Johan Dybdahl, Chairman
May 22, 2001

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


Commissioners present: Mike Bavard; Dan Bruce; Maria Gladziszewski; Marshal Kendziorek, Mark Pusich, Merrill Sanford; Jody Vick

Commissioners absent: Roger Allington; Johan Dybdahl

A quorum was present.

Staff present: Cheryl Easterwood, Director of Community Development; Oscar Graham CDD Planning Supervisor; Gary Gillette, CDD Planner



May 8, 2001 - Regular Meeting.

Motion: by Mr. Kendziorek to approve the minutes of the May 8, 2001 Regular Meeting, as amended.

There was no objection, and it was so ordered




Mr. Bavard announced that there were three items on the Consent Agenda and he inquired if there was any public comment. No one from the public wished to testify, however, Mr. Kendziorek had questions relating to VAR2000-00041 so that item was added to the Agenda for the Board of Adjustment.

MOTION: by Mr. Pusich to approve the Consent Agenda that included SUB2000-00046 and VAR2001-00014 (as listed below).

There was no objection to the Motion, and both items were approved.


A plat amendment of Lot 9 Gastineau Subdivision to modify an existing easement.

Location: 00187 GASTINEAU AVE

Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's findings and approve the request for a plat amendment to remove the easement for public improvements on Lot 9 Gastineau Subdivision subject to the following conditions:

  1. The applicant shall submit an amended plat for Lot 9 Gastineau Subdivision, which removes only that portion of the easement for public improvements not required for the improvements planned for in the current proposal to reconstruct Gastineau Avenue.
  2. That this revised plat, be approved by the CBJ Engineering Department prior to recording.



A Variance to allow construction of a new garage in the setback.

Location: 00815 4TH ST

Staff recommendation: That the Board of Adjustment adopt the director’s analysis and findings and grant the requested Variance, which would allow construction of a 24’ x 24’ garage two feet from the C Street setback at 815 4th Street, Douglas






The Planning Commission immediately adjourned at 7:05 and reconvened as the Board of Adjustment. Vice-Chair Bavard announced that there were two items on the agenda, VAR2000-00041 and VAR2001-00013.


A Variance requesting a plat amendment to adjust easement boundaries along Gastineau Avenue to accommodate existing arctic entries and a Variance to allow third level decks and arctic entries within 1.4 feet of the front property line where 20 feet is required.

Location: 00187 GASTINEAU AVE

Staff report: Oscar Graham briefed the Board on this item. The Variance request asks to authorize existing improvements within 1.4 feet of the front property line for a six-plex unit on Gastineau Avenue. He observed that most of the homes in the area are setback well within 10 feet of the front property line. Mr. Graham reports that following staff's review, they found that the Variance request does meet the criteria. In addition, there is a corresponding plat amendment that had been approved on the Consent Agenda.

Staff recommendation: That the Board of Adjustment adopt the staff analysis and findings and approve the requested variance.

Mr. Kendziorek asked if there was a history of people sleeping in the entryways of homes in the area. Mr. Graham replied that this was the very problem that initiated this Variance request. Initially, the arctic entries were open stoops, and by enclosing the stoops, the applicant seeks to remedy the problem of uninvited loiterers. Mr. Graham thought that the vagrancy problems began when the building was being reconstructed and it continued even after the building became occupied. He added that the arctic entries do not encroach any further into the setbacks; they simply enclose the existing stoops. Originally, the building was reconstructed using the prior building's footprint. Essentially, it is a grandfathered, non-conforming structure.

Mr. Kendziorek asked if criteria for a Variance request was met because the applicant has already built the arctic entries? Mr. Graham said that the adjacent areas also included decks and enclosed arctic entries. In some residential areas, these types of security amenities are required in order to secure a living environment. He deferred further comments relating to the project's history to John Cooper, the applicant's representative.

Mr. Bavard asked if this structure was the building that burned following the activities of vagrants. Mr. Graham said that it was.

Public testimony:

John Cooper, Cooper Consulting Engineers, concurred with staff's recommendation and he was available to answer questions.

There were no questions by the Board of Adjustment and no one else wished to testify.

Board action:

MOTION: by Mr. Kendziorek, to accept staff's analysis, findings and recommendation and approve VAR2000-00041.

There was no objection and so VAR2000-00041 was approved.


A Variance to the rear yard setback requirement to allow a residential addition at a setback of 11 feet from the rear property line where 25 feet are required.

Location: 11840 MENDENHALL LOOP RD

Staff report: Oscar Graham reviewed the staff report for this item as well. He thought that the application was an interesting situation that was based upon changing reference points from which the setback is measured. He referred to Attachment "C," an as-built survey depicting the subject property, Lot 3, Lake Creek Subdivision. In August of 1991, Plat 03-91 authorized four lots and a future public road that was contemplated to provide access to property to the north. The future road established setback lines that became the front yard setback for any residences. The north property line was therefore, the side yard setback. Mr. Graham added that the side yard setback in this zoning district is 10-feet. A subsequent plat amendment executed in 2000 removed the special setback line. Because the setback line was removed, the southern property line became the front property line, and the northern property line became the rear property line. Essentially, this created a pre-existing, non-conforming use of the applicant’s property. To conform, the residences would have been required to adhere to a 25 foot setback instead of 11-plus feet that it was set back originally.

Mr. Graham noted that while the plat amendment was executed to provide flexibility to the property owners, it created the situation where it was impossible for the applicant to comply.

Staff recommendation: That the Board of Adjustment adopt the staff analysis and director’s findings, and approve the requested variance.

Public testimony:

Willow Ritter, 18240 Pt. Stephens Road, owns the property adjacent to the applicant. Ms. Ritter directed her comments to the staff report and added to the background. When the Lake Creek property was first subdivided, Lot M (Ms. Ritter's property) had no access. From the beginning, she solicited property owners for access, stating her willingness to buy, trade or help build a road in order to gain access. In response to her requests, one property owner said, ‘maybe’, another said, ‘no’, and Mr. Gregory never responded. Since then, she has subdivided her property on the other side of Lake Creek and she has acquired easements for a road that way. Once Ms. Ritter builds a bridge across Lake Creek, she can access Lot M. This access route is expensive because in addition to the cost of building a bridge, sewer and water lines must be routed under the creek bed.

Ms. Ritter maintains that the 2000 plat amendment removed any chance she had for reasonable access to Lot M. She asks if that amendment was in the best interest of the public and can it be revoked?

Ms. Ritter noted that contrary to the staff report, Lot M contains a cabin that is currently occupied. She said that the Gregory's could design an addition that is offset or has a turned roof. She also seeks a remedy to the problem of Mr. Gregory's snow plowing practices. If he were required to put up his own fence, perhaps a chain link fence, then he would not be so careless with it and push it over during plow season. She requests that his design plans be altered to allow for more space in the rear of the addition and that Mr. Gregory be required to install a chain link fence.

Mr. Bavard asked how the small cabin on Lot M is accessed? Ms. Ritter said that they have a footbridge across Lake Creek but they cannot drive to the cabin.

Mr. Pusich asked where the occupants park. Ms. Ritter said that the occupants park on her son's lot on the other side of the creek.

Mr. Bruce asked Ms. Ritter to demonstrate on the map where her son's lot was located. Would granting the Variance impede any right of access that Ms. Ritter currently has? She said that it would not.

Mr. Bavard asked how wide the easement from Windfall Avenue to Lot M was. Ms. Ritter believed that the easement was 60 feet.

Jeff Gregory, the applicant, came forward to state his support of the staff report.

Public testimony was closed.

Mr. Bavard asked staff if the 2000 amendment could be revoked. Mr. Graham said that the amendment was accomplished through the appropriate channels and if further changes were desired, Ms. Ritter should go through the regular process for requesting a plat amendment. This is done rather than revoking an amendment

Mr. Bavard asked how staff responded in the past, to requests for a fence as a condition for approving a Variance? Mr. Graham said that the existing setback is just over 11 feet and that there was currently a wire fence in place between the Ritter and Gregory properties. Ms. Easterwood didn't specifically recall a situation where approval of a Variance was predicated on the installation of a fence. She did recall the situation where Brad Cure had agreed with adjacent property owners to build a fence because setbacks were so tight.

Planning Commission action:

Motion: by Mr. Kendziorek, that the Planning Commission adopt VAR2001-00013 accepting staff's analysis, findings and recommendations.

Mr. Kendziorek next spoke in support of the Variance. While he appreciated Ms. Ritter's concerns, he doubted whether a fence addressed the setback change issue. He commented that this was a good example of what a Variance is for. The rules were changed and allowing the applicant to continue with their use is reasonable.

Roll call vote:

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

VAR2001-00013 was approved unanimously.


Vice-Chair Bavard reconvened the panel as the Planning Commission and announced that the next Agenda item was a review of the FY2002-FY2007 Preliminary Capital Improvement Program.

Mr. Kendziorek asked staff if a serious review by the Planning Commission was expected at this meeting. Considering that the preliminary Capital Improvement Project report (herein after referred to as CIP) had been delivered five days hence, Mr. Kendziorek requested additional time to give the list adequate consideration.

CDD Planner, Gary Gillette explained that the document was the City Manager's recommendation to the Assembly. At this point the Planning Commission will focus its review and recommendations that the Assembly will ultimately act on Fiscal Year 2002 projects. This is a part of the approval process for Fiscal Year 2002's budget that the Assembly undertakes before the end of June. Only projects considered for funding this year are from FY 2002 category. The rest of the projects, from 2003 to 2007 are a plan, which could change before FY 2003 funding is finalized. While the CBJ budget is a two-year budget, the Capital Improvement Program is approved one year at a time.

Mr. Bavard noted as well, that the materials that the Planning Commission is expected to review is quite extensive. He agrees with Mr. Kendziorek that in order to make a meaningful recommendation, more time to review the CIP is desirable. Mr. Gillette said that in years past, the Commission received the list earlier, but before the Manager's final changes. As well, staff has carefully reviewed each project for compliance to the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Gillette apologized for the delay in getting the list to the Commission; however, he believed that they benefited from his extensive analysis. If the Commission felt more time were needed to review the material, that could probably be afforded.

Mr. Pusich asked how the timing would work. If review were delayed until the next meeting on June 12th, would there be enough time for their comments to be incorporated by staff and forwarded to the Assembly? Mr. Gillette wasn't aware of the Assembly's schedule for approving the budget. Typically, they complete the budget shortly before their deadline at the end of June.

Mr. Vick suggested that due to the scope of the task, the Commission take an additional week to review the material.

Mr. Bavard suggested that the Commission hear Mr. Gillette's staff report, take public testimony and begin their consideration.

Mr. Bruce said that last week's Public Works Committee heard discussion by Assembly members regarding the addition to the City Shop by the bridge. Noting that the CIP list for 2002 was in its preliminary stages, it would be beneficial for the Planning Commission to initiate their preliminary inquiry.

Mr. Sanford complimented Mr. Gillette for his excellent analysis laid out in the staff report. Because of that, the Commission would be able to make rapid progress in their review, he thought.

Mr. Kendziorek noted that he received the CIP but because his packet didn't include Mr. Gillette's staff report. As such, he had no comment relative to Mr. Gillette’s staff report.

Staff report: Mr. Gillette noted that the Commission had the City Manager's preliminary recommendations for FY 2002 to 2007, but only 2002 projects are recommended for funding. Mr. Gillette concentrated his review on 2002 projects, but gave a cursory review to other years for their compliance to the Comprehensive Plan. His report also explains the duties of the Planning Commission in the process as well as describing what was in the CIP report. Generally, the projects reflect the policies of the Comprehensive Plan with several exceptions, Mr. Gillette concludes.

One project that is inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan is the Street Maintenance Shop Addition. The building is situated in a designated Waterfront Commercial zone and the facility's use is an industrial nature, which is non-conforming.

The other project that is inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan is North Douglas Sewer System-Phase I Completion. This project does not conform to Policy 4.6 that deals with extending public utilities outside of the Urban Service Boundary (USB). However, the project solves an existing public health hazard, and it is considered critical to assuring the health and safety of Juneau citizens. As such, staff continues to recommend the completion of Phase I.

Mr. Gillette reviewed his cursory analysis of Fiscal Year 2003 to 2007 projects. Again, several sewer and water projects fail to conform to the Comprehensive Plan as they extend beyond the Urban Service Boundary. Mr. Gillette and Ernie Muller discussed this issue of prioritizing projects outside of the Urban Service Boundaries ahead of projects that are within. Of particular interest: the proposed water and sewer lines that cross Mendenhall River to pick up Industrial Boulevard. This project is of lower priority despite being situated within the Urban Service Boundary. Mr. Muller indicated that testing has not revealed problems in Industrial Boulevard, however, North Douglas testing has shown problems. Additional testing will be done to determine the scope of the problem at North Douglas and the City plans to apply for grants from DEC to assist with the capital projects in that area.

Staff finds that the majority of FY 2002 proposed projects conform to the policies of the Comprehensive Plan with the exceptions of the completion of Phase I of the North Douglas Sewer project and the proposed Street Maintenance Shop Addition. While the North Douglas Sewer project is outside of the Urban Service Boundary, it specifically addresses a health hazard and it is a continuing project. The maintenance shop addition is not a water-related use and it is located in a designated Waterfront Commercial zone.

Staff recommendation:

FY 2002

That the Planning Commission report to the Assembly that the CIP projects recommended for funding in FY 2002 conform to the policies of the Juneau Comprehensive Plan with the exception of the continuation of the North Douglas Sewer-Phase I project and the Street Maintenance Shop Addition. The Commission recognizes that the North Douglas Sewer-Phase I project does extend services beyond the Urban Service Boundary but it is necessary to meet health and safety standards and will complete a project, which is already in progress. Based upon the policies of the Comprehensive Plan, the proposed Street Maintenance Shop Addition does not comply with the policies of the Comprehensive Plan and should not be constructed in this location.

FY 2003-2007

Further, it is recommended that the Planning Commission report to the Assembly that the following projects be moved to the "future" category and noted such that it is clear they should not be pursued until such time that all areas within the Urban Service Boundary (USB) receive such services and a recommendation is made by the Planning Commission and a decision by the Assembly to expand the USB:

In addition, it is recommended that the Planning Commission report to the Assembly that project selection criteria be amended to include, "Conformance to the policies of the Comprehensive Plan."

Mr. Bruce suggested that the USB issue is akin to 'the chicken and the egg' meaning, which comes first? If there is a health issue involved, it makes sense to expand the USB to include the areas and put the sewer lines in. He suggested that the language of the three sewer projects be changed adding, "in the absence of a finding of a serious public health issue." He also urged stronger language relative to the City's street maintenance shop. He thought that with enough encouragement, the City could find motivation to consolidate this activity in a central location and accomplish its maintenance needs. He had the opportunity to consider this item while sitting on the Public Works committee and he thinks that it is a bad idea to expand the shop at its current location.

Mr. Vick said that the downtown shop is central and that it focuses on serving downtown and Douglas. Shouldn't the shop be near the area that it services? Mr. Bruce replied that Commercial Waterfront is not an appropriate site for an industrial use. As well, due to the age of the building and an easement held by the State of Alaska for the bridge, the expansion options are limited. The time has come to relocate it from a prime waterfront location.

Mr. Sanford asked if the City shop site was in the Harbor Department's strategic plan? Mr. Gillette indicated that the Harbor Department was evaluating all waterfront properties in the vicinity. He didn't know what the Waterfront Plan would ultimately recommend for that property, however.

Mr. Sanford asked if the change in the Urban Service Boundary that the Planning Commission agreed to last year was a part of the other changes to the Comprehensive Plan that have not moved beyond the Commission? Ms. Easterwood said that that was the case and she would proceed with this prior to her departure from the CDD.

Ms. Gladziszewski asked where the other street maintenance facilities are located in the borough? Mr. Gillette said that one is located near the bus barn in the Valley and the other is in Lemon Creek, near the Alaskan Brewery. He said that the long-term plan was for a centralized site in Lemon Creek.

Mr. Bavard wanted to see language added to the sewer projects itemized in FY 2003-2007. The language should state that the North Douglas Sewer projects are necessary to meet health and safety standards. He commented that the North Douglas Highway has become a popular recreation area and there is a legitimate health and safety concern. As such, the projects ought not be derailed because they are outside the Urban Service Boundary.

Mr. Pusich said that there are other environmental concerns on the North Douglas Highway as well. For example, failing drain field systems and fecal colliform levels are high. This should be stressed. Mr. Pusich also commented on the structure of the Street Maintenance Department. Currently, the Department is separated into two units: the Valley Street Department and the Downtown Street Department. Each unit has it's own superintendent with laborers and operators. Long-term planning dictates that they find a central location for the future, but this is an expensive proposition. That should be done before a lot of money gets thrown at upgrading the site under the bridge.

Steve Shows, is a homeowner in the Tee Harbor neighborhood of Juneau. His is one of the last neighborhoods without water service. Mr. Shows discussed the origins of the Urban Service Boundaries, which dates back to the original vote on the community water service, and he argued that they are outdated. Times have changed, the community has grown and there is a need to provide urban-level services to the borough when the time is right. This is a fairness issue and it makes sense. He suggested that the Planning Commission look at the basket of urban services that government provides. They should note that City services do not stop at Wadeleigh Creek. Year after year, the Assembly has extended the water service beyond its original boundaries extending to the middle of Tee Harbor. If water goes to Tee Harbor, why does the City keep stating that the Urban Service Boundary is Wadeleigh Creek? As a community, by not marching forward with the times on the USB for infrastructure development is akin to "putting your head in the sand." His homeowner group is patient and will wait for the service to arrive, but in the meantime, they'll keep lobbying. He asks the Planning Commission to support the homeowners in North Tee Harbor by finding that infrastructure has expanded since the mid-1980's and that the existing Urban Service Areas are outdated.

Mr. Sanford asked if all the projects on the books include water and sewer everywhere within the Urban Service Boundary? Mr. Gillette said that all areas within the Boundary have water service, but sewage lags behind. The Mendenhall River is a hurdle to serving Industrial Boulevard. Another obstacle is tying in Auke Bay to Peterson Hill. Completion of this leg would open the transitional zoned property on the Back Loop to development.

Mr. Bruce said that the Commission should give thoughtful analysis to what Juneau's current Urban Service Boundary in reality is. Perhaps it has expanded de facto along with the development.

Mr. Bavard comments that increased services are widely demanded, however, with the services comes increased density. The most significant issue with the Urban Service Boundary is the threat of increase density so that the services can be paid for. He asked the Commission how they wanted to proceed.

Mr. Kendziorek suggested that the review is pended until the next Committee of the Whole so that he might have a chance to review the staff report and the CIP report. As well, he suggested that public testimony remain open.

Mr. Bavard asked staff for their input. Mr. Gillette said the Commission's expected action makes a recommendation to the Assembly. The Assembly considers that at their next Finance Committee meeting as they consider the entire budget package. The public also has a chance to comment on the budget.

Ms. Easterwood said the Finance Committee planned to hold its last meeting on the budget on May 23rd. As such, if the Commission carried this item over, a Special Meeting would be required so that the Finance Committee would not be further delayed.

Mr. Bavard asked what would be accomplished by holding the item over for further review? Mr. Kendziorek was unable to comment on what additional changes or comments would result as he didn't have the benefit of adequate review of the CIP or the staff report.

Mr. Bruce asked if another public hearing was required or could Commissioners communicate with Mr. Gillette via e-mail? Ms. Easterwood said comments must be made on the public record.

Mr. Pusich and Mr. Bruce noted that their prior experience prepared them for this review. It was regrettable that this wasn't made clear to newer members that the Commission was asked to review only the FY 2002 projects.

Noting that the will of the Commission tended to support forwarding staff's recommendations of the CIP report to the Assembly, Mr. Kendziorek declined to hold the item. However, under the circumstances, he was unable to make a recommendation in support. Because he hasn't adequately reviewed the document nor did he see the staff report, he would vote no.

Mr. Gillette summarized that the Commission wanted stronger language emphasizing that the street maintenance shop not be sited in its existing location. Mr. Bruce clarified that the Commission finds the shop site is out of compliance with existing zoning and that the project should not be funded.

Mr. Gillette said that the North Douglas Sewer projects be moved to the "future" category unless a serious health and safety problem is documented by further study. The recommendation for the water project was that because they are outside of the Urban Service Boundary, that they would be moved to the "future" category. However, the Assembly should revisit the boundary issue (perhaps as a part of the Comprehensive Plan review) to determine where services actually occur and whether or not that should be changed.

Mr. Bruce was satisfied with the changes to the recommendation in Mr. Gillette's staff report.

Commission action:

MOTION: by Mr. Bruce to forward the amended recommendation of the FY 2002 CIP projects to the Assembly.

Mr. Pusich spoke in support of the Motion. Mr. Gillette's analysis enabled him to understand the issues and he complimented the excellent work.

Mr. Kendziorek explained that his vote ‘no’ shouldn't be construed as a negative comment on staff's work with regard to the CIP review. Simply, circumstances do not allow for him to make a positive recommendation.

Mr. Bruce agreed with Mr. Pusich, that Mr. Gillette's work was effective and made the CIP report easy to understand.

Roll call vote:

Yeas: Bavard, Bruce, Gladziszewski, Pusich, Sanford, Vick
Nays: Kendziorek

Mr. Bavard announced that the review of the FY 2002 CIP is approved and recommendations shall be forwarded to the Assembly.


Ms. Easterwood received correspondence from Totem Creek, Inc. stating that the required information shall be submitted at the end of May. CDD expects that consideration of the permit would resume in June.


Mr. Kendziorek reported that the Transportation Steering Committee held a public meeting at Centennial Hall on May 17th, 2001. It was very well attended by the public and valuable comments were gathered. He expected that more meetings of the Steering Committee are expected before the draft plan is presented to the Planning Commission.

Mr. Sanford asked when the Department of Transportation would present an amended plan for 10th Street and Egan Drive? Ms. Easterwood said she would check on that.

Mr. Pusich reported that the Wetlands Review Board met and continued its work selecting a Mitigation Bank site. He also reported that Shorty Tonsgard has applied to the State of Alaska, Division of Forestry for a permit to log 135 acres in the Herbert River area. He reminded the group that Mr. Tonsgard warned the Planning Commission, that if he the zone change request were unsuccessful, he'd likely log his property at Herbert River. He believed that it was out of the City's hands at this point.

Ms. Easterwood said that the CBJ has been invited to comment. As well, several members of the public testified of their concerns at the May 21st Assembly meeting. Staff was directed to meet with Mr. Tonsgard to see if there was any middle ground.

Mr. Bruce commented that sometimes there are worse alternatives to projects. He wished that people who opposed projects took that to heart.


Mr. Bruce addressed Ms. Easterwood's recently announced resignation. He said he could not imagine serving on the Planning Commission without Ms. Easterwood's direction. In her role as Director, Ms. Easterwood receives an inordinate amount of criticism, yet she handles the pressure with incredible grace and style. This speaks to her uncommon professionalism and to her engaging personality. Her leadership would be certainly missed.

Mr. Pusich agreed and he wished her the best. Mr. Pusich noted that the Planning Commission was named in an appeal involving the Downtown Neighborhood Association. Ms. Easterwood said several appeals before the Assembly received a verbal decision, but were never followed up with a written decision. There were several of these situations, including the one that Mr. Pusich raised. These were quite old and the Assembly needed to finalize their actions by producing a written report.

Ms. Easterwood added that the Malick appeal proceeds as the appellant continues to gather information.

Mr. Bavard asked about the land clearing at 7-mile Glacier Highway. Ms. Easterwood said Dan Garcia, the CBJ's Zoning Enforcement officer is checking to see if the tree clearing impacted CBJ property.

Mr. Bavard raised the issue of agency personnel giving public testimony. He noted that often the Commission hears testimony from individuals who are employees of the Department of Fish and Game, for example. Are they testifying in their official capacity on behalf of the State of Alaska? Or, are they stating their personal opinion? How does the Commission balance the two? Ms. Easterwood said that this could be confusing and it was often easier to tell with written testimony. Comments received on agency letterhead are considered to be official positions. She noted that for clarity sake, the agency people should state what capacity they are speaking in.


Motion: by Mr. Pusich to adjourn.

Without objection, Vice-Chair Bavard adjourned the meeting at 8:39.