MINUTES
PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU
Johan Dybdahl, Chairman
REGULAR MEETING
March 27, 2001

Vice Chair Bavard called the regular meeting of the City and Borough Planning Commission to order at 7:00 p.m., in he Assembly Chambers of the Municipal Building.

I. ROLL CALL

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

Commissioners absent: Dan Bruce; Johan Dybdahl; Mark Pusich

A quorum was present.

Staff present: Cheryl Easterwood, CDD Director; Oscar Graham, Principal Planner; Sylvia Kreel,
CDD Planner

Other CBJ staff present: None

 

II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

February 20, 2001 - Special Meeting and February 27, 2001 - Regular Meeting

Motion - by Mr. Pusich to approve the minutes of both meeting, each with a correction.

Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.

 

III. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS -

Larry Hurlock, 2858 Mendenhall Loop Road, came forward to discuss his thoughts on how the appeals process ought to be amended. Noting that neighborhood land use deliberations are a thankless task, Mr. Hurlock suggested several modifications that could help the public become more comfortable with the process.

  1. CBJ Community Development Department should stay totally separate from the Planning Commission during the dispute resolution process. The office of CDD should be a resource to all parties and not only to the Planning Commission. Their independent professional judgement should remain independent.
  2. Hearing officers in disputes ought never to be an elected official.
  3. Assemblypersons who serve as a hearing officers places the CBJ attorney in an awkward position, in that the Assemblyperson has an oversight role over the CBJ attorney in human resource matters.
  4. Testimony before the Planning Commission should not be considered if it refers to statements from individuals outside of the proceedings.
  5. The Planning Commission should request the Mayor to create a working group to review the appeals process and then report back.

Mr. Kendziorek thanked Mr. Hurlock for the comments, but noted that the appeals process is controlled by the Assembly and not by the Planning Commission. He suggested that a more appropriate forum for Mr. Hurlock's comments be made to the Assembly.

 

IV. RECONSIDERATION OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS - None

V. CONSENT AGENDA - None

VI. CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS - None

VII. unfinished business - None

VIII. regular agenda - None

IX. board of adjustment - None

X other business -

 

USE1997-00074

A Conditional Use permit for the Totem Creek Golf Course and maintenance facility.

Location: 13 MILE NORTH DOUGLAS HIGHWAY
Applicant: TOTEM CREEK, INC.

Mr. Bavard announced that the only item scheduled for discussion tonight was the memorandum dated March 23, 2001, entitled: Information Required for Complete Application for Totem Creek, Inc. Golf Course. By reviewing the memorandum, the Planning Commission would evaluate the items necessary for a full review of the golf course project. Mr. Bavard recapped the recent events surrounding the Commission's review of the Totem Creek Golf Course proposal. Following the Special Meeting of March 23, 2001, the Commission felt that it would be advantageous to regroup and consider what information was necessary to proceed with the Conditional Use permit hearing. Mr. Bavard indicated that the discussion at hand be limited to the applicant and the Planning Commission.

Ms. Easterwood recalled that at the end of the March 23, 2001 meeting, the Planning Commission determined that the Conditional Use permit was incomplete because certain items were outstanding. The CDD determined that an understanding and agreement must be reached between the parties. To that end, CDD prepared a memorandum that defines in great detail what information remains outstanding from of Totem Creek, Inc. (Here after referred to TCI).

Members of the Planning Commission expressed their interest in moving away from the adversarial stance that seemed to evolve at the last meeting. If a resolution were to be achieved, a relaxed yet constructive meeting would be in everyone's best interest.

Ms. Easterwood suggested that the Planning Commission review each item in the memorandum for clarity sake.

Mr. Kendziorek noted that the memorandum matched his recollection the outstanding information. He stated that if the information were inadequate, the decision of the Planning Commission would likely fail on appeal, which could perhaps jeopardize the golf course project. He did think that the discussion related to the Integrated Pest Management Plan lacked the details mentioned at the March 27th meeting. He hoped that TCI would extrapolate from discussions the level of detail that the Planning Commission required in the Integrated Pest Management Plan. While, no one expected TCI to predict all possible pests, TCI should understand that there were many obvious potential pests that must be planned for.

Additionally, Mr. Kendziorek stated his interest in a full report from Icy Straight with regard to the Wildlife and Habitat Plan. He hoped that either Greg Strebbler or Robert Armstrong could be available to testify.

Mr. Allington turned to the issue of the base map. What was the problem with the maps that TCI had already presented?

Mr. Barrett, President of TCI, stated that the group had concerns about the memorandum. Originally, TCI had expected a list of six items necessary to complete the application. What was received, Mr. Barrett announced were additional requests for information plus mandated 100-foot buffers. Mr. Barrett believed that the buffers were still under consideration by the Planning Commission. Another example, Mr. Barrett referred to "adjustments to the course design shall be made." What did that have to do with the complete application? He asked.

Mr. Koester, a TCI board member and spokesman, recapped the permitting history for the board. He reported that requests for information are being answered, however, it appeared to that the memorandum is a vehicle for additional requests for new information. Under the circumstances, an adversarial tenor is a natural reflection of their frustration. Mr. Koester felt that some items were still open for consideration, even though staff (in its memo) has decided

Mr. Bavard suggested that each item from the memorandum be evaluated so that there was no confusion. Beginning with the first item, Mr. Bavard asked if the parties were in agreement with the nine minimum features required for a base map?

Mr. Koester said that alluvial fans and landmark tree stands were examples of the new information that has been asked in this memorandum. In order to provide this information, TCI must mount a new field survey. The term, "other constraints" is overly broad. Additionally, TCI understood that no additional buffers were going to be required on the intermittent streams. That leads to the question: "what does TCI need to do to identify the intermittent streams?" "How are they defined?" " What new fieldwork will be required to provide that information?" Mr. Koester noted that if these items were asked for in 1998, they could have easily been provided, but it seemed insurmountable to provide them by April 10th. Mr. Koester further stated that it was inappropriate for CDD to ask for it now.

Mr. Bavard asked the Commissioners to comment on the base map features.

Mr. Kendziorek agreed that TCI's base map is probably adequate once a line defining the probable areas where the alluvial fans are in position. He suggested that TCI's map simply note areas where significant vegetation features exist. Regarding "other constraints", Mr. Kendziorek said if there are things that have been noted in the field studies, like a beaver dam, then TCI should tell the Planning Commission about that. What were the environmental constraints that Icy Straits found? Mr. Kendziorek didn't understand the level of angst that Mr. Koester had expressed over the memorandum.

Mr. Kendziorek cautioned that TCI must be flexible with regard to their design plan. Their situation was no different than any other applicant who comes before the Planning Commission for a project review. He also disagreed with TCI's assertion that CDD staff had inserted conditions or decisions into the memorandum. The memorandum simply clarified for the applicant what information the Planning Commission had requested at the March 20th meeting.

Mr. Vick said that he didn't want to require the applicant to commission a new field study. He also didn't want to force TCI to solve every possible problem associated with the course construction at this stage. Ms. Gladziszewski said that TCI didn't need to launch a new survey, simply put the information that they had onto the map.

Mr. Allington said that the term, "other constraints" was overly broad. Ms. Kreel explained that in order to get a complete picture of the area, the applicant needed to report any unique features on a base map. Its impossible to predict and request everything that might be present, so if something is present, report that to the Planning Commission.

Mr. Bavard suggested that "other constraints" ought to be deleted only because it is inconsistent with the level of detail surrounding the project.

Mr. Kendziorek said he would not oppose the deletion so long as the applicant understood that if they find something relevant, it should be noted on the base map.

Ms. Gladziszewski said that the Planning Commission needed to know what was being impacted so that they could weigh that.

Mr. Barrett complained that many thousands of dollars have already been spent on a variety of surveys. The surveys were completed to satisfy the Army Corps of Engineers and various requests from CDD staff. Now, the impressions TCI received from CDD staff were that a new survey was needed.

Mr. Bavard stated that the Planning Commission was in agreement on the necessary information required for the base map. It appeared that TCI had obtained all of the information but that it just needed to be reflected on the map itself.

Turning to the issue of 100-foot buffers, Mr. Sanford explained that the Planning Commission wanted to see the 100-foot buffers on a map. Next, they wanted to see the areas outlined where TCI felt that 100 feet could not be accommodated.

Mr. Allington said that he envisioned the 100-foot buffers described on the map as well as the applicant's analysis of where the 100 feet cannot be met without heavy impacts to the course design. Such a presentation would enable the Planning Commission to consider the variables and make a determination.

Mr. Bavard added that the Commission wanted to see the buffers and an outline of the areas where 66-feet or another figure is requested and why?

Ms. Gladziszewski emphasized that TCI must describe why the 100-foot buffer couldn't be accommodated.

Mr. Koester said TCI wanted to indicate both 100-foot buffers and 66-foot buffers on the site plan under the assumption that more information is better than less. The notion TCI wanted to communicate to the Planning Commission was that they needed to be granted some flexibility. In the field, during construction, situations may arise that will demand that. He emphasized that the golf course would be better served by adhering to strict environmental standards as well. Nevertheless, to the extent that they are able, TCI sought to avoid being crowed by strict constraints.

Mr. Bavard reiterated that 100 foot-buffers must be outlined on the site plan. If there are places where flexibility is sought, then show that area on the map.

Diane Mayer of TCI, indicated that they were frustrated because much of what is requested in the memorandum had already been provided and that they were anxious to move on with a discussion of the Conditions that may be placed on the project.

Mr. Kendziorek views the memorandum to be helpful to the process. Essentially, CDD staff provided a detailed itemization of the information necessary for the Planning Commission to consider the application.

Mr. Bavard reiterated that the focus of the meeting was for the Planning Commission to give the applicant and staff direction on how they feel the five issues (base map, site plan, integrated pest management plan, wildlife, windfirmness and habitat management plan) must be handled. He agreed that much of it was complete.

Mr. Barrett indicated that TCI would provide two separate maps where the natural features were separated from the golf course plan. Mr. Kendziorek said that an overlay of the course design over the environment must not be excluded from review.

Mr. Bavard asked the Planning Commission to comment on the integrated pest management plan. ( here after referred to as "IPM).

Mr. Vick suggested that the IPM required an overwhelming amount of information.

Mr. Kendziorek stated that a thorough IPM must be done and that the applicant was in agreement. He didn't think the applicant was required to predict each and every possible pest in Southeast Alaska, but there had been an agreed upon list of common pests that the IPM must address.

Mr. Barrett said that TCI agrees with Mr. Kendziorek, however, TCI objected to the inclusion of a 200-foot no application zone around Peterson Creek. Earlier discussions with CDD staff indicated that there would be a 200-foot no spray zone but now that has been modified. The inclusion of a no application zone appears to be a Condition that TCI was not prepared to agree to at this stage of the review.

Mr. Allington said that the approach of the IPM should be: "these are the kinds of pests we expect, this is what we expect to do if we encounter those, and how often." The management plan should be logical but not a two-inch thick text.

Ms. Easterwood said that staff used the term "no application" when it meant "no spray," which created confusion. The applicant's habitat management plan cites a 200-foot no spray zone.

Mr. Graham said in the memorandum, he attempted to outline the IPM concept to the applicant. He cautioned all parties from placing too many details and requirements for the IPM. The applicant should contract with a qualified firm who can develop an IPM consistent with TCI's proposal. Its not a far out proposal, virtually every golf course of quality obtains an IPM.

Mr. Barrett said that TCI had no problem with moving forward with the IPM. Their problem lay with the Condition of a 200-foot no application zone. This implies that there is a 100-foot buffer when TCI hopes that a 66-foot buffer may still be a consideration in some locations.

Mr. Graham suggested a modification to read, "if and when a qualified consultant or individual makes a site specific analysis and determines that the dimension of the no spray or application zone can be established at that time." Mr. Graham emphasized that the key concept would be the utilization of a qualified individual.

Mr. Bavard next raised the issue of a wind firmness analysis. Noting that wind firmness is a difficult issue to predict he suggested going through the elements to arrive at a consensus.

Mr. Kendziorek spoke in support of the language presented in the memorandum. It merely states that the Planning Commission must look into the issue and perhaps design some feathering if it is practicable. He hoped that TCI would be willing to make some modifications, where practicable so that the buffers might be protected.

Mr. Bavard preferred to leave the wind firmness analysis entirely up to the professional forester. That individual ought to decide what the specifics of the analysis are to be.

Mr. Koester indicated that TCI's only issue with staff's depiction of the windfirmness analysis is the statement, "protective design features, such as feathering, shall be located outside the 100-foot stream buffers."

It was noted that TCI's memorandum was an earlier draft, and that the word "shall" had been changed to "should." Mr. Koester continued to object, stating that the verbiage indicated that the Commission had already decided in principle on 100-foot buffers.

Mr. Kendziorek disagreed, stating that the Commission had not made any decisions, but the information was pertinent to their analysis.

Ms. Gladziszewski said that the Planning Commission was responding to concerns raised during public testimony. Consequently, they were asking for information on wind firmness from an expert.

Mr. Barrett asked if the Planning Commission expected a tree-by-tree survey or a more general reconnaissance study in conjunction with climatalogical data? Mr. Barrett explained that a reconnaissance survey was a sampling of certain stands in certain fairways to come up with recommendations.

Mr. Allington thought that a general reconnaissance would be adequate. He also suggested that reference to an additional buffer be deleted to allow the forester arrive at his or her own conclusions.

Mr. Kendziorek disagreed, stating that the windfirm is important to buffer safety. He thought that the wind firmness comments in the memorandum were flexible and they accurately reflected what the Planning Commission had in mind.

Ms. Gladziszewski indicated to TCI that the Planning Commission was interested in a reconnaissance survey in order to make recommendations as to the wind firmness.

Mr. Kendziorek asked that special consideration be given to the landmark tree stands in the vicinity of the golf course.

Ms. Easterwood wanted to make certain that all the areas around the clearings and buffers are looked at. If the survey is too general, the Commission could not fully understand the impacts of wind on the buffers.

Mr. Allington noted that an expert forester could be counted upon to provide the necessary information, however, their recommendations must be submitted in writing and it would be an advantage to have them testify in person.

Finally, Mr. Bavard turned to the wildlife and habitat management plan.

Mr. Barrett explained that the report is not completed and the consultants continue to be out of town and out of range. Their initial report will be redrafted and the summary shall be available by the April 10th meeting.

At 8:30, Vice-Chair Bavard called a 10-minute break at the request of TCI.

Following the break, Mr. Barrett asked for clarification from the Commission on the provision asking for a "detailed assessment and map of the types of habitats presently found on the property," Mr. Barrett’s concern focused on the subjective meaning of the word, "detailed." As well, he asked for clarification on what specific procedures did CDD staff have in mind for habitat enhancement? Finally, identifying corridors and core habitat would be difficult since field studies demonstrated an underutilization of the area.

Ms. Easterwood clarified that CDD asked for an assessment and map and referred everyone’s attention to the preface, which states the detailed Wildlife and Habitat Management study will meet the objectives of the October 12, 2000 Icy Straits Environmental Services study plan. The memorandum asks for information and materials that the study plan proposed to offer.

Mr. Bavard suggested that TCI be given a copy of the memorandum that the Planning Commissioners and staff had to avoid further confusion.

Ms. Easterwood said that CDD is asking for and assessment and map of the habitat types present on the property. Once that is complete, TCI must provide a plan for protecting and conserving the habitat. At the early design phase, there are considerable opportunities for available to minimize the impacts on the habitat and the information obtained from these studies could provide guidance.

Mr. Sanford asked if Icy Straits had formed a conclusion with regard to deer. Ms. Mayer stated that the area was underutilized by game most likely due to pressures from hunting and dogs.

Mr. Kendziorek noted his concerns that the only reconnaissance made by Icy Straits spanned two days in winter. He hoped that TCI had much more documentation and research to base their wildlife and habitat studies. As well, Mr. Kendziorek hoped that either Mr. Strebbler or Mr. Armstrong would be at TCI’s next hearing to field questions. Mr. Barrett also hoped that they would appear.

XI. director's report - none 

XII. report of regular and special committees - none

XIII. planning commission questions and comments

Mr. Kendziorek reported that he attended a meeting at his new job where the real estate investment officer for the Permanent Fund Corporation spoke about his investment strategy. The officer commented that the Permanent Fund only invests in "24-hour cities." Mr. Kendziorek was intrigued that only cities where the downtown corps had ample mixed uses occurring were considered for investment. It was intriguing that investment money goes to communities with a vibrant downtown corps.

Mr. Bavard asked what the calendar for the month of April looks like. Ms. Easterwood thought that April 10th had a light Regular Agenda and April 24th was filling up with items. If there is time, CDD staff would like the Parking Plan to be included in on the April 24th Agenda, but if it no time allows, Ms. Easterwood would like to entertain the Committee of the Whole which is scheduled for April 17th.

Mr. Sanford asked if TCI is still producing information and were staff and the applicant communicating effectively? Mr. Graham reported that he had met with the applicant that day and the lines of communications are open.

Mr. Bavard asked if the applicant provided each and every item that had been discussed, did staff anticipate a positive recommendation? Ms. Easterwood did not know what result would be. She did, however, plan to obtain some type of expert review assist the Community Development Department review the material.

Mr. Bavard asked for an update on the Malick appeal. Ms. Easterwood said she needed to meet with the applicant to get him started working on the new application. She noted that during his appeal, Mr. Malick made modifications to the site plan in response to concerns stated by the Planning Commission and by public testimony. She anticipated that the proposal would be modestly different.

Mr. Allington suggested that a survey of the road be commissioned to determine whether or not it was a safe roadway in terms of sight distance.

Mr. Sanford recalled past hearings that focused on Cohen Drive and he suggested that staff review the history of Conditional Use permits and building permits to establish what concessions were made to accommodate the need for driveways.

Ms. Gladziszewski asked about the status of the asphalt plant appeal. Ms. Easterwood said the Assembly was set to hear the appeal Monday, May 2nd.

Mr. Kendziorek asked about Mr. Hurlock’s issue. Ms. Easterwood said that Mr. Hurlock was involved in an appeal involving Mr. Shaw and a small shed in the Hurlock Subdivision. The appeal was settled after many hours of work. Ms. Easterwood would call Mr. Hurlock the following day to discuss it further and she would refer him to the Assembly.

Mr. Allington commented on the merits of Mr. Hurlock’s suggestion.

XIV. adjournment

Motion by Mr. Kendziorek to adjourn. Without objection, Vice Chair Bavard adjourned the meeting at 9:10 p.m.