DATE:    January 22, 2002

TO:         Planning Commission

FROM:  Mark Jaqua, Planner
               Community Development Department

FILE NO.: USE2001-00052 - Conditional Use

PROPOSAL: A Conditional Use permit to place up to 8 net pens to rear DIPAC chum salmon fry for use as broodstock. Pens to be in place March through June each year.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant:                     State of Alaska

Property Owner:           Department of Natural Resources, SE Region

Property Address:         400 Willoughby Street, #400 Juneau, AK

Legal Description:         ATS 1328 FR

Parcel Code Number:   1-B03-0-102-004-2

Site Size:                       20,000 square feet

Zoning:                          WI- Waterfront Industrial

Utilities:                          On site water and sewer

Access:                          Water access only

Existing Land Use:          None

Surrounding Land Use: North - AJT/DBA BPC ALASKA CORP
                                    South - Gastineau Channel
                                    East - Gastineau Channel
                                    West - Gastineau Channel

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant requests a conditional use permit for the development of a salt water net pen rearing complex to raise and release up to 24 million chum salmon smolt. The net pens will be located approximately 4 miles south on Thane road and north of the Sheep Creek Buoy. The complex will be in place from late February through mid June annually. Access will be by boat from Douglas Harbor or the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery. The complex will have a full time staff on site with a contained septic system. After the smolt are released the complex will be dismantled and removed until the following season. Adult chum salmon will return to the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery where they were imprinted and be used for brood stock.

 

BACKGROUND

Douglas Island Pink and Chum Inc. (DIPAC), a non-profit salmon hatchery, operated a similar net pen rearing complex at this site under a 1985 conditional use permit (CU-07-85) through 1997. That permit allowed up to 17 net pens with a capacity of about 41 million-chum smolt. Beach access to the site was terminated by the adjacent landowner, and the complex was pulled out. DIPAC indicates that AJT/DBA BPC ALASKA CORP no longer objects to the project and is applying for a permit to resume operations at this site.

This project is an allowable use for the Waterfront Industrial Zone. CBJ Land Use Code Coastal Zone Management Program 49.70.905 (17) requires a conditional use permit for floating structures in place more than 30 days.

 

ANALYSIS

Project Site - The site is offshore from Alaska Tidelands Survey ATS 1328 FR near the Sheep Creek area of Thane Road. The site is greater than 300 feet from the mouth of Sheep Creek as required under CBJ Land Use Code 49.70.960 ( C) (3) for the Thane Special Waterfront Area.

Project Design - See Attachment

Traffic, Parking, Circulation- Access will be by boat from Macaulay Hatchery or Douglas Harbor.

Noise - Net pen culture is fairly low impact. Periodic noise sources are outboard engines and small gas gensets. Impact on surrounding homes would be minimal and of short duration.

Public Health or Safety - The fish rearing operation will not use algaecides or toxins to treat rearing nets. No drug treatments will be administered to the smolt while at the net pens. The high volume of tide water passing through the site should provide adequate dispersal of fish fecal matter and uneaten feed. DIPAC Inc, cites studies from similar net pen sites that show minimal impact to the surrounding waters and ocean bottom.

Property Value or Neighborhood Harmony - Lighting will comply with US Coast Guard requirements for anchored floating structures. The profile of the site will be below 10 feet for structures and below 5 feet for the net pens. The site will be visible from the Thane road and from neighborhood properties. The low profile and temporary nature will likely not detract from the Waterfront-Industrial and low-density residential values.

Conformity with Adopted Plans - This project conforms to all adopted plans.

Juneau Coastal Management Program - The proposed development was reviewed for compliance with CBJ 49.70.900, the Juneau Coastal Management Program. The analysis reveals that the proposed net pen complex complies with the general provisions. The application conforms to specific standards for fish propagation under 49.70.930 (a)-(d). The site location conforms to the 300-foot setback requirement for the stream mouth in the Thane Special Waterfront Area under 49.70.960 (c) (3). In addition, The Alaska Department of Governmental Coordination found the project was found to be substantially the same as permitted by the US Army Corps of Engineers under Section 10 permit 071-OYD-1-850057, and does not require additional Alaska Coastal Management Program review.

 

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 through 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. Based on the above analysis staff finds 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, based on the above analysis, staff finds the requested permit is appropriate according to the Table of Permissible Uses. The permit is listed at CBJ 49.25.300 section 14.100 for the WI zoning district.

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

Yes. The above analysis indicates the proposed development complies with the other requirements of this chapter.

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

No. Based on the above analysis staff finds that the project as described will not materially endanger public health or safety.

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

No. Based on the above analysis staff finds that the low intensity operation plan and low visual profile will not detract from neighborhood values or harmony.

6.  Will the proposed development not be in general conformity with the land use plan, thoroughfare plan, or other officially adopted plans?

No. Based on the above analysis staff finds that the project will comply with the CBJ land use plan and other adopted plans.

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

Yes. Based on the above analysis staff finds that this project as designed will comply with section 49.70.930 (a)-(d) of the JCMP.

 

RECOMMENDATION

Staff recommends 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 net pen structure for rearing and releasing chum salmon fry near Sheep Creek. No additional conditions are recommended.