PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU
Johan Dybdahl, Chair
November 13, 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.
I. ROLL CALL
Commissioners present: Mike Bavard, Dan Bruce, Maria Gladziszewski, Mark Pusich, Merrill Sanford, Jody Vick
Commissioners absent: Johan Dybdahl, Marshal Kendziorek
A quorum was present.
Staff present: Dale Pernula, CDD Director; Oscar Graham, CDD Planning Supervisor; Greg Chaney, CDD Planner; Teri Camery, CDD Planner; Chris Beanés, CDD Planner; Mark Jaqua, CDD Planner
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES -
October 23, 2001 - Regular Meeting
MOTION - by Mr. Pusich to approve the minutes of October 23, 2001 as written.
Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.
Prior to the start of business at hand, Mr. Bavard introduced Dale Pernula, the new Director of the Community Development Department to the Planning Commission and to the public.
III. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS - None
IV. RECONSIDERATION OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS - none
V. CONSENT AGENDA
Vice Chair Bavard announced there was only one item on the Consent Agenda. Mr. Bavard named VAR2001-00030 and he inquired if there was any public comment. No one from the public wished to comment, and there were no questions from commissioners. Ms. Gladziszewski stated her recollection that one more item had been added to the Consent Agenda from the Regular Agenda.
MOTION - by Mr. Bruce to approve the Consent Agenda that included VAR2001-00030.
There was no objection and the Consent Agenda, as listed below, was approved.
A Variance for construction of two hangars, 25-42 feet from Jordan Creek where 50 feet is required.
Location: 1745 CREST STREET
Applicant: RALPH KIBBY
Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission adopt the director’s analysis and findings and grant the requested variance, which would allow construction of two hangars, 25-42 feet from Jordan Creek at 1745 and 1749 Crest St, with the following conditions:
VI. CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
VII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
VIII. REGULAR AGENDA
RSH Subdivision III, a Preliminary Plat to create 32 lots from 3 existing lots, Lots 1,2, and 3, RSH Subdivision II, in the Lemon Creek area.
Location: 1810 ANKA STREET
Applicant: ANIAKCHAK INC
Mr. Bavard stated that SUB2001-00034, a preliminary plat to create 32 lots from 3 existing lots, would be continued by the request of the applicant.
Mr. Chaney added that the since the applicant was unavailable and changes were contemplated, the applicant requested that this be continued to a later date.
Mr. Bavard asked if there were objections to continuing. None were noted and it was so ordered.
An Ordinance (Serial No.: 2001-16) to amend the land use code to allow greater square footage for convenience stores based upon bonus amenities provided by the applicant. In addition, landscape requirements were added to allow buffering between incompatible land uses.
Applicant: CITY & BOROUGH OF JUNEAU
Staff recommendation: That the Planning Commission recommend to the Assembly the adoption of TX2001-0004, Ordinance Serial No. 2001-16, an ordinance amending the Land Use Code standards for convenience stores.
Staff report: Mr. Beanés said that because the public advertisement in the Juneau Empire erroneously noticed that TXT2001-00004 would be rescheduled the Commission must abide by that notice. As well, contrary to the staff report, the Minutes from October 9, 2001 were not included in the packets. Mr. Beanés asked the Commission if there were other items members needed for an adequate review of the draft Ordinance for its hearing at the November 27th hearing.
Mr. Vick asked if Public Testimony would be heard at the next meeting. Mr. Beanés indicated that the Chair had closed the period for Public Testimony at the last hearing.
Mr. Pusich asked if that included written testimony. Mr. Beanés recalled that from the Minutes from October 9, 2001 that public testimony was closed which implied written testimony was precluded.
Mr. Vick noted that comments received prior to tonight’s meeting discussed the language of the final Draft Ordinance. Would Public Testimony need to be reopened when the Commission discussed verbiage and grammatical construction? Mr. Beanés indicated that the October 9, 2001 hearing concluded deliberations on the Ordinance. All that remained to be done was for the Planning Commission to sign off on the final draft of the Ordinance followed by a final vote.
Mr. Bruce noted that it would be appropriate for this item to be scheduled under Unfinished Business opposed to the Regular Agenda at the next hearing. Mr. Beanés agreed.
Ms. Gladziszewski asked about written comments received that day. Should the Commission review those items? Mr. Beanés reiterated that the Chair closed Public Testimony on October 9th and all that remained was the final approval of the draft. The Commission continued its final action until it could verify that the revisions discussed at the October 9th hearing were incorporated into the final draft.
Mr. Bavard stated that at the next meeting, after Commissioners compared the final draft with the October 9, 2001 Minutes, there would be a vote whether or not to forward the Ordinance to the Assembly for their consideration. Once the Ordinance were forwarded to the Assembly, Public Testimony would be reopened and the Assembly could make whatever changes they deemed fit.
Mr. Beanés concurred. At the next meeting, the Commission wanted to look at the final Draft and review the Minutes of October 9, 2001 to verify that comments were incorporated.
Mr. Bavard reiterated that the Commission was at the point of voting on the Ordinance but they deferred action pending a review of the finalized Ordinance. The Commission wanted to move forward but they were uncomfortable doing so because they did not have a final draft available.
Mr. Graham confirmed that Mr. Bavard’s comments reflected his recollection of the events. He noted that the draft in the packets was indeed the final Draft Ordinance.
Mr. Bruce thought it would be helpful to include all versions of the draft Ordinance as well as the Minutes for October 9, 2001 in the packets.
Ms. Gladziszewski added that the Ordinance was discussed twice. As such, all pertinent Minutes ought to be provided to the Commission.
Mr. Bavard announced that this item was continued to the next meeting of the Planning Commission. At that time, TXT2001-00004 would be taken up under Unfinished Business and the Commission would vote whether or not it would be forwarded to the Assembly, as written. The next step, the Ordinance would be taken up by the Assembly for action. That included the taking of Public Testimony.
A Conditional Use permit to review a second story addition to a commercial building in a mapped moderate hazard zone.
Location: 0278 S FRANKLIN STREET
Applicant: DON HARRIS
Staff report: Mr. Chaney anticipated that this item would appear on the Consent Agenda and his report would be brief. The applicant proposes to expand his existing structure in a mapped hazard zone. The applicant also proposes to add space to the second story, which will add space for a mail order operation as well as a residence. The ground floor will be reconfigured to include retail space and the expansion of the bar area. The remodel will result in no changes to the applicant’s parking requirement.
Mr. Chaney explained the hazard projections from engineering geologist Douglas Swanson’s report, dated October 4, 2001. The report indicated that if a slide were to occur, the Red Dog might be hit with material at a force of 30 to 40 lbs per square foot. Dr. Swanson characterized the flow to be a "slurry of water" with most of the rocks and large materials stopped earlier. Dr. Swanson felt that the Red Dog’s existing foundation was sufficient to withstand that force. Terry Brenner from CBJ Engineering Department reviewed Mr. Swanson’s report and concurred with the analysis and conclusions. Mr. Chaney pointed to a late letter submitted as testimony from Loren Warner, the owner of the former JPD Building. Mr. Warner’s letter itemized three concerns that were resolved following a discussion with Mr. Chaney.
Staff recommendation: 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 second story addition to an existing commercial building. The addition would consist of a two-bedroom apartment and a mail-order facility above the existing Red Dog Saloon.
Mr. Bavard noted that he realized too late that USE2001-00045 was intended for the Consent Agenda. Continuing, Mr. Bavard opened this item for Public Testimony.
Don Harris, 300 Hermit Way, is the co-owner (along with his wife) of the Red Dog Saloon. Mr. Harris displayed a drawing of the final structure for the Commissioners to review. He explained that the addition is a part of a long-term expansion plan that began when the Red Dog relocated from its former Franklin Street location. Mr. Harris highlighted the major changes: the elimination of the restaurant, the expansion of food service in the saloon, the expansion of a mail order service and retail area. The old kitchen will be upgraded to a Class II Kitchen facility and he anticipates reopening in February 2002.
Mr. Bavard noted that no one else from the public wished to testify; therefore, Public Testimony was closed.
Planning Commission action:
MOTION: by Mr. Pusich to accept staff’s recommendations analysis, findings and recommendations and grant USE2001-00045.
There were no objections to the Motion and it was so ordered.
Mr. Bavard adjourned as the Planning Commission and reconvened as the Board of Adjustment in order to hear the final item on the Agenda.
IX. BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT - None
A Variance for a 684 Square Foot accessory apartment.
Location: 3151 PIONEER AVENUE
Applicant: NORMA STRICKLAND
Staff Report: Mark Jaqua reported that Norma Strickland is applying for a Variance to the size limitation for her 684 square foot accessory apartment. In all other respects, the request meets the Variance requirements except for an excess 84 square feet to the 600 square foot limit. In 1995, Ms. Strickland and her sister built a single family dwelling with two separate living spaces that share a common front entrance. The lot is 8,269 square feet in size, which is less than the 10,500 square feet required for a duplex in D-5 Residential zone. Mrs. Strickland occupies the upper level and her sister lived in the lower level. The lower level was built with a total area of 684 square feet, with a kitchen, bath, study, bedroom and laundry room. The maximum allowed size for an accessory apartment is 600 square feet, with one bedroom. A deed restriction was recorded with the building permit that prevented the owners from renting the lower unit as an apartment.
A medical condition now precludes Ms. Strickland’s sister from occupying the lower level, and she seeks relaxation of the maximum size requirement for an accessory apartment in order to rent the lower level.
Mr. Jaqua explained that the Variance application does not meet criteria (b) (5): (A) where compliance with the existing standards would unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property for a permissible principal use, or (B) prevent the owner from using the property in a manner consistent as to scale with existing development in the neighborhood. (C) We find there are no unique physical features of the property that render compliance with the standards unreasonably expensive, and (D) that there are no preexisting nonconforming conditions on the subject parcel. All other criteria are met.
Staff Recommendation: That the Board of Adjustment adopt the director’s analysis and findings and deny the requested variance in the maximum size requirement for an accessory apartment.
However, if a Variance is granted, then it is recommended that a conditional use be attached that limits the use to a single bedroom.
Mr. Bruce noted that 84 square feet prevented the owner from using the property for its permissible principal use. Mr. Jaqua said the principal use is as a single-family dwelling. However, if the apartment were 600 square feet, that would also be a permissible use. Mr. Bruce continued that permissible use for that area was for single-family dwellings with a mother-in-law apartment provided it doesn’t exceed 600 square feet. The question is, ‘does the existence of the additional 84 square feet unreasonably prevent the owner from using her property for that principal use?’
Mr. Vick understands asked staff if the Commission had ever granted a Variance for a mother-in-law apartment in excess of 600 square feet. Mr. Jaqua said that since 1994, there were 11 applications for accessory apartment Variances. Out of that pool, seven applications were approved. In short, the Commission has approved more than it has denied.
Mr. Sanford asked what the nature of the approved Variances were. Mr. Jaqua said most were size Variances where the applicant requested relaxation of the 600 square feet requirement.
Norma Strickland, 3151 Pioneer Drive, the applicant, summarized the contents of her letter dated, October 23, 2001. Ms. Strickland states that since her sister had a stroke, the bottom portion of the home has gone unused. Ms. Strickland contacted Elmer Ignell, the builder, to consult about modifications to the lower level in order to comply with the Land Use Code. To comply, Ms. Strickland must board off a bedroom and construct an outside entrance to access it. The only reasonable use for that room would be storage, since it would be completely detached from both the upstairs and from the garage.
Mr. Bavard commended the applicant on the number of letters in support that she obtained from her neighbors. He asked if anyone else wanted to speak to this Variance. No one came forward and Public Testimony was closed.
Mr. Bruce reiterated his summation of the dilemma of whether or not Variance Criteria 5A could be met. He thought it ludicrous that the Community Development Department and the Planning Commission invested so much effort into a minimal amount of excessive square footage. If the intent were to limit the mother-in-law apartments to one bedroom then this Variance request certainly meets that intent.
Mr. Pusich agreed with Mr. Bruce’s analysis for Variance Criteria 5A. He thought the applicant tried the best they could to comply, the amount of square footage was minimal and the neighbors unilaterally supported approving the Variance.
Mr. Vick also noted the overwhelming support by the neighbors and he stated his agreement with previous comments.
Planning Commission action:
MOTION: by Mr. Bruce that the Board of Adjustment grant VAR2001-00032 and adopt staff’s findings regarding 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 and make the following finding:
5A is met, as the enforcement of the size requirement would unreasonably prevent from using the property for its permissible principal use: that being a single-family residence with a mother-in-law apartment.
Mr. Bavard was surprised by staff’s assertion about the number of Variances approved for square footage. He recollected that the Commission attempts to heed the 600 square foot limitation as often as possible. However, in this situation, his fellow commissioners persuaded him and that this is not an unreasonable request.
Ms. Gladziszewski asked Mr. Bruce if he would consider adding language that limits the mother-in-law apartment to a single bedroom.
Mr. Bruce agreed.
FRIENDLY AMENDMENT: by Ms. Gladziszewski, that the mother-in-law apartment is limited to a single bedroom.
Roll call vote:
YEAS: Bavard, Bruce, Gladziszewski, Pusich, Sanford, Vick
Absent: Dybdahl, Kendziorek
The motion was approved unanimously.
X OTHER BUSINESS - None
XI. DIRECTOR'S REPORT
Mr. Graham gave this report noting that Mr. Pernula had started work only that day.
Mr. Graham reported that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game continues to work with the applicant on the issue of stream mapping. A meeting of the agencies has been scheduled for November 20, 2001 to discuss reconciling the TCI site plan and ADFG’s map that incorporates the new stream mapping efforts. If that goes well, discussions on resolving the conflicts will ensue. The meeting is scheduled to last the afternoon, as all sides are eager to make progress.
Mr. Bavard commented that any efforts to resolve the issues with the applicant prior to its next public hearing would be helpful. Mr. Graham agreed.
Mr. Bruce asked what happens if there is disagreement between TCI and the agencies regarding streams that should be cataloged and outfitted with buffers. Would the Planning Commission be charged with resolving those disagreements or was there another body that has authority. Mr. Graham said some issues will come before the Commission but the designation of anadromous streams and which are catalogued by statute was largely the realm of the Department of Fish and Game.
Mr. Bruce asked how much discretion does the agency have in determining that. Mr. Bruce had just returned from playing golf on a course in a river valley in the Pacific Northwest. He noted that the courses included stream corridors with meandering buffers. Obviously, a lot of work and cooperation went into determining the varied buffers. Mr. Graham said that the buffer standards in place in the Pacific Northwest are a lot more sophisticated than what exists in Alaska. Especially for areas that plan for growth management, local ordinances include standards that allow for an averaging approach for flexibility. This allows for larger buffers along sensitive habitat and reductions for less sensitive habitat. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game also understands that buffer protections are based upon site-specific conditions. A lot more information will be known following the November 20th meeting.
Mr. Bruce invited Dale Pernula to make comments to the Planning Commission.
Pernula responded with a brief description of his professional background. For the past 20 years, Mr. Pernula lived and worked in Moscow, Idaho, a community that had much in common with Juneau. He was pleased to be in Alaska, as it was his lifelong dream. So far, he reports, he has not been disappointed.
Mr. Bavard wished him luck!
Mr. Sanford urged Mr. Pernula to tackle the requested updates to the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Graham indicated that he drafted an outline of those changes for Mr. Pernula’s review.
XII. REPORT OF REGULAR AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES -
Mr. Pusich reported that the Wetlands Review Board had a special meeting to consider Mr. Tonsgard’s gravel extraction permit application for the Herbert River site. This item would be heard by the Commission shortly.
Mr. Bavard reported that the Subdivision Review Committee met to hear Aniakchak, Inc.’s proposal. He thought that all of the issues were resolved but because the applicant was unavailable for tonight’s meeting, the subdivision plat review was postponed.
XIII. PLANNING COMMISSION QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
Mr. Bruce asked what the time frame for replacing Mr. Allington was. Ms. Gladziszewski thought that the Human Resources Committee planned to meet the week of November 19th and the vacancy would be considered at that time. Mr. Graham was certain the new Commissioner would be on board by the New Year.
Motion: by Mr. Vick to adjourn.
There was no objection to the motion and Vice Chair Bavard adjourned the meeting at 8:00 p.m.