City and Borough of Juneau, 155 South Seward Street, Juneau, Alaska 99801

 

***THIS ITEM HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO THE 8/28/07 HEARING***

 

USE2007-00036  A Conditional Use application for the revision of condition #1 of SUB2003-00004, from "That the applicant construct the pedestrian paths accessing Tract A and Trappers Lane [to specifications]" to "That the applicant construct a bus shelter at the intersection of Montana Creek and Mendenhall Loop Road [to specifications]."
Location:            MONTANA CREEK  ROAD
Applicant:           ROSCOE BICKNELL III

 

FULL STAFF REPORT

DATE:              August 9, 2007

TO:                   Planning Commission

FROM:             Ben Lyman, Planner
                       
Community Development Department

FILE  NO.:       USE2007-00036 - Conditional Use


 
PROPOSAL:    Conditional Use application for the revision of condition #1 of SUB2003-00004.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Applicant:                               Bicknell, Inc.

 

Property Owner:                   CBJ and State of Alaska

 

Property Address:                N/A

 

Legal Description:                 N/A

 

Parcel Code Number:           N/A

 

Site Size:                                4,030 square feet

 

Zoning:                                   D3 and D5, Single-Family and Duplex Residential

 

Utilities:                                  Public Water and Sewer

 

Access:                                  Pond Vista Drive and Mendenhall Loop Road

 
Existing Land Use:                Undeveloped rights-of-way, pedestrian easement, and Mendenhall Loop Road ROW

 

Surrounding Land Use:         North       -       Residences (D1, D3, and D5)

South       -       Residences (D1, D3, and D5)

East         -       Residences (D1, D3, and D5)

West        -       Residences (D1, D3, and D5)



ATTACHMENTS

 

Please note that memoranda included with this memorandum have their own attachments, which may duplicate the naming conventions used below.  These additional memoranda are included at the end of the attachments to this memorandum for clarity, but the reader may need to double-check against this index to ensure that the correct attachment is being considered.

Staff Report Only

Applications 

Attachment A               Plat 2003-18, Montana Creek Subdivision—Phase IV

Attachment B               April 21, 2003 memorandum from Roger Healy

Attachment C               April 22, 2003 memorandum from Roger Healy

Attachment D               Applicant’s Request (Project Narrative)

Attachment E               Plat 2001-59, Lots 5A and 11A, Lupine Acres Sub.

Attachment F               July 10, 2006 memorandum from Ben Lyman

Attachment G               July 5, 2006 e-mails between Ben Lyman and Roger Healy, attached to Attachment F

Attachment H               July 11-16 e-mails between Ben Lyman and Roger Healy

Attachment I                Notice of Decision, SUB2006-00041

Attachment J                BND2007-00003, for completion of improvements in Erin Manor III Subdivision, Phase 1

Attachment K              May 31-August 7, 2007 emails between CBJ Staff and Dan Miller

Attachment L               Montana Creek Road Bus Shelter Installation drawings

Attachment M              July 30, 2007 e-mail from David Hawes to Ben Lyman

Attachment N              August 5, 2007 e-mail from Ellen Pavitt to Planning Commission

Attachment O              July 23, 2007 e-mails between Jim Canary and Ben Lyman

Attachment P               August 7, 2007 e-mail response by John Kern to July 11-16 e-mails between Roger Healy and Ben Lyman (Attachment H)

Attachment Q              August 7, 2007 emails between John Kern and Ben Lyman

Attachment R             August 8, 2007 email from Richard and Elizabeth Bochynski to Ben Lyman

Attachment S               Other comments received from agency staff and/or neighbors which are not referenced in this memorandum

Notice of Decision and Staff Report for SUB2003-00004

Notice of Decision and Staff Report for SUB2006-00023

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

 

The applicant requests a Conditional Use permit to modify Condition #1 of SUB2003-00004, a major subdivision which was recorded as Plat 2003-18 (Attachment A).   The existing condition #1 of SUB2003-00004 is:

 

That the applicant construct the pedestrian paths accessing Tract A and Trappers Lane to the standards described in the April 22, 2003 Engineering memo (Attachment C), and that those dedicated pedestrian right-of-ways be shown on the recorded plat.

 

The applicant’s proposed modification to this condition is:

 

That the applicant construct a Bus Shelter at the intersection of Montana Creek and Mendenhall Loop Road to the specifications outlined by the CBJ, and as approved by DOT by October 2007 (Attachment D).

 

The cost of installation of the bus shelter would be shared between the applicant and the CBJ.  The exact breakdown of responsibilities is described below under the Background section of this memorandum and in Attachment K.

  

BACKGROUND

 

The subject pedestrian trails have been a point of contention for many years.  During the review of early phases of the Montana Creek Subdivision, property owners along Trappers Lane opposed the extension of Trappers Lane to provide vehicular access to the Montana Creek Subdivisions.  The portion of the Trappers Lane right-of-way (ROW) beyond the constructed cul-de-sac was vacated and replaced with a 30’ wide pedestrian and utility easement on the Lupine Acres lots under SUB1997-00042 and SUB2000-00050, recorded as Plat 2001-59 (Attachment E).

 The applicant platted a 10’ pedestrian ROW and a 10’ pedestrian easement connecting the 30’ wide easement from Trappers Lane to Magnolia Court in the plat approved under SUB2003-00004, but bonded for the construction of the trails required under Condition 1 of SUB2003-00004 instead of constructing them. 

 Since the subject trails were not constructed prior to the purchase of the lots adjacent to them, the owners of these lots were surprised to learn in 2006 that pedestrian trails were to be constructed along their lot lines as a condition of subdivision approval.  This situation culminated, at least temporarily, in a request to vacate the ROW between Magnolia Court and the easement on the Lupine Acres lots which are encumbered by that easement.  This ROW vacation request, SUB2006-00023, was denied by the Planning Commission on June 27, 2006.  A motion to reconsider this decision was made at that meeting, but on July 11, 2006, the Planning Commission voted not to reconsider their earlier decision.

 The request considered in this memorandum is the result of negotiations and discussions between the CBJ Manager’s Office, the applicant, the CBJ Engineering Department, and residents of the subject neighborhood.  The proposal considered in this memorandum is very similar to an alternative suggested by the residents of the subject neighborhood during the review process for SUB2006-00023, which was for the construction of a school bus stop instead of the subject trails.  A list of alternatives to the construction of the subject trails was made and discussed in the July 10, 2006 memorandum (Attachment F) from this staff member to the Planning Commission in regard to SUB2006-00023 and SUB2003-00004.   This memorandum also specifies how a condition of approval of a major subdivision can be modified, which is the process enacted in the subject application.

 Beyond the history of the subject trails as conditions of subdivision approval and as hot topics in the neighborhood, it is of great importance to consider the history of how the trails came about in terms of the regulations which led to their existence as public ROWs and conditions of approval. 

At the time that Montana Creek Subdivision Phase IV (Montana Creek IV) was applied for, the CBJ required residential subdivisions in the subject zoning district (D5) to meet the following construction standards, which are also the current standards:

 CBJ §49.35.240(a)(3)  The roadway portion of streets other than arterials and collectors shall be at least 28 feet wide, shall be constructed by the developer with a paved roadway, curbs, gutters, street lights, sidewalks on both sides of the street, and a storm drainage system whether surface, subsurface, or both.

 As this is a construction standard, it cannot be varied by the Board of Adjustment (CBJ §49.20.250(b) “…A variance may vary any requirement or regulation of this title…but not…those establishing construction standards…”). The Land Use Code does, however, include provisions whereby the Director of the Engineering Department “may prescribe different or additional standards to ensure equal or better performance…” (CBJ §49.35.130(b)).   It was under this authority that Roger Healy, Director of Engineering, waived the requirement for a second sidewalk in the Montana Creek IV subdivision.  This waiver was granted in part because earlier phases of the subdivision had only been required to provide a single sidewalk, and a second sidewalk in phase IV would not have connected to other sidewalks where it abutted previous phases.  The granting of the waiver hung, however, on the provision of “equal or better performance” in terms of pedestrian circulation paths.  The waiver was granted in Mr. Healy’s April 21, 2003 memorandum(Attachment B) on the subject, and the construction standard to be used for designing the paths was clarified in his April 22, 2003 memorandum (Attachment C) .  In his email of July 12, 2007, (Attachment H, Page 3) Mr. Healy describes his rationale for granting the waiver: 

 “Both of these trails were to address concepts of travel between neighborhoods envisioned as safer to pedestrians, children, and bicycles…For the Trappers Lane trail, the concept was to provide a safer haven for pedestrians and children with bikes to access the Montana Creek developments from the Back Loop intersection than the Montana Creek Road provided…For the Pond Vista/Black Wolf link, the concept was to provide connectivity between two Montana Creek neighborhoods (III and IV) with partial function as further connectivity to the Trappers Lane trail…This route would be an alternative to walking riding back and forth on the main street or double sidewalk.

 “I waived the double sidewalk requirement to address a concept for enhancing the safety of transportation between neighborhoods and within the neighborhood.”

 Although the condition of approval of SUB2003-00004, which is requested to be modified in this application, was placed as a condition of approval on that case by the Planning Commission, the modification to the construction standards for the subdivision which was embodied in that condition was only possible because it was granted by the Director of Engineering.  The Planning Commission does not have the legal authority to waive or otherwise modify this requirement.  Accordingly, Mr. Healy, as the Director of Engineering, must approve the currently-proposed modification to the originally-granted waiver in order for the Planning Commission to make any actual change to the requirements of the subdivision.  That is, if the Director of Engineering denies the requested modification to the existing waiver, the Planning Commission can change condition 1 of SUB2003-00004, but the trails must still be constructed under the terms of the original waiver. 

 Thus, the Planning Commission should consider Mr. Healy’s action on the matter, in order to maintain consistency within the CBJ’s actions on this project, but the Planning Commission has, at most, the authority to amend the condition; and not the authority to remove the requirement for the construction of the trails.  The ultimate authority on this matter rests with the Director of Engineering, who must approve any proposed change to construction standards.

 Although Mr. Healy tentatively grants the requested waiver in his email of July 12, 2007(Ibid) by stating that “since similar utility [to the trails] has been provided by others, I conclude that the bus stop is another transportation enhancement for the neighborhood that substitutes for the trail construction provided by the developer,” he withdraws this support for the waiver in his email of July 16, 2007 (Ibid, page 1).   After considering information regarding bus routing and the status and recommendations of the CBJ’s Transit Development Plan, Mr. Healy states that he finds “compelling reasons to construct the two trails (Trappers and Pond Vista/Black Wolf) at this time.”  Thus, the modification to the previous waiver to construction standards has not been granted, and even if the Planning Commission modifies condition 1 of SUB2003-00004 as requested, the trails would still need to be constructed as approved in the original waiver.  If the condition is amended as requested, the applicant would actually be obligated to install the bus shelter under the modified condition in addition to constructing the trails under the waiver requirements.

 It should be noted that CBJ §49.35.620(b) does provide a mechanism by which the Planning Commission may waive the requirement to construct a sidewalk, but this waiver requires the provision of “alternative pedestrian improvements…outside the right of way…[when] the alternative will:  (A) Take advantage of natural features of the site or implement the Juneau Non-motorized Transportation Plan; and (B) Provide safety, quality, and function equivalent to the requirement waived.”  However, as this waiver only applies to the provision of alternative pedestrian facilities in lieu of sidewalks, which is the very situation which the applicant requests to be eliminated, this waiver does not provide a mechanism by which the Planning Commission can over-rule the denial of the requested waiver by the Director of Engineering.

 A final consideration which should be given to this matter, which is generally outside the scope of Conditional Use permit review, as it is embodied in the adoption of uniform construction standards in CBJ Title 49, is the uniform and equitable treatment of developers.  In his July 5, 2006 email, (Attachment G) Mr. Healy estimates the approximate cost of the second sidewalk in Montana Creek IV as being $140,000.  As Mr. Healy notes in this email, a similar waiver was granted for Montana Creek III, and “the Phase III and IV ROW paths were identified on the plats as a network or system.”  Although the topic of this email was the proposed vacation of one of the subject ROWs, Mr. Healy’s observation that the utility of the paths is tied together between phases of the subdivision, so that the paths only function if all of them are intact, is germane to this discussion as well—that is, if the developer does not construct any of the paths, they ought to construct all of the sidewalks in Phases III and IV of the Montana Creek Subdivision.  Mr. Healy estimates the total cost of constructing the second sidewalks in Montana Creek III and IV as $255,000.

 In my July 16, 2007 email (Attachment H, Pages 1-2) to Mr. Healy, I inquired as to the equity of allowing one developer to install a relatively inexpensive bus shelter while requiring other developers to install sidewalks according to the construction standards codified in CBJ Title 49.  Mr. Healy’s response (Ibid, Page 1) was to the point:  “Like timed residential developments (Grant) have installed a double sidewalk at considerable expense.”  As Mr. Healy refers to Hugh Grant and his Erin Manor subdivisions, these projects deserve additional scrutiny for the sake of comparison before moving on to the analysis of the applicant’s request.

 In Phase I of Erin Manor No. 3 Subdivision, (Attachment I) Mr. Grant was required to construct not only sidewalks on both sides of all streets, but was also required to construct a pedestrian path between Trafalgar Avenue and Manor Avenue (Attachment I) .   Although much of the construction work had been completed on the required public improvements on this project prior to April 10, 2007, the estimated cost of completing all required work was $286,587 on that date (Attachment J) .  $42,300 of this amount is for the construction of concrete sidewalk, and additional funds in the bond would also be required to complete the sidewalk; excavation, borrow, sand, and even curb and gutter are required as additional work to complete the subject sidewalk.

 It is also worth noting that the single condition on the Notice of Decision for SUB2006-00041,(Attachment I) the Final Plat of the Erin Manor III subdivision, was that the pedestrian path connecting the subdivision to an adjacent neighborhood “be constructed before building permits are issued” for construction on the adjacent lots.  This condition is a direct result of the problems which have resulted from the deferred construction of the subject paths in Montana Creek IV.

 The proposed amendment to condition 1 of SUB2003-00004 would, on its face, require “that the applicant construct a bus shelter at the intersection of Montana Creek and Mendenhall Loop Road…” (Attachment D)   The emails (Attachment K) between Dan Miller of Bicknell Inc. and Kim Kiefer, Deputy City Manager, clarify what the level of commitment by Bicknell Inc. would be:

 CBJ staff would acquire the DOT permits.

CBJ staff would perform required inspections of [Bicknell Inc.’s] work at city expense.

Bicknell Inc. would supply and place all select borrow, top soil, seeding, and D-1 for dirt work portion of project.

Bicknell Inc. would supply, place, and finish concrete pads for bus structure.

Bicknell Inc. shall supply, place, and finish asphalt paving as specified.

CBJ will supply bus shelter.

CBJ will pay to have bus shelter installed.

 It is clear from these emails that the applicant would not “construct a bus shelter” as proposed in the application, but would instead prepare the site for the installation of the bus shelter, at which point their obligation would be met.

 

 ANALYSIS

 Project Site – The project site is not a single site, but three separate sites, each of which is composed of different parts.  The three sites are:

 

 

Project Design – The construction standard for the trails is described in Mr. Healy’s April 22, 2003 memorandum (Attachment C) as follows:

 “At a minimum, the following would be required:  a path width of 5 feet, 6” deep compacted D-1 base course with a suitable subbase structure.” 

 Mr. Healy’s memorandum also states that “the Engineering Department must approve the proposed typical section and location” of the trails.

 The proposed bus stop is shown in the drawings (Attachment L) prepared by the CBJ for the State Department of Transportation / Public Facilities right-of-way encroachment permit.

 Traffic – The proposed modification to condition 1 of SUB2003-00004 would not, in itself, change the levels or modes of traffic in the project area.  The proposed amendment would, however, install new infrastructure which could make travel by public transportation more attractive in the project area.  As the subject trails have not been constructed to date, relieving the applicant of the obligation to construct these trails would not affect traffic in or through the neighborhood. 

 The construction of the trails as required by the existing waiver to construction standards and by condition 1 of SUB2003-00004 would, however, affect pedestrian and bicycle traffic through and within the neighborhood.  Mr. Healy discusses the traffic and safety ramifications of the proposal in his July 12, 2007 email (Attachment H) .

 Parking and Circulation – The proposed amendment to condition 1 of SUB2003-00004 does not relate to parking or vehicular circulation in any way, but is directly related to pedestrian and bicycle circulation.  As has been noted in previous staff reports on SUB2003-00004 and SUB2006-00023, and as is noted in numerous emails from reviewing agency staff which are also attached, the provision of the subject trails would improve pedestrian and bicycle circulation within and through the neighborhood.  Although the proposed bus stop is a transportation amenity, it does not affect pedestrian or bicycle circulation in any way.

 CBJ §49.35.610 states that “pedestrian walkways not less than five feet wide may be required through blocks longer than 600 feet or where deemed essential to provide reasonable circulation or access to schools, playgrounds, shopping centers, transportation or other community facilities.”  The approximate size of the block bisected by the Trappers Lane / Magnolia Court path was calculated in the June 23, 2006 memorandum on SUB2006-00023 as being roughly 1,000 feet by 1,700 feet.  If the Trappers Lane / Magnolia Court path were constructed, the blocks bordered by it would be roughly 400 feet by 1220 feet (the block to the north) and 740 feet by 1600 feet (the block to the south).  Clearly, even if this particular path is constructed, the resulting blocks are much larger than the blocks which “may be required” to be bisected with pedestrian walkways under the provisions of this section.  In fact, under this section, the CBJ could have required the applicant to construct sidewalks on both sides of all streets in Montana Creek IV and the subject paths, but instead waived the requirement for the second sidewalk in return for the dedication and construction of the subject paths.

 State of Alaska Department of Transportation / Public Facilities (DOT) staff reviewed and commented on the proposed amendment.  The comments received from DOT note that “the Trappers Lane segment shortens the walking distance for bus riders from the houses in the vicinity of Magnolia Court area to the nearest bus stop.  Availability of this path would benefit those riders, and adds travel options for pedestrians (including children) in this subdivision.  I did not see where the applicant addressed these aspects of the requested change.” (Attachment M)

 Ellen Pavitt, the owner of a property encumbered by the pedestrian easement from Trappers Lane to the end of the subject ROW and easement off of Magnolia Court, submitted comments on the subject proposal which relate to circulation.  Although Mrs. Pavitt misinterprets the application to be that the applicant is asking for the opposite of what he is asking for, her comments are relevant and worth repeating here:  “Developing these two proposed pedestrian paths would indeed result in a slightly shorter distance for folks to travel by foot or bicycle from a portion of the new Bicknell development to Montana Creek Road.  But, the present route of travel is not particularly long, and there are already sidewalks constructed.  The streets of the new development are not busy roads and are quite safe for children to ride their bicycles on.” (Attachment N)

 For comparison’s sake, the approximate travel distances between Trappers Lane and Magnolia Court on the path between these cul-de-sacs and on the road network were calculated as part of the review of SUB2006-00023.  As Attachment H to the June 23, 2006 memorandum on SUB2006-00023 shows, the distances are approximately 563 feet and 3, 177 feet, respectively.  For the purposes of this proposal, CDD staff calculated the walking distance from the intersection of Magnolia Court and Pond Vista Drive to the intersection of Trappers Lane via the subject path and via the road system.  The distances were measured to be approximately 1,389 feet (0.26 miles) and 2,329 feet (0.44 miles), respectively.  Given that the maximum distance pedestrians are generally willing to walk between origin and destination is widely accepted in transportation planning as being 0.25 miles, and that approximately 668 feet (0.12 miles) of travel is required to get from the intersection of Trappers Lane and Montana Creek Road to the proposed bus shelter, the bus shelter will be outside the ¼ mile “acceptable” walking distance from nearly every residence in Montana Creek IV even if the Trappers Lane / Magnolia Court path is constructed.  Without this path, the walking distance would be well over ½ mile between most of the Montana Creek IV residences and the proposed bus shelter.  Paul Zykofsky and Dan Burden report that “most residents will typically walk to destinations that are five minutes from their homes.  At three feet per second, a person can walk from one-sixth to one-third of a mile in five to 10 minutes.”(The American Planning Association’s Planning Advisory Service Report No. 546/547, The Transportation/Land Use Connection, © June 2007, American Planning Association.  By Terry Moore and Paul Thorsnes, with Bruce Appleyard.  Page 188.)  This range of distances is easily exceeded by the distance pedestrians would have to walk between Montana Creek IV and the proposed bus shelter, if the subject paths were not constructed.

 Richard and Elizabeth Bochynski, who live on the west side Poppy Court, across from the Tract A path, note in their comments (Attachment R) on the proposal that “construction of these paths would make walking to the bus stop, local businesses, and employment from this development far more feasible.”  It could be argued that the neighborhood is zoned for residential development, and thus that there are few if any opportunities for the development of local businesses or other employment within walking distance of the Montana Creek subdivisions.  A Convenience Store overlay district, however, begins less than ½ of a mile to the southwest of the intersection of Montana Creek Road and the Mendenhall Loop Road.  Large tracts of land to the south of this overlay district, currently in CBJ and University of Alaska Southeast ownership, are proposed for development in the relatively near future, once the area is served by public sewer.  Preliminary discussions regarding the development of these properties suggest that they would be re-zoned for a variety of uses, including some commercial activities.  Accordingly, the present lack of businesses and employment in the project vicinity do not correlate to a permanent absence of such uses, and the utility of the subject paths will only increase over time, as the project vicinity is further developed.

 Noise – Comments from the owners of properties adjacent to the subject pedestrian ROWs and easement received during the review of SUB2006-00023 indicate that there is concern about the potential impacts on these properties if the subject trails are constructed.  Although noise has not been raised as a specific concern by neighbors, it stands to reason that if the trails are constructed and used, the users of these trails will be likely to create noise which may disturb adjacent residents.  However, as the subject ROWs exist, and the public is legally entitled to use these ROWs even if no trail is constructed, the owners of the adjacent properties could be subject to noise impacts from users of the ROWs regardless of whether the requested amendment to condition 1 of SUB2003-00004 is made by the Planning Commission.

 The proposed bus shelter at the corner of Montana Creek Road and the Mendenhall Loop Road could potentially increase the number of users of that bus stop, thereby increasing the amount of noise originating at the bus stop.  Given that this is, however, an existing bus stop and that this location is at a relatively busy intersection, the level of noise originating at the bus stop would be unlikely to create a disturbance to residents of the neighborhood.

 Public Health or Safety – As public health and safety were the justification for granting the waiver to allow the construction of the subject paths instead of a second sidewalk, this criteria must be of paramount importance in reviewing the subject request.  As Mr. Healy notes in his July 12, 2007 email, (Attachment H) “both of [the subject] trails were to address concepts of travel between neighborhoods envisioned as safer to pedestrians, children, and bicycles.”  The Trappers Lane trail “was to provide a safer haven for pedestrians and children with bikes.”  Mr. Healy goes on, however, to state that “in the meantime, there has been a substantive change to pedestrian and child bike safety along Montana Creek Road, namely one separated bike path along the northeast side of the road…This new bike path provides similar utility to the Trappers Lane connection in that a safer haven to [pedestrians] and bikes is provided…Quantifying the safety of the Trappers Lane trail in comparison to the [Montana Creek Road] bikepath is not possible.” 

 Perhaps the most poignant comment by Mr. Healy in this email is that “I waived the double sidewalk requirement to address a concept for enhancing the safety of transportation between neighborhoods and within the neighborhood.  The bus stop addresses an improvement to the overall transportation system but is a different concept and serves a different utility than the trail.  Life and safety are usually top priority—the trails moving [pedestrians]/bikes away from high[ly] trafficked routes served that purpose.  Comfort for bus riders is certainly a worthy goal…but is not a life/safety improvement.  The [Montana Creek Road] path has addressed most of the safety concern that was offered by the Trappers [Lane] trail.”

 Although the separated path along Montana Creek Road provides safety enhancements for pedestrians and bicyclists along that road, this is a safety improvement which is outside the scope of the applicant’s proposal.  The two components of the applicant’s proposal are the trails within Montana Creek IV and the off-site bus shelter.  As Mr. Healy notes above, the bus shelter is not a life/safety improvement, and the trails are a life/safety improvement.

 Neighbors have submitted comments on this and previous cases related to the subject trails that the roads in the Montana Creek Subdivisions, with sidewalks on only one side, are safe for children, pedestrians, and bicyclists (Attachment N) .

 Property Value or Neighborhood Harmony – CBJ Assessor Jim Canary (Prior to his retirement) states (Attachment O) that he has “no concerns with either the trail or bus shelter for property value reasons.  The public comments received during the review of SUB2006-00023 were overwhelmingly against the installation of the subject trails, and at the date of the drafting of this memorandum, written comments received from neighborhood residents were unilaterally opposed to the construction of the trails.  Telephone comments from neighborhood residents who are in favor of construction of the trails were received during the review of SUB2006-00023 and the subject application, but no written comments in support of the trails have been received from neighbors to date.  All written comments on the current proposal are attached to this memorandum.

 Conformity With Adopted Plans – The subject trails are included as an “Immediate Need” in the Juneau Non-Motorized Transportation Plan (See the June 23, 2006 memorandum on SUB2006-00023, attached).

 The 1996 Transit Development Plan (TDP), which is the latest to have been adopted by the CBJ Assembly, calls for the Mendenhall Loop Road to be served by two bus routes.  One of these routes would serve the eastern Mendenhall Valley, and would terminate on the east side of the Mendenhall River, prior to reaching the proposed bus shelter.  The other proposed route would serve Auke Bay, UAS, and the Mendenhall Loop Road, terminating near Skater’s Cabin.  This bus route would serve Trappers Lane, Ninnis Drive, and the subject neighborhood with bus stops closer to residential development than the proposed bus shelter.  As Mr. Healy states in his July 16, 2007 email, (Attachment H) “the utility of the bus stop on BLR (Back Loop Road, a commonly used but unofficial name for the Mendenhall Loop Road) would be minimized if busses were to go up [Montana Creek Road] with a turn around by Skater’s Cabin.”

 Transit Superintendent John Kern has commented that he agrees with the assessment that the proposed bus shelter could be of limited utility in its proposed location, although this shelter “would be an improvement in safety and comfort” as long as that location was served by Capital Transit (Attachment P).  Mr. Kern also commented on a recommended condition which could be placed on the subject Conditional Use permit if it were granted by the Planning Commission.  This condition is intended to ensure that the subject bus shelter retained its utility if Capital Transit bus routes are modified as a result of the 2007-2008 Transit Development Plan, which is in its very early stages at the date of this memorandum.  The original language of the recommended condition and Mr. Kern’s comments appear in the August 7, 2007 emails between Ben Lyman and Mr. Kern (Attachment Q).

Juneau Coastal Management Program – The subject trails, as components of SUB2002-00023 and SUB2003-00004, were found to be consistent with the Juneau Coastal Management Program (JCMP) during the review of those applications.

 The proposed bus shelter is not related to the JCMP or its enforceable policies.

  

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?

N/A.  Although the proposed amendment is not, in and of itself, a use, the July 10, 2006 memorandum on SUB2006-00023 and SUB2003-00004 (Attachment F) contains a description of the process required to modify a condition of approval of a major subdivision.  The process described under item #2 in this memorandum was determined to be the appropriate process after discussion between CDD and CBJ Law Department staff.

Bus shelters are not defined in Title 49, the Land Use Code; nor are bus shelters listed in the Table of Permissible Uses, CBJ §49.25.300.  Bus shelters are typically located with a public right-of-way, and exist in nearly every, if not every, zoning district in the CBJ.

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. Public notice of this project was provided in the August 3rd and August 13th issues of the Juneau Empire's "Your Municipality" section, and a Notice of Public Hearing was mailed to all property owners within 500 feet of the subject parcel.  Moreover, a Public Notice Sign was posted on the subject parcel, visible from the public Right of Way.

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

Yes.  Based on the analysis above, the proposed amendment to condition 1 of SUB2003-00004 would replace a public improvement which was intended to improve public health and safety with a public improvement which increases the comfort, but not the safety, of the public.

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 analysis above, the proposed amendment to condition 1 of SUB2003-00004 will not decrease the value of or be out of harmony with property in the neighboring area.

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 analysis above, the proposed amendment to condition 1 of SUB2003-00004 would not be in general conformity with the land use plan, Non-motorized Transportation Plan, or 1996 Transit Development Plan.

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

Yes.       Based on the analysis above, and more particularly the analysis in the staff memorandum on SUB2002-00023, the proposed development will comply with the Juneau Coastal Management Program.  

  

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that the Planning Commission adopt the Director's analysis and findings and deny the requested Conditional Use permit.  The permit would amend condition 1 of SUB2003-00004 from:

That the applicant construct the pedestrian paths accessing Tract A and Trappers Lane to the standards described in the April 22, 2003 Engineering memo, (Attachment C) and that those dedicated pedestrian right-of-ways be shown on the recorded plat.

to:

That the applicant construct a Bus Shelter at the intersection of Montana Creek and Mendenhall Loop Road to the specifications outlined by the CBJ, and as approved by DOT by October 2007.

If the Planning Commission adopts alternate analyses and findings and approves the requested Conditional Use permit, staff recommends that the following condition be placed on that approval:

1)     If the 2007-2008 Transit Development Plan is adopted and implemented, and recommends route amendments which render the subject bus shelter obsolete in its proposed location, the applicant shall, at their own expense, re-locate the bus shelter to an alternate location which serves the subject neighborhood, which meets with the approval of the Capital Transit Superintendent, and which meets with approval of whichever state or local agency controls the right-of-way within which the shelter is to be relocated to.  The subject shelter shall be relocated to coincide with any operational changes to Capital Transit bus routes, and shall be completed no earlier than one month prior to the re-routing of the relevant bus route, and shall be completed no more than one calendar year after the re-routing of the relevant bus route.

 

 

 
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