DATE:             February 6, 2002

TO:                  Board of Adjustment

FROM:           Oscar Graham, Planner
                         Community Development Department

FILE NO.:       VAR2002-00002

PROPOSAL: A variance to reduce retail parking for the Fur Gallery I and II buildings to zero.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant:                         Steve Landvik 

Property Owner:               Alaska Fur Gallery 

Property Address:             217 S. Franklin 

Legal Description:             Pacific Coast Bl2, Lots 5, 6 and 7A

Parcel Code Number:       1-C07-0-H02-004-0, 1-C07-0-H02-006-1 

Site Size:                           13,272 Square feet

Zoning:                              Mixed Use

Utilities:                             CBJ Water and Sewer Services 

Access:                             Customers - Franklin Street, Employees Residents – Gastineau Avenue

Existing Land Use:             Tourist Oriented Retail Commercial

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

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant is requesting a reduction in the number of commercial/retail parking spaces required in conjunction with the Alaska Fur Gallery (AFG) 1 & 2. The requested reduction is from 15 spaces to 0 spaces. Residential parking for AFG 1& 2 and the H & H building will be provided through 5 spaces located at the adjacent Channel View Apartments. (Attachment A: Application)

BACKGROUND

AFG was permitted in the mid-90s without providing parking consistent with the requirements of the CBJ land use code. Although various options have been examined over the ensuing years to satisfy the parking requirement, none have been implemented. A shared/joint use parking arrangement addressing commercial/retail and residential parking for AFG 1& 2 and the H & H Building was approved by the Planning Commission in conjunction with the Channel View Apartments (USE2000-00055) in June 2001. This approach provided for commercial/residential parking requirements to be satisfied through the dedication of 20 parking spaces to be shared on a joint use basis with the Channel View Apartments. The plan provided 15 spaces to satisfy commercial/retail requirements and 5 spaces for the residential requirement. The parking provided for under this proposal is based on the calculations summarized in the following table. (Attachment B: Vicinity Map Depicting Affected Properties)

Building

Size/Units

Code

Requirement

Alaska Fur Gallery I

 

 

 

Retail Use

4,800 Square Feet

1 space per 200 Sq. Ft.

24 spaces

Residential Use

2 3-Bedroom Apts.

2 spaces per unit

4 spaces

 

1 2-Bedroom Apt.

1.5 spaces per unit

1.5 spaces

Alaska Fur Gallery II

 

 

 

Retail Use

3,000 Square Feet

1 space per 200 Sq. Ft.

15 spaces

Residential Use

2 2-Bedroom Apts.

1.5 spaces per unit

3 spaces

H&H Building

 

 

 

Retail Use

Accommodated elsewhere

 

 

Residential Use

2 2-Bedroom Apts.

1.5 spaces per unit

3 spaces

Parking District 1

Fur Gallery I & II are located in PD-1 which reduces requirement by 60%. The H&H Building received variance to use the PD-1 standard. Thus 50.5 spaces x .6 = 30.3.

 

-30.3 spaces

TOTAL:

 

 

20 spaces

The Notice of Decision for USE2000-00055 included a condition (5.) requiring a deed restriction on the Channel View property reserving 20 parking spaces for use by AFG 1& 2 and H& H as follows. (Attachment C: Notice of Decision USE2000-00055)

5. Prior to issuance of a building permit the applicant shall demonstrate that a deed restriction has been recorded with the State recorders Office on the subject property to reserve 20 parking spaces to be allotted to meet the land use code requirements for the retail/residential use of the Alaska Fur Gallery I & II buildings, and the residential use of the H & H Building. Further, half of these spaces shall be made available to the Channel View Apartment building in accordance with the shared parking concept approved by the Planning Commission.

Following approval of USE2000-00055 the owner of AFG 1 & 2 and H & H determined that the commercial parking spaces were not needed and advised the developer of the Channel View Apartments that their subsequent parking agreement would address only the 4 residential spaces associated with Fur Gallery 1 & 2 and 1residential space for the H & H Building.

The subject variance request is made in order to:

ANALYSIS

The applicant’s narrative indicates that the rationale for the variance is based on the history of operations and the fact that the employees and residents associated with the Alaska Fur Gallery 1 & 2 buildings are one and the same. (Attachment D: Applicant’s Narrative)

There has been considerable discussion relating to the actual parking demand generated downtown and particularly in the tourism oriented South Franklin Street Area. The Parking District 1 (PD-1) reduction (40% of the standard requirement) has been widely utilized to adjust for diminished parking demand associated with facilities catering to cruise ship tourism. Over the past several years the PD-1 reduction has been applied outside of the district boundaries through the variance procedure. The PD-1 standard is viewed by staff as a reasonable level of reduction which generally reflects parking demand in the South Franklin Street Area. The PD-1 standard was utilized in calculating the parking requirement developed under the shared use plan in coordination with the Channel View Apartments. This plan was viewed by staff and approved by the Planning Commission as a method of complying with the parking requirements.

Variance Requirements

Under CBJ §49.20.250 where hardship and practical difficulties result from an extraordinary situation or unique physical feature affecting only a specific parcel of property or structures lawfully existing thereon, and render it difficult to carry out the provisions of Title 49, the Board of Adjustment may grant a variance in harmony with the general purpose and intent of Title 49. A variance may vary any requirement or regulation of Title 49 concerning dimensional and other design standards, but not those concerning the use of land or structures, housing density, lot coverage, or those establishing construction standards. A variance may be granted after the prescribed hearing and after the Board of Adjustment has determined:

1. That the relaxation applied for or a lesser relaxation specified by the Board of Adjustment would give substantial relief to the owner of the property involved and be more consistent with justice to other property owners.

The existing commercial/retail uses associated with AFG 1 & 2 have proven difficult to satisfy on-site. In addition City policy does not provide for the rental of parking spaces in the municipal parking garage to satisfy commercial requirements. Other proposals have also been considered including shuttle based parking located at the rock dump. Elimination of the commercial requirement would give substantial relief to the owner of the property involved by allowing parking to be provided for residents and employees only at the adjacent site of the proposed Channel View Apartments.

While recent analysis undertaken by the Community Development Department indicates that shoppers in the South Franklin Street area are dominated (at a rate as high as 96%) by tourists, the demand for commercial parking is reduced but not eliminated. Other commercial/retail facilities in the vicinity have been required to provide parking, generally consistent with the reduced PD-1 standard. One (1) case was identified in which the parking requirement was eliminated. This was an existing building which was expanded to provide catalogue service to off-site customers.

Although granting the variance as requested would provide substantial relief to the applicant, it would not be consistent with justice to other property owners in the vicinity. Other property owners have been required to develop parking proposals which demonstrate compliance with code requirements. In addition the applicant has received approval of a lesser relaxation through the shared use plan developed in coordination with the Channel View Apartments consistent with the PD-1 standard. This criterion is not met.

2. That relief can be granted in such a fashion that the intent of this title will be observed and the public safety and welfare be preserved.

The intent of Title 49 is found in Section §49.05.100. This section describes several contributing concepts as the intent of the title: to ensure that future growth and development in the City and Borough is in accord with the values of its residents; to identify and secure for present and future residents the beneficial impacts of growth while minimizing the negative impacts; and to provide open space for light and air. Title 49 considers these values of the residents both current and future.

Because the applicant has not provided a plan which complies with parking regulations or offered a detailed and reasoned analysis supporting the elimination of the commercial parking requirement, staff has no way of determining that the negative impacts of the proposal have been minimized. This criterion is not met.

  1. That the authorization of the variance will not injure nearby property.
  2. While little data is available to determine the effects of current demand on existing parking supply, The Juneau Parking Study prepared by the Transpo Group (1999) concludes:

    "When parking is in high demand, such as in the majority of the study area, people often park more closely and in areas that exceed the legal supply"

    The applicant has provided no analysis upon which to conclude that the authorization will not injure nearby property. If commercial/retail use of the buildings does contribute to overall demand, then that demand may spill over into adjacent side streets and residential areas. The authorization of the variance may therefore injure nearby properties. This criterion is not met.

  3. That the variance does not authorize uses not allowed in the district involved.

The granting of the variance would not authorize a use not allowed in the zoning district involved. Commercial/retail use of the AFG 1 & 2 buildings is an allowed use in the Mixed Use District. This criterion is met.

5. That compliance with the existing standards would:

(A) Unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property for a permissible principal use;

Compliance with the existing standards would not have originally prevented the owner from using the property for a permissible principle use. Scale and design of the facilities could have been developed consistent with parking standards, however the buildings were permitted without resolving parking requirements. Remedies, other than eliminating the commercial parking requirement are currently available under the land use code. The previously approved shared use proposal with the Channel View Apartments was one such remedy. Shuttle based proposals may represent another option. Compliance with the existing PD-1 standard would not prevent the owner from using the property for a permissible principal use. This sub-criterion is not met.

(B) Unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property in a manner which is consistent as to scale, amenities, appearance or features, with existing development in the neighborhood of the subject property;

In recognition of the reduced parking demand associated with tourist oriented facilities staff have utilized the existing PD-1 standard in assessing parking requirements. Other similar developments in the neighborhood of the subject property have utilized the PD-1 standard to satisfy parking requirements. This option exists for the property owner. This sub-criterion is not met.

    1. Be unnecessarily burdensome because unique physical features of the property render compliance with the standards unreasonably expensive;

The subject property (Pacific Coast 5,6 & 7A) is currently developed with the AFG 1 & 2 buildings. The property to the east (Pacific Coast 10A) is the proposed site of the Channel View Apartments. There may be an area within this lot that could be developed in conjunction with access from Gastineu Avenue and utilized for parking. This option, however along with the shared parking plan, appears to have been rejected by the property owner. This sub-criterion is not met.

or

(D) Because of preexisting nonconforming conditions on the subject parcel the grant of the variance would not result in a net decrease in overall compliance with the Land Use Code, CBJ Title 49, or the building code, CBJ Title 19, or both.

There are no bona-fide nonconforming conditions on the subject property. The commercial parking requirement has not been satisfied. This sub-criterion is not met.

Because sub-criteria (A) through (D) have not been satisfied, Criterion 5 is not met.

6. That a grant of the variance would result in more benefits than detriments to the neighborhood.

Staff has been unable to identify any benefits to the neighborhood which would result from granting the variance. By contrast granting the request may contribute to a detrimental increase in parking demand. This criterion is not met.

 

JUNEAU COASTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

A review of the enforceable policies of the JCMP revealed that the policies are not applicable to the project as proposed.

FINDINGS

1. Is the application for the requested variance complete?

Yes. The application contains the information necessary to review the variance request. The application submittal including the appropriate fees, substantially conforms to the requirements of the CBJ Code, Chapter 15.

  1. Will the proposed development comply with the Juneau Coastal Management Program?
  2. Not Applicable. Based on the preceding staff analysis, it is found that no provision of the Juneau Coastal Management Program apply to the proposed variance.

  3. Does the variance as requested, meet the criteria of Section §49.20.250, Grounds for Variances?

No. Based on the analysis of the criteria above, the variance request meets only criterion 4. Of Section §49.2-.250.

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that the Board of Adjustment adopt the director’s analysis and findings and deny the requested variance.

ADVISORY

The property owner’s withdrawal from the shared parking plan approved under USE2000-00055 does not eliminate the retail parking requirement associated with the Alaska Fur Gallery 1 & 2 and the H & H Building. The applicant is responsible for developing and obtaining approval for a parking plan consistent with the requirements of Section 49.40 of the CBJ Code.