DATE:    February 6, 2002

TO:         Planning Commission

FROM:  Oscar Graham, Planner
                Community Development Department

FILE NO.: USE2001-00043

PROPOSAL: Construction of a 15,600 square foot two-story commercial building in a severe landslide hazard zone.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant:                       Walsh Services

Property Owner:             Steve Landvik

Property Address:          425 South Franklin Street, Juneau

Legal Description:           Juneau Townsite Block T, Lot 1, 7A Subdivision

Parcel Code Number:     1-C07-0-I01-001-0

Site Size:                         8,400 square feet

Zoning:                           Mixed Use 

Utilities:                          CBJ Water and Sewer Services

Access:                          South Franklin Street

Existing Land Use:         Vacant

Surrounding Land Use: North - Gastineau Avenue/Residential
                                    South -South Franklin Street
                                    East -Tourist Oriented Retail
                                    West -Tourist Oriented Retail

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant requests an allowable use permit and hillside development endorsement for the construction of a 15,600 square foot tourist oriented retail structure. Because the proposed building is located in a severe landslide/avalanche area, delineated by the CBJ on the "Landslide/Avalanche Hazards Map (Adopted 1987), the proposal will also require a conditional use permit (CBJ §49.70.300(3). The building will be two floors, each with a gross floor area of 6,700 square feet and a mezzanine on the first floor comprising 2,200 square feet. This produces a total gross floor area of 15,600 square feet. It will occupy the entire South Franklin Street frontage. The first floor will be divided into three sub-spaces that will be leased to retail operators. Common facilities will include a stairway, elevator, bathrooms and equipment spaces. The mezzanine floor and the upper floor will be divided into sub-spaces for storage use by the main floor lessees. (Attachment A: Application)

The lot is sloped, at present. There is an area of flat land about 30 feet deep along the South Franklin frontage. To make space for the building, the sloped area will be excavated about 60 feet further into the hillside. A sheet pile retaining wall will be driven to hold the earth to the rear and sides of the building. This wall will retain the hillside so that a second wall, made of reinforced concrete can be built in front of it. The concrete wall is integral to the building but will also extend about six feet above the ground on the rear side of the development to capture material that might be expected from a mass-wasting or landslide event.

The sheet pile wall will be reinforced with rock anchors. This will be done by drilling boreholes through the wall to bedrock behind the wall. The rock anchors will be inserted into the boreholes and grouted into place. There will be a space between the sheet pile wall and the concrete wall of approximately one foot. That space will be filled with gravel to accommodate drainage from the hillside and there will be steel ties between the two walls. (Attachment B: Site Plan and Elevations)

BACKGROUND

The proposed building will occupy Lot 1A, Block 1, Townsite Addition to the City of Juneau. The lot came into existence as the result of the recent vacation and relocation of Rodenberg Way and the incorporation of additional land from NE above the property. As consolidated, Lot 1A has 8,400 square feet. The front lot line is the South Franklin Street ROW. The "right" lot line is the Boroff Way staircase and sidewalk.

A Debris/Slide Hazard Report was prepared for the subject property by R & M Engineering dated September 25, 2001. The report confirms that the subject property is located within the area delineated by the CBJ "Landslide/Avalanche Hazards Map" (Adopted 1987) and within the severe landslide/avalanche area. The property is also within the special engineering zone as defined by CBJ "Juneau Area Mass Wasting and Snow Avalanche Hazard Analysis" (1992). The report utilizes data and analysis prepared in an earlier report, dated December 18, 1997, in conjunction with two contiguous lots to the east. Because conditions of the properties were very similar the conclusions and mitigative actions recommended under the September 18th report drew heavily upon the earlier document. The report concluded that the subject property is exposed to the hazards of hillside creep and mass wasting debris slides. In addition, the report addresses the difficulty of constructing a retaining wall without jeopardizing houses above the structure. (Attachment C: Debris/Slide Hazard Report)

The report recommends that cut slopes be braced by temporary retaining structures while the permanent concrete retaining wall is built. In addition, the report addresses the need for proper soils drainage and protection against slope failure during the construction phase. The report recommends that the proposed building be designed to withstand debris flows with velocities of 10ft/sec by material weighing 120 lbs/cu ft. The quantity of material which may reach the building is estimated to be approximately 300 cu yd.

Proposed site development will include grading, construction of a temporary anchor sheet pile retaining wall and construction of the two story wood frame building. Sheet piles may also be installed in the Boroff Way right-of-way and on an adjacent lot (13). These activities will require additional permits. The CBJ Engineering Department supports the conclusions and recommendations of the R & M Debris/Slide Hazard Report and will address foreseeable problems as described above through circumstances of conditional use approval and review and conditioning of subsequent building permits.

 

ANALYSIS

The analysis of the individual project elements has been included in the staff report addressing USE2001-042.

 

FINDINGS

CBJ §49.15.330 (e)(1), Review of Director's Determinations, states that the Planning Commission shall review the director's report to consider:

1. Whether the application is complete; and,

2. Whether the proposed use is appropriate according to the Table of Permissible Uses;

3. Whether the development as proposed will comply with the other requirements of this chapter.

The commission shall adopt the director's determination on the three items above unless it finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the director's determination was in error, and states its reasoning for each finding with particularity.

CBJ §49.15.330 (f), Commission Determinations, states that even if the commission adopts the director's determination, it may nonetheless deny or condition the permit if it concludes, based upon its own independent review of the information submitted at the public hearing, that the development will more probably than not:

1. Materially endanger the public health or safety;

2. Substantially decrease the value of or be out of harmony with property in the neighboring area; or,

3. Not be in general conformity with the comprehensive plan, thoroughfare plan or other officially adopted plans.

Per CBJ §49.15.300 (e)(1)(A thru C), Review of Director's Determinations, the director makes the following findings on the proposed development:

1. Is the application for the requested conditional use permit complete?

Yes. We find the application contains the information necessary to conduct full review of the proposed operations. The application submittal by the applicant, including the appropriate fees, substantially conforms to the requirements of CBJ Chapter 49.15.

2. Is the proposed use appropriate according to the Table of Permissible Uses?

Yes. The requested permit is appropriate according to the Table of Permissible Uses. The permit is listed at CBJ §49.25.300, Section 2.120 for the Mixed Use zoning district.

3. Will the proposed development comply with the other requirements of this chapter?

Yes. The proposed development complies with the other requirements of this chapter. Notice was provided in the Juneau Empire under Your Municipality, which ran on February 1, and 11, 2002. A public notice sign was posted on the site at least fourteen days prior to the meeting and notice was mailed to owners of record of all property within 500 feet of the subject property.

4. Will the proposed development materially endanger the public health or safety?

No. We conclude after presenting the project to the CBJ Engineering Department, that a significant risk to public health and safety is associated with the development. The risk can be mitigated, however, if the applicant constructs the retaining wall as designed and employs proper construction practices.

5. Will the proposed development substantially decrease the value of or be out of harmony with property in the neighboring area?

No. We conclude that that the development will not decrease the value or be out of harmony with the property in the neighboring area. Conditions will be included to address the protection of adjacent properties and City owned right of ways and facilities. The use is consistent with other tourist oriented buildings in the neighboring area.

6.  Will the proposed development be in general conformity with the land use plan, thoroughfare plan, or other officially adopted plans?

Yes. The proposed development appears to be in conformity with adopted plans, particularly the CBJ comprehensive plan. The proposed development furthers the policies of the plan including:

Policy 3.11. It is the policy of the CBJ to minimize the threat to human safety and development posed by landslides and avalanches.

The proposed development is in general conformity with the land use plan, thoroughfare plan and other officially adopted plans.

7. Will the proposed development comply with the Juneau Coastal Management Program?

Not Applicable. Based on the preceding staff analysis, it is found that no provisions of the Juneau Coastal Management Program apply to the proposed development.

 

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended 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 15,600 square foot tourist oriented retail facility in a severe landslide hazard zone. The approval is subject to the following conditions:

  1. The proposed debris catchment wall shall be designed and constructed to the specifications listed in R & M Engineering’s reports. Design specifications shall be confirmed and approved by the CBJ prior to issuance of a building permit.
  2. All appropriate easements and city approvals shall be provided by the applicant for work conducted through adjacent public right of ways. Easements and/or agreement shall be provided prior to the issuance of a building permit.
  3. A hold harmless maintenance agreement shall be recorded and submitted by the property owner for the tie back anchors that extend under the Rodenburg right-of- way. The agreement shall be submitted prior to issuance of a building permit.
  4. Work proposed on adjacent Lot 13 and within the Boroff Way right-of-way will require review and approval of separate permits.
  5. An engineered plan for the reconstruction of the Boroff Way stairs shall be submitted with the architectural plans. The type of stairs shall be reviewed by the Chief Regulatory Engineer to confirm conformance with CBJ standard details.
  6. The slope grading above the proposed retaining wall will require grading setbacks as specified in Section 3314.2 "Top of Cut Slope" of the 1997 Uniform Building Code.