Oscar Graham responded to Mr. Bruce’s comments. CDD is trying to describe a fundamental element of the planning process where the applicant must try to anticipate impacts so that they can plan to control or mitigate those impacts.
Mr. Bruce thought that setting performance standards for the golf course to meet was workable. The next step occurs when a problem arises and the operators come to CDD for review of their plan for action and then you agree on tactics and chemicals to confront the problem. Mr. Graham suggested that the ability to address design changes in the early phases of the project is forfeited with that approach.
Mr. Bruce how does the IPM impact the design of the course?
Mr. Allington asked how production of an IPM at this stage of the project would change the design of the course? Mr. Graham directed the conversation to site specificity. The application of certain chemical agents within proximity to known waterbodies would be addressed in the IPM. Most areas on the golf course would be "application zones" whereas areas adjacent to waterbodies and wetlands, tributaries and streams would be designated "no application zones." This is done so that CDD can plan, predict and control what the effects of chemical use are going to be on the aquatic systems.
Mr. Allington asked if there was a way to accept the applicant’s suggested language with additional Conditions that chemicals won’t be used in the buffer areas. Mr. Graham maintained that data must be collected during the planning process and it was inadvisable to condition the project in such a fashion.
Chair Dybdahl announced that Public Testimony was closed and he called a short recess.
Following the recess, Mr. Dybdahl announced that the discussion would continue to see if there was common ground between TCI and staff. Following the discussion, the Chair would call for a motion to continue the hearing since there was not a consensus among the Commission that the application was complete.
Mr. Bavard noted that the have not made any progress towards resolving the Conditional Use permit.
Mr. Bruce raised the controversy of the Signature and Sanctuary program and CDD staff’s recommendation that the Signature program is the appropriate for TCI. He thought that staff had raised the bar so high that no one in Southeast Alaska could meet that. Ms. Easterwood replied that Audubon staff maintains that wise resource management often translates into less expense later on. She admitted that 22 wasn’t a large number of courses in the Signature program. However, 86 courses are in the process of development. The Signature courses are located all over the US.
Mr. Bruce said TCI employed a golf course designer renowned for designing around environmentally sensitive areas. Not only are there the standards of the Environmental Principals for Golf Courses in the United States but also there are the attached Audubon International Principles for Sustainable Resource Development. That seemed redundant. Ms. Easterwood said that the Sustainable Principles for Resource Development are very general terms.
Mr. Kendziorek referred to Resolution 1811 that states the golf course must have standards that are no less stringent than Audubon. Either way, the focus is on what must be known before the Planning Commission can make good findings of fact; meet the Conditional Use requirements and the requirements of Resolution 1811. What is clearly needed are the IPM, Phase II of the wildlife and habitat management plan, and good windfirm buffers.
Mr. Allington pointed to the intent of Resolution 1811 is as Mr. Kendziorek described.
Chair Dybdahl added that Resolution 1811 included taking into consideration the uniqueness of the site.
Ms. Gladziszewski commented that what TCI has provided are plans for plans. Much of what they stated was also vague and it is difficult to evaluate their submittals under these circumstances. That presented difficulties for the Planning Commission, which was responsible verifying that the design and construction is the best that it can be.
Mr. Allington agreed that there were economic impacts of using the Signature program and he agrees with the applicant that the course, as it is laid out does minimal damage to the wetlands. He encouraged the Commission to accept their plan as laid out.
Mr. Bruce said the root of the problem was what that Assembly meant by "Audubon standards." He noted that the applicant has demonstrated their interest in creating an environmentally sound golf course and then later, manage it responsibly. He added that TCI has not tried to squeeze the buffers into the layout. In fact, TCI was originally told to include 66-foot buffers. When the design standards are changed, Mr. Bruce didn’t think that the applicant should be penalized. It may be a good thing to expand the buffers, but he is bothered by the applicant’s good faith efforts to compromise are not matched by an in-kind effort from staff. He noted that tonight’s new issue is the alluvial fan issue.
Mr. Bavard agreed, and was concerned by the buffer. TCI appears to have been flexible and in turn, asks for flexibility from staff with regard to the 100-foot buffer. Mr. Bavard thought that the Commission could go on indefinitely about the issues.
Ms. Easterwood responded by stating that the letter from 1997 included CDD staff’s preliminary comments to the Office of Governmental Coordination as a part of the applicant’s Consistency Determination. Ms. Easterwood quoted from her letter,
" It bears noting, however, that the Planning Commission will make the CBJ coastal consistency finding as a part of its review of the project during the conditional use permit process. The Planning Commission decision will be based, in part, upon present information, a public hearing, and information to be supplied by the applicant in addition to that which is available at this time. Therefore, the comments we offer at this time regarding consistency of the project with the JCMP may be amended by the Planning Commission action."
Ms. Easterwood stated that the letter in questioned clearly indicated that the final decision lay with the Planning Commission and that the information provided for the Consistency Review was preliminary and it may be amended.
Chairman Dybdahl called for a recess at 11:05 p.m.
The meeting was called back to order at 11:15 and the Chair announced that there is not a consensus among Planning Commission members that TCI’s application was complete; therefore, the meeting would be continued. Prior to adjourning, Mr. Dybdahl suggested that the parties identify the items necessary for a complete application so that at the next public hearing, the issue can proceed to a vote.
Ms. Kreel suggested that due to the lateness of the hour, perhaps staff could draft a document based upon their report tonight that identified the missing components to the complete application. The Commission was in agreement and it was decided that the memorandum of understanding would be reviewed at the April 10, 2001 Regular meeting.
Ms. Gladziszewski added that the IPM was deficient because it didn't predict what agents TCI might use to maintain a viable turf. This was contrary to the experience of most everyone in the room.
Mr. Allington reiterated that the Commission found the wildlife study deficient because it provided information as bullet points and not as text. The Commission must have a narrative report to review.
Mr. Kendziorek suggested to TCI that if their Phase I wildlife data was adequate, proceed to Phase II of their report.
Mr. Bavard stated that TCI must be willing to have a consultant assess their design for its wind firmness. As well, maps must be unambiguous. The Commissioners agreed that they wanted to see the areas where TCI might have problems keeping buffers to 100-feet. As well, they needed site-specific information to point to so the permit doesn't fall on an appeal.
Motion: by Mr. Kendziorek to continue the hearing of USE1997-00074 and at the next Regular Meeting, the Commission would vote on the specifics of the missing information.
There was no objection to the motion, and it was so ordered.
Motion: by Mr. Kendziorek to adjourn.
Hearing no objection, Chair Dybdahl indicated that the next public hearing the Planning Commission would vote items necessary for a complete application for TCI’s Conditional Use permit and he adjourned the Special Meeting at 11:30 p.m.