PARKS AND RECREATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE
July 6, 1999
The meeting was called to order at 6:02 p.m. by Dan King, Chair.
Members Present: Dan King, Ken Dean, Jim King, Lynn Bartlett, Alex Lukshin, Joan Herbage
OíKeefe, Jeff Wilson
Members Absent: Paul Grossi, Kay Gouyton
Staff Present: Kim Kiefer, Parks and Recreation Director, Bob Grochow, Parks and Landscape
Superintendent, James King, Trail Mix, Inc., and Monique Hickey, Secretary
Ex-Officio: No members present
William Dunn, 11435 Glacier Highway. Mr. Dunn was present to discuss an incident that happened on the Richard Marriott trail. He was recently walking on the trail with a friend and came across a young lady with an unleashed dog. Mr. Dunn stated that the woman and dog were making a racket and splashing around in the water. He feels that itís a precious, sacred trail and that dogs should not be allowed in the stream. He feels that the stream needs to be protected and that there should be a posting on the trail to discourage dogs from being allowed in the stream.
The agenda was unanimously approved.
June 1, 1999 Meeting Minutes. Dan King asked that Joan Herbage OíKeefeís name be added to page 3, Section C as the member that requested Marine Park/Steamship Wharf Improvements be added to Action Items. The minutes were unanimously approved pending amendment.
Kim Kiefer stated that this was the first step of the conceptual plan on its way to the Lands Committee and then to the full Assembly. The Exchange is for the City and Borough of Juneau to acquire U.S. Survey 0, for the Huizerís to acquire Lot #0004 at Huffman Harbor, and for the Kimballís to acquire Lot #0131 at Rocky Point. The PRAC met in December to discuss the requested land exchange and decided to defer making a recommendation until both property owners were in town. Both property owners are in town and would like the PRAC to review their request.
Ed Huizer, P.O. Box 210191, Auke Bay 99821. Mr. Huizer was present to give a brief history of the proposal. He stated that when the Huffman lots were put up for public disposal in the 1950s, Lot #0004 was designated as a public beach access. He stated that the survey notes and reports are vague as to why it was designated as such. He believes that it had something to do with the hand trollers that had camps on the property. However, this has created a number of problems for those with cabins and homesites out there. At the time Lot #0004 was designated as public access, Huffman Harbor was 28 miles from Juneau and there seemed little chance that electricity would be put in and that there was no need for a formal access right of way. Current residents are concerned with the area receiving greater public use. Mr. Huizer stated that heís not interested in retaining Lot #0004 as his own property. The concept is to buy Lot #0004 in favor of the owners of Lots 1-6 and Lot 11, and to have the various property owners work out the dividing lines. He stated that the city is increasingly interested in acquiring U.S. Survey 0, and that the Kimballís and themselves are anxious for the trade. He stated that heís more than willing to do whatever is necessary to make sure access will continue for property owners. Property owners are concerned with how much the value of their property would go up in acquiring beachfront property. Neighbors have discussed their concerns for no building of permanent buildings or docks. They also believe that more people will start using their property as year-round residences. In conclusion, Mr. Huizer stated that heís interested in proceeding with the concept of a land trade. He thinks it would be a good arrangement for the people of Huffman and Amalga Harbors, as well as beneficial for the City and Borough of Juneau to acquire U.S. Survey 0. He feels that Lot #0004 is not used frequently by the public, not like U.S. Survey 0 is used.
Dan King feels that the beach access issue needs to be addressed on how the plot will be subdivided, as well as what the increase of property values for each owner of Huffman Harbor will be. Kim Kiefer responded that until the Assembly approves the conceptual idea, staff will not put in a lot of time figuring out the specifics of the exchange. Once the Assembly approves the concept, the plan will be presented to the PRAC, including all the pertinent information.
Kaye Sullivan, 25120 Amalga Harbor Road, Auke Bay 99821. Ms. Sullivan was present to state that she is in favor of the land trade. She feels that the city would gain and benefit by acquiring U.S. Survey 0. She feels that this land more than makes up for the beach access parcel at Huffman, and that U.S. Survey 0 has a lot more room for public access than the lot at Huffman Harbor.
John Taber, P.O. Box 210768, Auke Bay 99821. Mr. Taber referred to his written testimony (attached) and stated that he is a year-round resident at Huffman Harbor. He would like to see Lot #0004 left as public access so that neighborís are guaranteed access to their properties. He feels that Lot #0004 was specifically left as public access in the 1950s for that purpose. Mr. Taber stated that the most common way to access his property is to use the public beach, and preferably the sandier parts of the beach, which is not in front of his property. Alex Lukshin stated that he thinks itís important that the record shows that Huffman Harbor residents are currently using Lot #0004 as if it were their own property. He stated that if one was to walk on the property now one would think it was private property, not public.
Art Kimball, P.O. Box 210147, Auke Bay 99821. Mr. Kimball is Ĺ owner of U.S. Survey 0. He stated that the property is roughly 4.5 acres with 900 feet of shoreline. He continues to be interested in exchanging his portion of U.S. Survey 0 for the parcel on Rocky Point.
Frank Homan, 124 West Sixth Street. Mr. Homan stated the he is the property owner of lots 4 and 5 at Huffman Harbor. He stated that he would like to see the concept move forward and to look at aspects of access and cost. He stated that if something were to come about with the trade, he has no reservations about putting a public access trail across his private property so that other owners at Huffman Harbor can be assured access to their lots. He does not see the conceptual idea as the final word of the exchange, and would like to have another chance to comment once the access issue has been worked out, as well as costs to the property owners. At this point, he supports the land exchange, but believes this is not the last word on it.
Ed Mills, 25025 Amalga Harbor Road, Auke Bay 99821. He stated that the trail to Huffman Harbor goes past his door. He supports the land exchange. He is concerned with increased use of Lot #0004 at Huffman Harbor and feels that U.S. Survey 0 would be a better place for a city park.
Public Testimony Closed
Jim King stated that U.S. Survey 0 is used by the public much more than Lot #0004 at Huffman Harbor, and that the Huizerís and Kimballís do not object to the public using their land. Initially he was concerned with losing Rocky Point. However, two things have changed. The City and Borough of Juneau has acquired the Smith Property (a complimentary piece of land surrounding U.S. Survey 0), making it more important that the city has a chance to acquire U.S. Survey 0 to create a grand park. He feels that we should be happy that the Kimballís and Huizerís are not selling to a commercial enterprise. The other change is that Rocky Point beach access is not heavily used by the public. Instead, Lena Cove and Lena Point both provide a better waterfront park. So, from the public point of view, it makes sense to proceed with the land exchange and he feels that it will help the city in developing one of the best park systems that they can. He feels that the details with the division of Lot #0004 at Huffman Harbor is beyond the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and should be worked out by someone else.
THE PRAC MADE A MOTION TO RECOMMEND THE LANDS COMMITTEE APPROVE THE CONCEPTUAL LAND EXCHANGE OF LOT #0004 AT HUFFMAN HARBOR AND LOT #0131 AT ROCKY POINT BEACH FOR U.S. SURVEY 0, AND FORWARD THE RECOMMENDATION TO THE FULL ASSEMBLY.
THE MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
Kim Kiefer gave a description and history of CBJ Parks and Recreation policies for tree cutting in city parks. . The Lands policy and the Parks and Recreation policy is to leave trees unless they are a safety hazard to adjacent property owners. She stated that the following factors are considered when reviewing a proposal: safety issues, benefits to the park (for example, expansion of parking, additional fields, trails, etc.), fairness (how can we allow in one place, but not in another), impact on park aesthetics and what kind of precedence it sets, stability of hillsides, winds, number of trees to be cut, who will pay for it, and who will get the wood. She stated that we receive many calls a year with requests to cut trees. Kim stated that she has not heard the proposal yet, but that Ms. Simpson will present the neighborhoods concerns (attached).
Paulette Simpson, 402 Alaska Belle Court, Douglas 99824. She began by stating that she was not presenting a proposal, but hopes that one will grow out of it. She stated that the Treadwell trail is used regularly by various user groups year-round. Ms. Simpson outlined the neighborís concerns with the current state of the natural area park including the tree growth, the safety of the area, the illegal activity happening in the park, and the overall park atmosphere.
Bud Simpson, 402 Alaska Belle Court, Douglas 99824. Mr. Simpson stated that he was present to answer any questions that the PRAC has. He feels that their suggestion fits in with the current policy because he believes that this is a safety issue. He also stated that this area used to be an industrial area, and has since become abandoned and overgrown. He stated that the neighbors are not interested in clear-cutting the area, it is their front yard and they have no desire to make it unsightly. Instead, they want to improve the safety of the area, as well as improve the aesthetics of the area.
Jeff Wilson asked him who would do the thinning and cutting. Mr. Simpson replied that the neighbors are willing to do it themselves, but thinks the city would rather have control of the process. Jeff asked him if the neighbors would be willing to reimburse the city. Mr. Simpson replied that it depended on the cost, but that he was not willing to write a blank check. Dan King asked if the area had been surveyed and marked with which trees should be cut. Mr. Simpson stated that this has not been done at this point, but that there are some obvious older cottonwood trees that are safety hazards that should be cut.
Lynn Bartlett asked Kim if she has heard any input from the fire or police departments regarding health and safety issues. Kim replied that she has not, but that she would look into it.
Bill Chisham, 6550 N. Douglas. Mr. Chisham signed up to testify but had to leave.
William Dunn, 11435 Glacier Highway. Mr. Dunn stated that he is adamantly opposed to any tree cutting or thinning on the Treadwell trail. He stated that he would like to see a detailed proposal. He believes the place is an unbelievable complex of aesthetic beauty and he questions any proposal to thin out the trees.
Rick Urion, 118 5th Street, Douglas AK 99824. Mr. Urion stated that he feels that for the past 18 years he has been the primary caretaker of the area, stating that he has maintained the lock on the gate, has asked campers to stop camping there, has asked people shooting to stop shooting there, has picked up garbage there, and has maintained the stream from washing out until Trail Mix took that over. He doesnít think that thinning the trees would hurt the area at all, and that if it is done right, people could walk through the next day and not even know the thinning has been done. He suggests removing the cottonwoods since they are the largest trees and take up the most light, as well as being dangerous due to the bottom branches being rotten. He stated that topping trees does not kill them, he knows because heís done it himself. He believes that thinning the area would make it better for everyone and he asked the PRAC to give the proposal serious consideration.
Ginnger Johnson, 118 5th Street, Douglas AK 99824. Ms. Johnson stated that she runs on the trail for an hour everyday. She had an incident with a man coming out from behind the bushes and exposing himself. She also mentioned that there was a mother with children living in the area for a month, that she has seen underage drinking and that the paintball activity in the area is horrendous. She wants the area to be safe for everyone. She agrees with Rick that the cottonwoods should be removed. She stated that this request is not that the neighbors want to be selfish and have their views back, but that the area has become a safety issue. She wants families to be able to use the area and feel safe. She is concerned that the area gets little attention from the city, as far as maintenance goes.
Charlene Halstead Griffin, 400 St. Annís Avenue. Ms. Griffin stated that she is willing to reimburse the city to have the trees cut and thinned. She stated that her property assessment is based on having a view and that she is paying property taxes based on having a view, but that "view" is no longer a view. She feels that her property either needs to be reclassified, or the view should be restored. She feels the city is willing to accommodate tourists, but not willing to accommodate citizens. She is concerned that neighbors can no longer see the beach and therefore cannot monitor the activity that goes on there. She feels the area has become unsafe. She stated that she frequently checks the internet for sex offenders and knows that a large number of them live in Douglas, West Juneau and the boat harbor. She doesnít feel that her kids are safe to go down to the beach or trail unless they are with a large group of people. She too stated that the neighbors are not interested in clear cutting, but would like some selective tree cutting and judicious thinning of the area to be done.
Mala Reges, 226 St. Annís Avenue. Ms. Regis stated that her property borders on the start of the trail to the beach area. She stated that she has not encountered a lot of problems in the area except an occasional camper. She would like to see a definite plan of the area including a plan to keep the area thinned and maintained. She is concerned that the ruins are not always visible due to the overgrowth of the area. She depends on the trees as a windbreak and assumes that other neighbors do too. She would like to see a developed plan incorporating all of the aspects that Kim Kiefer discussed. Then, she would like this plan presented to Douglas neighbors for their comment.
Public Testimony Closed
Dan King asked James King from Trail Mix if they might have some time to look at the area and recommend how the city should proceed. James replied that they are willing to work with the city. However, Trail Mix focuses on trails and is not willing to take on the whole area.
Alex Lukshin asked Kim what the status of the historical site was. Kim replied that it is a park and that Parks and Recreation is in charge of maintaining it. Bob Grochow, Parks and Landscape Superintendent stated that the cityís extent of involvement and maintenance has been fairly limited over the years. However, over the past year there has been discussion among staff to develop a maintenance plan for the area, especially with its increased use over the past few years. Bob also mentioned that clarification needs to be addressed in regards to park boundaries because people were commenting on areas tonight that the city does not own.
Joan Herbage OíKeefe stated that she likes the current policy for topping, thinning or removing trees from city parks, but that more checking needs to be done on the area in question in regards to it being a safety issue. The PRAC agreed that a quick fix is not the solution to the problem. Lynn Bartlett also commented that she was a Douglas resident for 14 years and that the issue of shooting and safety has always been an issue in Douglas, itís not just because of the overgrowth.
THE PRAC MADE A MOTION TO RECOMMEND TO THE LANDS COMMITTEE TO DEVELOP A LONG-RANGE MASTER MAINTENANCE AND DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR THE SAVIKKO PARK/TREADWELL HISTORIC MINING AREA.
THE MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
James King of Trail Mix, Inc. was the planner for the Juneau Non-Motorized Transportation Plan that was adopted in 1997. Therefore, he was present to update the PRAC on non-motorized transportation projects. James stated that Juneauís non-motorized transportation needs were identified through a long public process with the community. James stated that his #1 recommendation is to create a separated path from the Mendenhall Visitorís Center to Egan Drive. This project would rank high due to the high percentage of bike accidents, and is therefore a safety issue. It would also rank high since it would connect to numerous streets, increasing surface transportation. The other two projects that would rank high on the STIP list are Thane Road and connecting cul de sacs/neighborhoods. Each cul de sac project would be listed separately, but lumped under one project.
THE PRAC MADE A MOTION TO HAVE STAFF PROCEED WITH CREATING A PRIORITY LIST WHICH THE PRAC WILL REVIEW AT AN UPCOMING MEETING.
THE MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
Kim Kiefer stated that the ADA Committee has met and reviewed the proposal for the Channel Drive Wayside, and they are very happy with the proposal. DOT is continuing to receive comments and looking at environmental agencies for feedback.
Dan King stated that he met with Al Parrish from Holland America Cruise Lines and they are very concerned with how the community perceives tourism in Juneau.
Dan stated that next June will be the 25th Annual Rainball Tournament, and he requested that the concession stand project and restroom facilities at Dimond Park be completed before then. He also suggested having a dedication of the park improvements in conjunction with the Tournament.
Dan asked Kim about Proposition 3 signs. Kim replied that the signs would have the generic statement, "Sales tax money at workÖ", with an explanation part in the middle of the sign that can be replaced. She also stated that only high use areas will have signs posted since the signs are expensive.
Dan mentioned that this yearís Dustball Tournament and Gold Rush Days were successful.
Dan asked if there was an update on the golf course, and Kim replied that she has not heard any update.
Dan asked if there was an update on the ice arena and Kim replied that Public Works is scheduled to hear the proposal on July 7, 1999. She has not heard anything on an ice arena in the valley.
Dan asked who would be using the fields at the new park on Glacier Highway. Kim replied that everyone will be using the fields. They will not be designated for any particular group.
Dan asked if there was any update about motorized use of Auke Lake. Kim replied that she has received a few phone calls, but hasnít heard anything from the neighborhood association.
The Skate Park waste station project goes to the Planning Commission on July 13, 1999. The plan is to have the project completed this fall.
The baseball field lighting bid at Adair Kennedy has been pulled due to the lighting being inaccurate. Kim stated that she still hopes to have the preliminary work done this fall, and for the lights to be done in the spring.
Not enough companies were willing install sample artificial turf at Adair Kennedy, so the project may have to be postponed another year. Juneau Youth Football League and Dan King do not want to postpone the project.
Adair Kennedy bleachers bid has gone out. The bleachers may not be delivered until November, so the project may not get done until spring.
North Douglas Community Garden site has come to a halt due to the discovery of contaminated soil.
Reroute work is being done on Perseverance trail around the Granite Creek bridge washout.
Work has been done on the parking lot/picnic area at Auke Lake. It is hoped that people will start using the area more as a picnic area, not just parking.
Jim King stated that he was happy to see a little boy in a wheelchair catch a fish off of the new accessible fishing pier at Twin Lakes. However, he is very disturbed with the pruning that DOT is doing on Egan Drive near Twin Lakes. He wanted to know if there was any way to slow the process down. Kim replied that she would call Kerby Wright.
Jim also asked if the PRAC would be able to look at the draft transportation plan that the city is working on. Kim stated that she would let the PRAC know when the meetings will be held, as well try to bring someone in to a PRAC meeting for a briefing of the plan.
James King stated that the Mt. Roberts Tram matched the cities $25,000, including next year as well for a total of $100,000 available for work on the Mt. Roberts trail. This year work will focus above the Tram and next year work will focus on the bottom of the trail.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.