DATE: February 4, 2002

TO: Planning Commission

FROM: Monique Wheeler, Planner
              Community Development Department

FILE NO.:CSP2001-00011

PROPOSAL: City Project review of proposed 32 ft x 197 ft (approximately 6,300 square feet) landward dock infill project to allow deployment of ADA gangways for all ship types.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant:                 City and Borough of Juneau-Engineering Department

Property Owner:      City and Borough of Juneau

Property Address:     155 S. Seward Street

Legal Description:      Tidelands Block 83, Lot 13B, 14, 15

Parcel Code No.:       1-C10-K83-001-0

Site Size:                    1.88 Acres

Zoning:                       WC, Waterfront Commercial

Utilities:                       CBJ Water and Sewer Services

Access:                      South Franklin Street

Existing Land Use:     Commercial Dock

Surrounding Land Use: NE - Waterfront Commercial (S. Franklin St. Businesses)
                                    SW - Gastineau Channel
                                    SE - Waterfront Commercial (Mt. Roberts Tram)
                                    NW - Gastineau Channel

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The CBJ Docks and Harbors Board proposes to widen a portion of the existing downtown dock along Gastineau Channel, between the Ferry/Bus Terminal and the pier adjacent to the People’s Wharf Building (see attachment A). The area to be added measures 32 feet in width and 197 feet in length, for a total area of 6,304 square feet. The addition will be to the landward side of the existing structure. Materials used for the expansion will be compatible with the existing dock.

Expansion of this dock will not allow greater capacity or larger ships to dock. After widening, ships will have greater flexibility to move northward on the wharf and deploy ADA gangways onto the new deck rather than the existing transfer bridge. The expansion will not accommodate additional vendor activity. The project is anticipated to be underway in late winter/early spring 2002, with piles driven by April 1, 2002.

Phase two of the project (not considered in this proposal) is the construction of a Port Office/Visitor Information Center in an area adjacent to the proposed expanded dock. Tentative plans for this phase include construction of a two-story building of approximately 3,000 square feet with a footprint of 35 feet by 50 feet. The building will be located adjacent to the expansion considered here, on a new dock area next to the existing catwalk. CBJ Engineering estimates the project will be advertised for construction bids in November 2002, contingent on the appropriation of necessary funds.

 

BACKGROUND

Juneau’s municipal docking facility, the Juneau Cruise Ship Terminal, is approximately 1,740 feet long and follows part of the downtown shoreline along Gastineau Channel. Three connected wharf sections comprise the terminal: the Juneau Ferry Dock (formerly a berth for the Alaska Marine Highway), the Juneau Cold Storage Wharf, and the Alaska Steamship Wharf. The current widening proposal discussed here pertains to a section of the Juneau Ferry Dock (attachment A). It is adjacent to the Mt. Roberts Tram.

The proposed widening project is a phase of the Dock and Harbor Board’s larger expansion plans for development of a Port office and visitor information center. This project is unrelated to a proposed Marine Park deckover project located along the Alaska Steamship Wharf.

CBJ Docks and Harbors Board discussed the dock widening at two recent meetings, held October 23rd and October 25th of 2001. On October 23rd, at a meeting of the Board’s CIP/Planning Committee, a discussion of the project’s two phases occurred. October 25th was the regular meeting of the Docks and Harbors Board, which included an agenda item to discuss funding of the widening project. Both of these meetings were open to the public.

ANALYSIS

The Planning Commission reviews new city projects and recommends approval or denial to the Assembly. CBJ§49.10.170(c) discusses the role of the Planning Commission concerning city project reviews:

The report and recommendation of the Commission shall be based upon the provisions of this title, the comprehensive plan and the capital improvements program.

Land Use Ordinance

Land use development regulations governing the subject are part of the CBJ§49.70, the Juneau Coastal Management Plan (JCMP). Review of JCMP regulations pertaining to this development is provided below in the JCMP review section.

Comprehensive Plan

Policies and implementing actions from the comprehensive plan that apply to this project include:

Public and Private facilities downtown

Policy 2.11 It is the policy of the CBJ to expand the role of downtown Juneau as the civic, cultural and economic center of the community through careful urban design and planning of public and private facilities.

Implementing Actions

2.11.4 Facilitate the pedestrian usage of Downtown including:

1. Encourage development which improves pedestrian facilities.

2.11.5 Encourage continued public and private redevelopment of the South Franklin Street waterfront area, considering the following:

…3. Expand dock facilities

Encouraging tourism

Policy 2.12 It is the policy of the CBJ to encourage tourism, convention and other visitor related activities through the development of appropriate facilities and service.

Port facility development

Policy 2.14 It is the policy of the CBJ to facilitate availability of sufficient and suitable acreage for port facilities, and to work closely with the public and private sectors to facilitate commerce and enjoyment of the waterfront through development of well designed port facilities.

Implementing Actions

      1. Protect from land use conflict and/or displacement, potential new or expanded port and water dependent and water-related industrial, commercial, governmental, and recreational facilities.

Capital Improvement Program

The CBJ Capital Improvement Program document for 2002-2007 lists the project as part of the Harbor Department’s "Visitor Information and Sales Area." It is described as "upgrade of Ferry Dock Wharf Visitor Center and dock deck." The total project has been broken into phases, including the current widening project, as complete funding is not yet secured. The project is listed in CIP documentation as funded through 2007 with monies from the Harbors Enterprise Fund.

JCMP Review

The Juneau Coastal Management Program, Chapter §49.70 of the City and Borough of Juneau’s Land Use Code, provides direction on development of Juneau’s coastal and waterfront areas. The JCMP gives priority to water-dependent and water-related uses for development of coastal areas. The JCMP defines the Downtown Waterfront as a Special Waterfront Area providing for downtown related development.

The project is located within the Special Waterfront Area shown on map 3D named Downtown Waterfront: City Ferry Terminal/Rock Dump, (attachment B). The Downtown Waterfront, as a special waterfront area, is recognized by the CBJ and development in this area is in accordance with other downtown development needs. Development proposals for this area must meet water-relevancy requirements. Permitted uses include maritime activities such as commercial boating of all types, visitor industry, and cruise ships; the construction of wharfs, docks, piers, and other structures needed to provide access between shore and waterbody; and development of a seawalk with a pedestrian access easement and continuous pedestrian path along the downtown waterfront area.

Concerning coastal provisions, the dock widening proposal will comply with JCMP policies directing port and harbor uses to enhance public viewing of positive visual aspects of Juneau’s coastal areas (CBJ§ 49.70.905 (10)).

Portions of this parcel, 1-C10-K83-001-0, are in a mapped velocity flood zone (V5), where the base flood elevation is 23 feet MLLW, per Flood Insurance Rate Map 0725 B, published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the Federal Insurance Administration, dated February 4, 1981. Flood zone concerns do not apply to this proposal, as it does not include a habitable structure. If a habitable structure were proposed, flood zone provisions would be considered.

Based on the preceding analysis, the proposal has been evaluated for consistency with the JCMP and is found to comply with policies listed in the ordinance.

 

FINDINGS

Upon review of the application material submitted, the CBJ Land Use Code (JCMP), the CBJ Comprehensive Plan and the Docks and Harbors Capital Improvement Project Plan, the director finds that the proposed project:

  1. Has a complete application that contains the information necessary for review.
  2. Complies with the provisions of the CBJ Land Use Code, including the JCMP.
  3. Complies with the general intent of the CBJ Comprehensive Plan.
  4. Has been included in the Docks and Harbors Capital Improvement Project Plan.
  5. Will improve the safety and function of the gangway landing area on the Juneau Ferry Dock for recreational, tourist and industry users.

 

RECOMMENDATION

Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt the director’s analysis and findings and approve the widening of the Juneau Ferry Dock as described in this report.