PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU
Johan Dybdahl, Chair
October 23, 2001
Chair Dybdahl 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: Roger Allington, Mike Bavard, Dan Bruce, Maria Gladziszewski, Marshal Kendziorek, Mark Pusich, Merrill Sanford, Jody Vick
Commissioners absent: Johan Dybdahl
A quorum was present.
Staff present: Oscar Graham, Acting Director, CDD; Greg Chaney, CDD Planner; Chris Beanés, CDD Planner
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES -
October 9, 2001 - Regular Meeting
MOTION - by Mr. Pusich to approve the minutes of October 9, 2001 as written.
Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.
III. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS -
Assemblyman randy Wanamaker, 3814 Killewich Drive, commended members of the Planning Commission for their dedicated and thoughtful service. He appreciates the difficult tasks that the Commission tackles and he expressed his personal thanks. Mr. Wanamaker announced that he specifically requested and was appointed the position of liaison to the Planning Commission and he looked forward to working with the panel of auspicious citizens.
IV. RECONSIDERATION OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS - None
V. CONSENT AGENDA
Vice Chair Bavard announced that in addition to the original item on the Consent Agenda, two others from the Regular Agenda would be added. Mr. Bavard read the items on the Consent Agenda and inquired if there was any public comment. No one from the public wished to comment, and there were no questions from commissioners.
MOTION - by Mr. Kendziorek to approve the amended Consent Agenda that included USE2001-00040; USE2001-00037 and USE2001-00038 (as listed below).
There was no objection and the amended Consent Agenda was approved.
A Conditional Use permit for Emmanuel Baptist Church proposes to build a 2,000 square foot addition to the existing 1,235 square foot building located at 10490 Glacier Hwy.Location: 10490 GLACIER HWY
Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and grant the permit.
A Conditional Use permit to allow two existing modular school rooms at Floyd Dryden Middle School to remain on site.
Location: 3840 MENDENHALL LOOP RD
Applicant: CITY & BOROUGH OF JUNEAU
Staff report: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and grant the requested Conditional Use permit. The permit would allow the continued use of two modular buildings for classrooms at Floyd Dryden Middle School. The approval is subject to the following conditions:
A Conditional Use permit for a 6,500 square foot Hunter Education Facility with indoor shooting range.
Location: MONTANA CREEK RD
Applicant: JENSEN YORBA LOTT
Staff report: That the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and grant the requested Conditional Use permit. The permit would allow the development of a 6,500 square foot indoor shooting range and hunter education facility. The approval is subject to the following conditions:
VI. CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
VII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
VIII. REGULAR AGENDA
Mr. Bavard commented that SUB2001-00034, a preliminary plat to create 32 lots from 3 existing lots, which had been advertised for a hearing at this evening's meeting, had removed from the Agenda. The remaining items from the Regular Agenda were heard previously under the Consent Agenda.
IX. BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT - None
X OTHER BUSINESS - None
XI. DIRECTOR'S REPORT
Mr. Graham announced that the report would deal extensively with four items. One item: the Subport Redevelopment Conceptual Plan would be presented by Barb Sheinberg.
A. ORDINANCE REGULATING LIGHTING: REVIEW AND DISCUSSION
Mr. Graham read from his memorandum dated October 15, 2001 that discussed a proposal to regulate lighting within the CBJ.
At this time, the Lands Committee requests the Planning to consider if adoption of an ordinance under Title 49 is appropriate. Mr. Graham pointed to a briefing paper and draft ordinance provided by CBJ Attorney, John Corso in response to a request from the Lands Committee. Mr. Graham suggested that the recommendation to the Lands Committee might range from no action to convening a COW meeting to considering amendments to Title 49 or Title 36.
Mr. Graham reports that two light related complaints were lodged with the Community Development Department within the past three years. Investigations into those complaints noted no violation of CBJ zoning ordinances or permit conditions. In effect, there was no mechanism in place to resolve the complaints.
Mr. Graham explained the results of CDD’s initial review of the draft lighting ordinance. First of all, establishing a standard of measurement for a lighting ordinance may be quite difficult. While the ordinance provides exceptions such as temporary outdoor lighting, Mr. Graham suggested that these items are the most problematic. As well, the ordinance proposes to follow the variance model for establishing an encroachment of a light standard. He asked the Commission to imagine the practical difficulties in applying the variance criteria to a lighting proposal. Finally, the task of bringing nonconforming lighting into compliance will be taxing on the community’s as well as CDD staff’s time and resources.
Mr. Graham suggested alternatives to those stated in Mr. Corso’s briefing paper. The first option was no action. This may be justified considering that only two complaints were received in the last three years. However, if an ordinance is adopted, CDD may be subjected to an increase in complaints without benefit of clear and enforceable standards or procedures for resolution. He urged that if the Commission recommends action, an avenue for resolution must be established.
An alternative to addressing light impacts solely in Title 49, the Land Use Code, may be through dual code amendments. Title 49 (Land Use Code) and 36 (Nuisance Code) could be amended so that the CBJ could address lighting relative to new projects and respond to extreme glare impacts created by existing situations. Clear enforcement thresholds defined in a lighting nuisance section under Title 36 would guide future development.
In closing, Mr. Graham urged the Commission to avoid implementing ambiguous standards, exceptions or using the variance procedure as a method for determining compliance. He invited Commissioners to discuss the ordinance to see what direction they wanted to go.
Mr. Bavard noted that this item received no public notice and he cautioned against making a firm decision. Mr. Graham asked for a recommendation on how the Planning Commission wanted to proceed adding that tonight’s discussion was a work session on the request made by the Land’s Committee.
Mr. Allington suggested that most people don’t know that they should complain to CDD, hence the infrequent complaints. He believed that streetlights were the true problem in terms of light pollution. Most people, including professionals are uninformed about the various types of street lighting. He explained the differences between old luminaires and modern full cut-off luminaires. To further compound the problem, a streetlight may be installed correctly only to be misadjusted by uninformed maintenance workers. Mr. Allington suggests that staff contact professional organizations for guidance on a light ordinance.
Mr. Sanford asked Mr. Graham to clarify his comments relative to the elimination of the Design Review Board. Mr. Sanford understood that the Planning Commission took over many of the regulatory functions of the defunct board. Mr. Graham understood that while the standards remained on the books, the vehicle for applying some of the standards was eliminated along the Design Review Board. He noted that if the Commission typically considers all of the design issues then he stood corrected.
Mr. Kendziorek suggested that the lighting issue be referred to the Committee of the Whole or that it is sent back to the Lands Committee with a positive recommendation. He was very supportive of moving forward and he recommended that both Title 49 and 36 be incorporated into the solution. Mr. Kendziorek also recommended that the ordinance make mention of greenhouses and the amount of light that they shed into the environment.
Mr. Vick was concerned that the measurement for nuisance was scientific rather than objection. The threshold of nuisance must be objective.
Mr. Pusich was surprised that only two complaints in three years were received by CDD. He was involved with several projects with the Design Review and he didn't see much difference between then and now in terms of how lighting is addressed with new applications. He felt that staff did a good job reviewing projects for obnoxious lighting. Where something escaped notice, the Planning Commission caught it and placed conditions to correct the situation. As such, Mr. Pusich did not support allocating too much time and energy on this issue.
Mr. Bruce thought that lighting could easily become hyper-technical. He suggested that the issue be returned to the Lands Committee for their consideration.
Mr. Bavard recalled his former Design Review experience and the problems that a "lay board" had sorting through the complexities of lighting. Also, he was surprised to see the issue come before the Commission since only nominal complaints were received by CDD. Mr. Bavard recommended that the issue is either returned to the Lands Committee or dropped.
Mr. Allington raised the issues of veiling glare and its impact on public safety. He recommended that staff look at how other communities handle the problems of lighting before the issue is closed. Personally, Mr. Allington felt that the lighting should be handled under the Nuisance Code, which is outside the purview of the Planning Commission. He argued that light and reflectivity could be measured objectively in a scientific fashion.
Ms. Gladziszewski noted that the biggest problem seems to be streetlights. Who is responsible for that and what, if any jurisdiction does the Planning Commission have? Perhaps if streetlights were addressed the issue would abate. Regarding the nominal number of complaints received, Ms. Gladziszewski wondered if people were aware that they could complain about that. Mr. Graham noted that the two complaints resulted from lights and glare from an industrial use across a water body and the other resulted from an adjacent residence. Neither was associated with a public entity.
Mr. Kendziorek doubted whether the two complaints CDD received were representative of the situation. He heard complaints about a greenhouse from an individual who said they had complained to no avail. However, he did not know whom the complaint was lodged with.
Mr. Vick recommended that the issue be returned to the Lands Committee for action or no action, at their discretion.
Mr. Bavard opened the discussion up for public comment.
Assemblyman Mark Wheeler, came forward. As chair of the Lands Committee, Mr. Wheeler stated that lighting ordinance was sent to the Planning Commission because they lacked the expertise to deal with it. Mr. Corso’s briefing and draft ordinance was in response to Mr. Wheeler’s request for a review of other municipal ordinances. Mr. Corso found the topic to be very complex and the draft ordinance was an amalgamation of his research. He added that the Lands Committee asked the Juneau Energy Advisory Committee for feedback as well. That group recommended that all outdoor lighting be shielded.
Mr. Bruce asked if the Lands Committee considered the fiscal note of such an ordinance. Mr. Wheeler stated that the discussion was brief and fiscal impacts were overshadowed by the technical information.
Nancy Waterman, 227 Gastineau Avenue, commented that last year a street light at the top of Decker Way went out for a long period of time. When it happened, the neighbors discussed it and agreed to not report the outage.
Mr. Bavard closed public testimony and recapped the options before the Commission. He asked what the will of the Commission was.
Mr. Kendziorek recommended that the Planning Commission endorse the concept and encourage the Lands Committee to continue to refine the issue with as many details as possible, including information on the use of horizontal foot candles or some other specific method of measuring the problem. Once the Lands Committee refined the ordinance, it should be returned to the Planning Commission.
Mr. Bruce raised the dilemma that neither the Lands Committee nor the Planning Commission had the expertise to address the lighting ordinance. Since CBJ staff seemed to have the necessary expertise, they ought to deal with this further.
Mr. Pusich suggested that an electrical engineer skilled in lighting design would be the appropriate professional. Perhaps the CBJ ought to contract this out so that a good ordinance results.
Mr. Allington clarified that an illuminations engineer is the correct professional for the task. The consensus of the Commission was that the language should state "a qualified expert"
Mr. Vick noted that these people currently serve the CBJ on the Code Committee.
Planning Commission action:
MOTION - by Mr. Kendziorek that the Planning Commission passes the issue back to staff to look into it and find qualified experts in the appropriate field to try and fill in the blanks and determine what appropriate measurements and criteria are to refine the draft ordinance.
Mr. Bavard clarified that the review must bear in mind the issues stated on page 2 of the memorandum.
Mr. Graham had hoped for guidance from the Commission pertaining to how the lighting issue should be addressed either through Title 49 or through Title 36?
Mr. Bruce was opposed to dealing with lighting via the Nuisance Code because it is punitive and does not allow for grandfather rights. Since the fiscal note is unknown at this time, the CBJ could potentially create a huge non-compliance problem. He preferred that lighting be addressed via the Land Use Code.
Mr. Kendziorek preferred that lighting be addressed in both sections. Title 36 should clearly state that change should occur over time and allow for grandfather rights.
Ms. Gladziszewski agreed with Mr. Kendziorek.
Mr. Pusich questioned the simplicity implied by Mr. Kendziorek's suggestion. He predicted a major undertaking for either DOT or the CBJ to bring all of their streetlights into compliance. He recommended that lighting be addressed via the Land Use Code first and only later should the Nuisance Code become involved.
Mr. Allington stated his experience was that replacement was a simple task in general.
Mr. Bavard noted the varieties of street lighting currently operating in Juneau. More significantly, he estimated that there might be a thousand or more streetlights. He argued that making changes in the lighting would be a major task.
Mr. Kendziorek asked if the Nuisance Code could be written so that change could be implemented over a period of time? He wanted the CBJ to be authorized to deal with specific obnoxious violations and that meant amending the Nuisance Code.
Mr. Bavard reiterated his reluctance to spend time on this issue considering that only two complaints in three years had been received.
Mr. Bruce thought that reducing glare and eliminating light pollution was a great idea; however, the fiscal impact was his major concern. In terms of land use policy it was better to implement change slowly to allow people the time to adjust. He didn't think that adding two new sections to the Code was advisable as the CBJ could deal with lighting issue now.
Mr. Allington recommended that the lighting issue first be reviewed by a qualified expert to see if the CBJ had a problem with glare.
Mr. Vick said that neighborhood lighting involved more than just streetlights. He wondered if the Commission was making a problem when none exists. Hiring an expert to identify and correct a problem would be expensive.
Mr. Bavard asked for the motion to be read and called for the question.
MOTION - by Mr. Kendziorek that the Planning Commission passes the lighting issue back to staff for further review and find qualified experts in the appropriate field to try and fill in the blanks and determine what appropriate measurements and criteria are in order to refine the draft ordinance.
Roll call vote:
Yeas: Allington, Bruce, Gladziszewski, Kendziorek, Pusich, Sanford, Vick
The motion passed 7 to 1.
Mr. Graham looked into Mr. Kendziorek's concerns pertaining to the stream shore and lake shore setbacks. He confirmed that the Commission had recommended that the following seven items be forwarded to the Assembly for action:
Mr. Graham indicated that these items were recommended to the Assembly but this had not yet occurred. He anticipated that this would happen after the new director was on board and all staffing deficits are filled. Mr. Graham expected this to be early spring if not sooner.
Mr. Kendziorek asked how this issue was overlooked when other, less pressing issues were acted upon. Mr. Graham agreed with Mr. Kendziorek’s characterization of the situation’s importance. The lack of a definition for ordinary high water mark and the associated ambiguity of the setback standards was not only damaging to the resources but it provides little direction to the development community. He assured the Commission that this would be brought forward to the Assembly as soon as possible.
Mr. Kendziorek stated his dissatisfaction with the timeframe proposed by Mr. Graham. He was upset by the lack of action and he wanted these recommendations forwarded to the Assembly immediately. Allowing ambiguities to remain in the Code was not only a disservice to the public but it has caused difficulties for the Commission as well.
Mr. Graham's update was in response to a citizen complaint lodged with Mr. Kendziorek. CSP2001-00003 permitted the construction of a parking lot on Jackson Street to be used primarily by snowmachiners accessing the Dan Moller Trail and the Treadwell Ditch. Mr. Graham reported that he visited the site to establish whether or not the applicant had complied with the permit Conditions. In summary, the applicant had installed the required signage but they were not located exactly where required. All in all, an earnest attempt to satisfy the Conditions has been made, but the Conditions were not strictly adhered to. Mr. Graham indicated that CDD would draft a letter to Parks and Recreation with staff's concerns.
Vice Chair Bavard called a brief recess at 8:00 p.m.
BY BARBARA SHEINBERG
Ms. Sheinberg thanked the Planning Commission and CDD staff for inviting her to present the Conceptual Plan.
Ms. Sheinberg announced that Phase I of the Subport Redevelopment planning has been completed and Phase II is now underway. Once completed, Phase II will be submitted to the public process and adopted by the Planning Commission and by the Assembly.
Over the past year, Sheinberg Associates and the property owners have been working on a redevelopment plan for the Subport area on Juneau's waterfront. The partners in the project are the Alaska Mental Health Trust, the CBJ, the State of Alaska (Departments of Administration, Education, Fish and Game, Transportation), Goldbelt, Inc., Alaska Land and Pier Company, the US Coast Guard and NOAA. The impetus for the project began with the Alaska Mental Health Trust (the owner of the bulk of the property) and their need to generate income for its clients. The trustees feel that of all their holdings in the state, the subport property has the highest potential for revenue. Recently, funding for the new armory was authorized and the timeframe for the project seem to accelerate. Once the leases for the subport and the armory expire in 2004, the Mental Health Trust wants to begin demolition and redevelopment. She explained that full development might likely span 10 to 15 years.
Ms. Sheinberg began with a PowerPoint tour of features typical of waterfront development in the Pacific Northwest: marinas, waterfront shopping, office space, docks, restaurants and expanded convention center or performing arts center. She displayed parks, condominiums, public moorage, nightlife and parking lots and other features typical of a mixed-use district. Ms. Sheinberg emphasized that the key component of a lively waterfront was multiple and shared use of the space. As well, the area is replete with easy pedestrian linkages, parking and transit centers.
Ms Sheinberg indicated on a map how these features might be laid out in the redeveloped subport area. This concept was developed following a review of the City's formally stated goal documents: Comprehensive Plan, the Capital City Vision, and the Non-motorized Transportation Plan. As well, the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, the Juneau Economic Development Council and others were invited to participate in the redesign. The McDowell Group provided an overview of the area economics and a planning criteria and theme were developed. Out from that process, specific needs were identified: more arts and cultural events, better pedestrian crossing of Egan Drive, more downtown parking, more open space on the waterfront. Once that was established, the sketching began.
As the planning proceeds, the public will be invited to numerous roundtable discussions separate from the Planning Commission process. Ms. Sheinberg's assumed that the Commission preferred for the public process to refine the Subport Redevelopment Plan before it is finally presented. Ultimately, the Subport Redevelopment Plan Phase II is slated for completion by July 2002. At that time, the parties would like the CBJ to adopt the Subport Redevelopment Plan as a part of the Comprehensive Plan. This would formalize the CBJ's acceptance for the subport redevelopment and set the stage for infrastructure and financing. It will also provide developers some certainty that the development will actually happen. She predicted that the Plan would necessitate a zoning change from Waterfront Commercial to Mixed Use II or create a Mixed Use Waterfront District. If the plan is done well, Ms. Sheinberg anticipates the public would support the zone change.
Mr. Allington encouraged the Planning Commission to consider adopting a Comprehensive Plan that was developed by the landowners. Touching on transportation aspects of Ms. Sheinberg's presentation, he urged the Commission to begin now on the update to the Area Wide Transportation Plan. Ms. Sheinberg said under the status quo, the Commission would see a variety of permits to approve. If the entire plan were adopted into the Comprehensive Plan, then the community could be guided by the overall vision. This is the only way to secure the combination of private and public components of the Redevelopment Plan.
Mr. Bavard was excited about the redevelopment. He encouraged Ms. Sheinberg to pursue the zone change but cautioned that height and view corridors would be definite issues of contention. He urged her to work hand in hand with staff.
Mr. Kendziorek applauded the work that Ms. Sheinberg has completed.
Mr. Vick was also enthusiastic about the redevelopment concept and he supported the zone change to Mixed Use II.
Ms. Sheinberg continued and reported that following September 11, the Coast Guard has heightened security concerns that may impact the planned pedestrian access to the waterfront via the sea walk. The development team wants the Coast Guard and NOAA to remain in the vicinity, however, their relocation may be contemplated. The more diversified the use the better, Ms. Sheinberg states. In that regard, visitors and tourists are sought for the area. In fact, there may be opportunities for cruise ships docking along the redeveloped site. Ms. Sheinberg doesn’t envision a duplication of South Franklin Street but rather a residential/commercial/office and waterfront mixed use zone. These topics will all be a part of the public discourse.
Mr. Bruce asked if the design team had studied the Spruce Mill redevelopment zone in Ketchikan. Ms. Sheinberg had discussed that project with the developers and she thought it was an excellent example of what the Subport Redevelopment team sought to accomplish.
Mr. Allington commented that the Spirit of London used to dock at the Coast Guard Dock. Ms. Sheinberg wasn’t aware of that fact, however, currently the Coast Guard has strict prohibitions about sharing the space with commercial users. Once the site is redeveloped, they envisioned day boats docking and the construction of private moorage in the vicinity, however.
Mr. Bavard asked if anyone from the public had comments.
Nancy Waterman, 227 Gastineau Avenue, thanked Ms. Sheinberg for her presentation. She appreciated that these types of discussions are occurring in public forums prior to their implementation. She noted the importance of tying this project in with the Area Wide Transportation Plan. She was pleased that this project would result in "downtown" beginning at Whittier Avenue, which will improve traffic circulation and better accommodate pedestrian traffic. Most importantly, Ms. Waterman recommended that the transit center be situated at the "front door" of the redeveloped area. She asked that the transit center come before parking on the list of priorities. In closing, Ms. Waterman states that the Comprehensive Plan is overdue for a thorough review and update and she urged staff to contemplate how they can initiate action in that regard.
Mr. Bavard closed public participation.
Ms. Sheinberg asked what the process might be for including the Subport Redevelopment Plan into the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Bavard recommended that the design team work with CDD staff.
XII. REPORT OF REGULAR AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES -
Mr. Vick asked why the Subdivision Review Committee did not hear Aniakchak, Inc.’s plat revision. Mr. Graham indicated that that Committee would review it. In fact, that was one reason for the proposal’s postponement at tonight’s meeting.
Mr. Pusich recommended that the Waterfront Review Committee reconvene and work with the design team for the Subport Redevelopment Project. Mr. Bavard agreed to relay the message to Chair Dybdahl.
Mr. Sanford reported that the Lands Committee met and discussed the UAS-National Guard project. After review, the Committee determined that the project met the needs of the deed restriction. The Committee also discussed purchasing the Harris property at Auke Bay. Since the Committee’s funds are low, purchasing is not contemplated at this time. However, the Lands Department continues to explore a land swap and so the issue continues as an agenda item for the Lands Committee. There was also a presentation of security and height issues pertaining to the dike trail near the airport. For right now, airport authorities will not close the dike trail.
Mr. Kendziorek asked if there was discussion about restricting hunting underneath the airport’s flight path. Mr. Sanford was unaware of pending closures. He stated that all area within the airport boundaries is restricted use. However, there are between five and eight hunters trained through Territorial Sportsmen who are authorized to hunt to the right of Runway 8. The airport does not control the Mendenhall State Game Refuge.
Mr. Bruce reported that Public Works heard status reports on several projects area wide. As the Gastineau Avenue reconstruction project concludes for the year, the consensus was that good work was accomplished. The affected residents at the end of Gastineau voted overwhelmingly in support for the paving to the end of Gastineau.
Mr. Bruce reported that the Wetlands Review Board met and learned that the golf course project is essentially on hold. Catherine Pohl of ADF&G reported that a number of new streams have been found and they are in the process of cataloguing them. The applicant and ADF&G must now resolve the anadromous stream issues.
XIII. PLANNING COMMISSION QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
Mr. Bavard noted that tonight was Roger Allington’s last meeting as a Planning Commissioner. He thanked Mr. Allington for taking time to participate.
In parting, Mr. Allington urged the Planning Commission to follow up on several items:
Mr. Allington thanked his colleagues and he wished them his best.
Motion: by Mr. Vick to adjourn.
There was no objection to the motion and Vice Chair Bavard adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m.