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

Click here to get the PDF version of the entire staff report to print. Warning: large file - may take several seconds to load.

DATE:                        September 7, 2005

TO:                              Planning Commission

FROM:                      Greg Chaney, Planner
                              
Community Development Department

FILE NO.:            SUB2004-00022 – Revised Staff Report

PROPOSAL:           Modification of preliminary plat SUB2002-00009 incorporating on-site wastewater disposal and reducing the number of lots from 48 to 44.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant:                                   R&M Engineering

Property Owner:                      City and Borough of Juneau & GSA

Legal Description:                 USS 3809 Lots 2, 3, 4A and 6 TR A

Parcel Code No.:                   8-B33-0-101-015-0

Site Size:                                 103 Acres

Zoning:                                    D-3

Utilities:                                  CBJ Water; On-Site Waste Water Disposal Proposed

Access:                                  South Lena Loop Road, NOAA Access Road

Existing Land Use:                                   Vacant

Surrounding Land Use:    

North – D3 Single Family Residential
South - D3 Single Family, Point Lena Loop Rd.
East -        D3 Single Family Residential
West -      D3 Single Family Residential

 

 PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The original subdivision proposal consisted of forty-eight lots for residential disposal and three Tracts to remain as public lands for the immediate future (Attachment A).  In response to Planning Commission requests for larger lots along the old South Lena Loop Road, the applicant has modified the lots accessing the lower road so there are four less than originally proposed (Attachment B).  Residential lots will front on the newly built NOAA access road and the old South Lena Loop Road.  A 50.7-acre Tract encompassing the Picnic Creek Drainage will become a designated greenbelt, ultimately to be incorporated into the CBJ Parks system.  Tracts A and B will remain in public ownership for the foreseeable future but will be eligible for disposal in the mid to long term.

 

BACKGROUND

In 1996 the CBJ Lands Department completed a study to determine the suitability of CBJ property in the Lena region for residential subdivision.  It was concluded that cost of development was prohibitive due to infrastructure requirements.  However, since the a new road has been constructed to access the proposed NOAA site and water utilities have been upgraded in the region, economics for disposal of this property to provide residential lots is now considered to be favorable.

In 2002, CBJ Lands developed an updated Lena Master Plan depicting residential lots, a future Planned Unit Development, and Picnic Creek greenbelt.  The diagram also shows private residential lots, Federal and State holdings and existing parks, greenbelts and recreational areas (Attachment C).

 

ANALYSIS

Zoning

Lots created by this subdivision will be sold by CBJ for development as residential lots.  Lots are substantially larger than the minimum requirement for D-3 parcels.  Twenty-seven of the forty-four lots exceed lot area requirements for D-1 residential lots.

Three Tracts are also proposed under this subdivision.  Tract A is being retained as an eagle nest buffer.  This Tract will be retained in public ownership until the eagle nest is abandoned or regulations protecting eagle nests are modified.  Tract B is being retained to protect water rights which exist on the property.  Tract C is a 51.5-acre area to be set aside as a greenbelt to protect the Picnic Creek drainage.  Ultimately, this property is anticipated to be designated as a CBJ Natural Area Park.

As mentioned above, the subject property is within a D-3 Zoning district. The D-3 residential district is intended to accommodate primarily single-family and duplex residential development at a density of three dwelling units per acre. Title 49 describes D-3 zoned lands as being primarily outside the urban service boundary where public utilities are not provided.  However, this is not an accurate depiction of the status of

D-3 property in Juneau today.  A large amount of D-3 land in Juneau is located inside of the Urban Service Boundary and are served by full public utilities. The zoning selected for the Lena area reflects the existing pattern of development in the Lena area.

Figure 1:  Lots within a D-3 zone must be configured so they meet the standards shown below.

Minimum Lot Size1

D-3

 

Permissible Uses

12,000

 

 

Duplex

18,000

 

 

Single-family detached, two dwellings per lot

24,000

Minimum lot width

100'

 

Common wall dwelling

 

Minimum lot depth

100'

Figure 1

Lot size in the proposed subdivision ranges from 26, 981 square feet to 66,715 square feet.  Therefore, all lots exceed the minimum area requirements shown in Figure 1.

With the exception of lots 6, 9 and 10, Block A and Lot 1, Block D, all lots meet minimum dimensional standards. While the four lots mentioned above do not meet the minimum lot width requirement, the director has determined they do meet the following criteria, which provide an alternative standard:

 

§49.15.460(4)

Subdivision lots shall meet the minimum dimensional standards established by chapter 49.25, article IV (Figure 1), provided that in cases of difficult topography or other circumstances rendering compliance impracticable, the director may approve other configurations if the lot:

(a)             Meets the minimum lot size requirement;

(b)             As drawn, is capable of containing a rectangle having two sides equal in length to the minimum lot width requirement and two sides equal in length to the minimum lot depth requirement;

(c)       Has direct and practical access to a street maintained by an agency of government; and

(d)      Has at least one practical building location.

Applying this provisional section of code, the Director has determined that all proposed lots conform to the requirements for the D-3 zoning district.

As indicated by Figure 1, since all lots exceed 24,000 square feet, they could be permitted to have  two detached single-family dwellings.  Additionally, many lots are large enough that they could be further subdivided by future lot owners.  In order to preserve the nature and character of the subdivision, the applicant has included a plat note which states:

Except for Tract “A” of this subdivision, no lot or tract within South Lena Subdivision may be further subdivided.

 

Water

In 1999 the City and Borough of Juneau brought public water to the area through construction of a 1 million

gallon water tank and pump system.  This provides ample supply for this subdivision and future development of public and private lands.  Water pipes were installed during construction of the NOAA Access road to provide water service to the subject parcel.

In an effort to take advantage of a window of opportunity during construction, both water and sewer lines were installed in anticipation of this subdivision proposal during construction of the NOAA Access Road.  Therefore, each proposed lot along this road has a water service and sewer line installed (Attachment D).  However, since the applicant has determined that  a community sewer system is not feasible, the sewer lines cannot be used at this time. 

At the base of the subdivision, is South Lena Loop Road which is an old road that was built before the current subdivision proposal.  Therefore, individual water services have not been installed to all lots which border it.  A water main runs along the opposite side of the South Lena Loop Road but water service has not been installed to most of the proposed lots bordering this right-of-way.  Per CBJ §49.35.310(a) Water Systems Required, staff is recommending a condition that prior to final plat, water service must be extended to all lots in the subdivision (including Tract B).  The applicant has indicated they may divide final platting into two parts.  Lots along the new road with existing water service would be platted first and the remaining lots would be platted at a later time when water lines have been installed to those lots.

Sewer

For more than ten years, it has been the Assembly’s desire to subdivide and dispose land at Point Lena. When the current application for the 44-lot South Lena Subdivision is combined with the 22 lots approved under the Lena Point Heights subdivision, there will be a total of 66 new lots platted.  In1996 CBJ commissioned a study to evaluate two alternatives for sewer systems in this area, on-lot treatment with a central collection and marine outfall, and a community wastewater treatment plant.  The study concluded that due to soils, maintenance issues and pollution concerns related to on-site treatment, a collection and outfall system would be the preferred option. However, various problems concerning reliable performance of a centralized system have surfaced since the 1996 study was completed and have compelled the CBJ to re-evaluate the merits of waste treatment options.  Today both subdivisions plan to use individual on-site sewage treatment and disposal (aeration plants and mounded drainfields).

The applicant has submitted a document titled “Preliminary Plat (Re-Submittal) South Lena Subdivision Major Subdivision Submittal Report Section G (Soils Permeability), H (Soil Testing); & I (Surface Drainage)(Attachment V).  The general conclusion of this report is that soils in the area are not generally acceptable for standard leach field construction.  Therefore, due to high water tables, the report  recommends installation of mounded leach fields.  On page 9  of the report:

The life absorption systems will require maintenance.  The life of a typical well-graded sand and gravel mounded drain field is estimated between five and ten years provided the AWWTP and UV light has received its proper maintenance.  If all systems are maintained

properly, the life of the absorption system can exceed fifteen years.  Tell tale signs of drain field failure are: leaching; odor and soft, or saturated areas of the mound.  When such occurs, we recommend the reconstruction of the drain field occur.

Based on this assessment, under a best-case scenario, mounded leach fields would have to be replaced after fifteen years.  A more realistic expectation would be a five to ten year lifespan. 

On-site sewer systems do work in theory, but as mentioned above, they have often failed in Juneau. In both Bonnie Brae and Bayview subdivisions, the CBJ eventually had to accept ownership of their systems at large capital expense. The CBJ Assembly has recognized there where opportunities to improve on-site sewer at all levels (design, construction/installation, management, operations, and regulatory oversight).  In response to these concerns, CBJ has recently adopted regulations 06 CBJAC 01.010 – 01.080 and 03 CBJAC 41.010 – 41.080 which have created an extensive maintenance and oversight program to provide an environment where on-lot wastewater disposal is dependable (Attachment E   and  Attachment F).  

Before the regulations were adopted for municipal over site of  on-lot wastewater disposal, a joint meeting of the Committee of the Whole (CBJ Assembly) and the Planning Commission was convened on January 31, 2005, to determine if on-site sewer is a sufficient system to protect public health or if an alternative community sewer system would better meet the community's needs.

Prior to the meeting, staff from the CBJ Engineering, Lands and Resources, Public Works, and Community Development Departments met over the course of the month, to review the merits of various sewage systems. These meetings resulted in the production of technical papers that were used as the basis for the presentation to the joint committee meeting (Attachment W).              

The meeting resulted in the following motion, by Mayor Botelho:

The COW recommends to the Assembly to authorize city staff to look at the Lena Subdivision, with Options 2 & 6 as alternatives for wastewater treatment.

The motion was carried without any objection.  Option 2 stipulated on-site wastewater disposal while Option 6 involved a community sewer treatment system.  On August 25, 2005, regulations governing on-site wastewater disposal in major subdivisions (06 CBJAC 01.010 – 01.080 and 03 CBJAC 41.010 – 41.080) were adopted by the Assembly.  The suitability of using Option 6 was discussed, and based on staff’s comments, the Assembly determined that Option 6 was not feasible at this time.  In order to answer the Planning Commission’s concerns about this issue, Rorie Watt from CBJ Engineering has prepared a memo discussing the reason Option 6 was discarded (Attachment G).  In light of the newly established regulatory framework for CBJ oversight of on-lot wastewater disposal, the CBJ Lands Department has expressed the desire to proceed with approval of the subdivision.

CBJ Chief Regulatory Engineer, John Bowman, has spent a great deal of time considering solutions to the problem of on-site wastewater treatment  (Attachment H,  Attachment I, and Attachment J).  His conclusion is that when the measures contained in the recently adopted regulations are employed, on lot sewage treatment systems could dependably last longer than 25 years.

The Wetland Review Board (WRB), at its April 14, 2005 meeting concerning this subdivision adopted two recommendations related to on-site sewage treatment systems.  The enforceable policy contained in the Land Use Code which governs this issue is contained in  Section  49.70.950(c)(3):

Wetlands and tideflats shall be managed so as to assure adequate waterflow, nutrients, and oxygen levels, to avoid the adverse effects on natural drainage patterns, the destruction of important habitat, and the discharge of toxic substances.

Below are the Wetland Review Board’s recommendations followed by staff’s responses to both items:

5. The WRB recommends construction of a centralized sewage treatment system to minimize potential impacts to wetland and marine intertidal habitat water quality.  If the Planning Commission is able to make findings that on-lot waste water disposal can be conducted in such a manner that water quality and pollution will not be negatively affected, then the WRB recommends adoption of a recommendation similar to #18 of permit SUB2004-00043 (Preliminary Plat approval is subject to CBJ adopting an ordinance addressing the maintenance deficiencies of on-lot sewage treatment systems, or until the developer reaches a binding agreement with CBJ, whereby CBJ maintains and inspects the systems on an appropriate schedule). If on-lot sewage disposal is approved, construction and maintenance should be carried out as detailed in Attachments 12 & 13. ( relabeled to Attachments H  and  Attachment I)

The Wetland Review Board recommended approval  if sufficient evidence is available to conclude (and make findings for the record) that on lot sewage disposal can be conducted in such a manner as to ensure public health and safety.  In light of the newly adopted regulations, CBJ Chief Regulatory Engineer, John Bowman, has stated that if operated properly, these systems have a 99 percent chance of functioning as designed for at least 25 years.  Regulations addressing on-site wastewater system design, installation, operation and maintenance have been adopted by the CBJ Assembly.  Based on the above information, Community Development staff recommends approval of on-site wastewater disposal.

While the Wetland Review Board, based on information available at the time, recommended centralized treatment, Engineering staff analyzed the economics of a centralized sewage treatment plant and concluded that on-lot wastewater disposal was the most practical due to the limited number of potential customers available at this time (Attachment G).  At the present time, a significant regulatory oversight program has been adopted and surface water quality issues which concerned the Wetland Review Board have been addressed.  Perhaps the most significant aspect of the new regulations is that if a system fails and property owner does not take required corrective action, the water will be shut off to that household.  This provision protects the surface water from degradation, which could be caused by a failed wastewater system.

The second recommendation of the WRB is as follows:

6.  The WRB recommends that the Planning Commission carefully consider the long-term view regarding a centralized sewage treatment system.  If the Planning Commission approves on-site wastewater disposal, the Board recommends establishment of an on-site surface water quality-monitoring program to measure cumulative water quality impacts.   At the same time as water monitoring is taking place, the Board recommends that CBJ continue to explore construction of a centralized sewage treatment system.

By adoption of the new on lot wastewater disposal regulations, CBJ has created a stepping stone enabling modest density rural subdivisions to be created safely when there are not enough units to economically build centralized sewer systems.  When more dwellings are built in the area, the economics for a centralized system may be achieved.

If the plat is approved as proposed utilizing on-site sewage disposal, staff is recommending that CBJ continue to monitor the situation and evaluate the feasibility of installing a community sewer system to service this region in the future.  If utilization of on-site sewage disposal is approved, staff also recommends that surface water quality monitoring be incorporated into the long-term on-site sewage plant maintenance program.

At the May 10, 2005 Public Hearing concerning this application, the Planning Commission requested information concerning the most appropriate mechanism for limiting the number of dwellings allowed on individual lots in the South Lena Subdivision.  At that time CBJ Attorney, Peggy Boggs recommended the adoption of an ordinance which specifically empowered the City and Borough of Juneau to enforce plat notes.  This has been done.  Ordinance 2005-22 was adopted on August 8, 2005, and with an effective date of September 8, 2005 (See Attachment K).  Now that the question of plat note enforceability has been addressed, the rest of Ms. Boggs' recommendation is still relevant:

After enforceability, the next question is whether a condition/plat note that limits density is in fact possible, or whether it would conflict with CBJ code.  The code expressly permits, by ordinance, a second dwelling, duplex, or accessory apartment on lots of a certain size.  (See CBJ 49.25.500].  This applies to all lots within CBJ.  In my opinion, any condition/plat note restricting this density allowance would have to be well supported by substantial, non-speculative evidence to stand up on appeal (or in a lawsuit) in the face of this section, if it would at all.

The Commission could potentially base a density restriction on CBJ 49.15.330(f)(1)-(2), the neighborhood harmony and public health and safety sections of the CUP ordinance, if substantial evidence comes before the Commission that more then one dwelling would "more probably than not materially endanger neighborhood harmony or public health" and that this effect is best mitigated through a density restriction.  The Commission should take into account that CBJ has begun the process of enacting detailed regulations for on-site sewer systems that are themselves intended to protect the public health and to address neighborhood harmony concerns (these regulations have been adopted and are no longer in draft form).  The draft regulations expressly state that they are intended to protect public health and to prevent public nuisances.  The draft regulations include a permit requirement for on-site systems, such permits to be issued only if the system will not endanger public health; provisions for design review; an inspection and maintenance program; and penalties for noncompliance.

Considering the above comments and the plat note restricting further subdivisions, CDD staff has concluded that CBJ regulations should be sufficient to protect public interests (unless significant new information is presented to the Planning Commission proving this is not the case) CDD staff does not recommend adopting additional density restrictions for the South Lena Subdivision.  Restrictions on the number and size of dwellings allowed on individual lots related to wastewater disposal issues would be better regulated through the new CBJ on-site sewer permitting process than a general restriction on housing units specific to this subdivision.

 Attachment U

Drainage

Impact of residential development on drainage has been an area of particular concern.  Direction of regional

drainage is shown on Attachment L.  Drainage culverts were installed through the NOAA access road to allow flow to follow previously established channels.  Runoff drains through culverts under South Lena Loop Road and discharges through several private lots to the beach along Favorite Channel.  Most of the proposed properties in Block A and B comprise a mosaic of Forested Wetlands where hydrologic control is an important function.  Identification and protection of important drainage corridors through the proposed residential development are addressed under the JCMP/Wetlands section below.

CBJ Engineering Department identified several problems with siltation and flow capacity during construction of the NOAA access road.  Old culverts along South Lena Loop Road were found to be too small and have been replaced with appropriately sized culverts (Attachment M).

At the June 14, 2005 Planning Commission meeting concerning this application, the Planning Commission requested additional information concerning drainage concerns in the South Lena Subdivision.  These issues have been addressed in the attached memo drafted by Rorie Watt, Chief CIP Engineer (Attachment N).  Based on the discussion contained in the memo, it appears that the drainage problems referenced during public testimony at the June 14, 2005 meeting were related to drainage changes caused by road construction.  These drainage issues will not be significantly impacted by the approval of the subdivision.  In particular, insufficiently treated effluent will not flow through adjacent properties as a result of this subdivision’s approval.

 

Wetlands

Wetlands in the Lena area are outside the boundaries of the formally categorized wetlands in the Juneau Wetland Management Plan (JWMP).  As mentioned in the sewer section above, when wetlands fall outside of the JWMP’s mapped area, Land Use Code’s enforceable policies govern.  Section  49.70.950(c)(3) states:

Wetlands and tideflats shall be managed so as to assure adequate waterflow, nutrients, and oxygen levels, to avoid the adverse effects on natural drainage patterns, the destruction of important habitat, and the discharge of toxic substances.

The Wetland Review Board (WRB), in its advisory capacity, has held four meetings to review proposed subdivision plans.  The most recent meeting was held April 14, 2005.  Members from the LENA neighborhood association, CBJ Land’s, Engineering and Community Development Department also attended. 

WRB staff representative, Teri Camery, submitted a letter outlining the WRB’s recommendations concerning the South Lena Subdivision dated May 2, 2005 (Attachment P).  These recommendations were unanimously approved by the WRB.  Below are listed the WRB’s recommendations except 5 and 6 which were discussed above.  Following each recommendation are staff’s responses to the item:

1.  The applicant shall utilize Best Management Practices as previously approved by the Wetland Review Board on October 2, 2003 for the previously approved South Lena Subdivision.  These are listed below:

A.  Diverted or construction-related water shall not be directed into receiving waters unless sediment retention structures and water quality control devices are used prior to discharge.

B.  The duration and area of exposed soil shall be minimized to reduce erosion potential.  Re-vegetation shall be completed within one growing season.

C.  Soils or fill shall not be placed near stream banks where it may be transported into the watercourse. 

D.  Runoff from the site after project completion shall not contribute to the impairment of water quality.

E.  Erosion and sedimentation control devices shall be installed between construction areas and streams prior to grading and maintained throughout the construction period.

F.  Equipment shall not be serviced or washed within 100 feet from streams. 

G.  Spill containment and cleanup supplies shall be stored within a 15-minute transport time to construction sites.

H.  Storage of excavated or fill materials must be placed at least 25 feet from streams.             

I.  Sediment traps or stilling basins shall be installed to prevent untreated sediment and runoff from entering streams.

J.  Construction runoff will be filtered through silt fences before reentering streams.

These recommendations were approved as an element of the previous preliminary plat.  Therefore, staff is recommending a condition that these Best Management Practices be adopted for any additional development of this subdivision.

2.  The applicant shall maintain a 25' ground cover retention bordering Lena Loop Road unless it is demonstrated to CDD staff that wetlands can be preserved through other means.

This recommendation provides for a buffer strip of wetlands to filter water prior to leaving the subdivision and entering the public drainage system.  This recommendation maintains flexibility to achieve wetland functions, therefore staff will recommend this condition be adopted as a plat note prior to final approval.

3The applicant shall maintain a 25' no-fill, no-development rear yard setback for lots 1-6 of Block D so that drainage will be directed away from Picnic Creek drainage.

This recommendation provides for a 25-foot buffer strip from a wetland unit to filter water prior to leaving the subdivision and the Picnic Creek Drainage System.  Since setbacks for fill from designated wetlands have not been adopted in the Land Use Code, this would represent a significant increased regulatory burden for property owners.  Unfortunately this recommendation is also at odds with requirements for the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) wetland fill permit, which encourages fill to stay out of the small wetland unit running through Lots 2 through 6 in Block D.  Furthermore, a berm already exists running parallel to these lots along their rear lot lines.  Due to this combination of factors, CDD staff is not recommending incorporating this condition as a requirement for final plat approval.

4. A maximum fill pad size shall be established for fill on wetlands in Blocks A, B, C and D, and development shall be prohibited within the 25 foot rear yard setbacks on wetland lots.  Fill coverage and placement shall generally conform to Preliminary Plat sheet 3 of 3 labeled “South Lena Subdivision Conceptual House & Drainfield Layout” dated 6-01-04 on wetland lots in whatever way that remains consistent with other recommendations.  The forested wetlands in Unit Three function to attenuate storm flow and erosion, and extensive clearing of these lots could exacerbate the potential for wind throw and runoff in this Unit.  This recommendation will serve to limit the amount of land clearing that can take place within the Unit, which will preserve wetland functions and drainage patterns.

Since Sheet 3 of 3, “Conceptual House and Drainfield Layout” was included as a project description and has been incorporated as an element of the wetland fill permit for the (USACE) (Attachment O).  This plan shows combined house and drain field fill pads of approximately 12,000 square feet.  Therefore, staff will recommend a plat note dictating that lots in an areas of designated wetlands, shall be allowed a maximum fill footprint of 12,000 square feet.

 

7.  The Board supports the establishment of a Picnic Creek Greenbelt for wetland mitigation as proposed in the preliminary plat.

This is integral to the subdivision as proposed. 

Access and Traffic Analysis

Access for the subdivision will primarily be via the NOAA access road for the upper 38 residential lots.  Six lots along the lower side of the subdivision will be accessed from South Lena Loop Road.

The 1996 Lena Feasibility study estimated the 1996 Lena Loop traffic count to be 600 car trips per day (Attachment X).  Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities found that no additional improvements would be required with the subdivision development.  The NOAA access road has been constructed to higher standards than required for similar access roads outside the urban service boundary to accommodate current and future traffic loads.  Addition of 44 residential lots will not require additional road improvements. 

 

Pedestrian Access

The 1996 Feasibility Study listed a number of recommendations as a result of comments received from Lena residents at public meetings.  These include trail corridors to allow off-street travel through the interior of Lena Point.  This will reduce pedestrian traffic along the roadways, improve neighborhood character and provide locations for public trails.  One pedestrian access route between the NOAA access road and South Lena Loop Road can be included within a 30-foot utility easement through Block B.  This would provide an alternative pedestrian access route for residents traveling between the upper and lower tier of lots.

Therefore, staff recommends a condition that this Utility Easement include a Public Access Easement as well.

 

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.  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 proposed subdivision is appropriate according to the Table of Permissible Uses.  The Conditional Use permit is listed at CBJ§49.25.300, Section 25.100 for the D-3 zoning district.

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

Yes.  Proposed lots will meet standards for water service as required by Title 49 the Land Use Code.  Requirements for public road access have been met.  Other dimensional standards, frontage requirements and public improvement standards have been met. Public notice of this project was provided in the September 2nd  and the September 12, 2005 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?

No.  After reviewing the information available concerning proposed on-site sewage treatment failure rates, the Wetland Review Board determined that over the long term, the potential existed for individual wastewater treatment systems to fail.  If these systems failed, then a public health hazard could exist.  A rigorous municipal oversight program to mitigate this public health risk has been adopted.  Taken as a whole, the rigorous oversight program would address problems commonly experienced with on-lot wastewater disposal.  Therefore, staff concludes that potential water quality problems do not pose a significant public health risk and recommends approval of the preliminary plat. 

Public concerns for safety regarding additional traffic impacts and road design standards were primarily addressed when the CBJ constructed the NOAA Access Road.  This State road will support additional traffic generated by the proposed NOAA facility and significantly reduce additional traffic impacts to the current neighborhood.  As constructed, the NOAA Access road exceeds CBJ design standards for a road outside of the Urban Service Boundary.   Width, pavement, pedestrian shoulder and sightlines all exceed minimum requirements for a road in this area.

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

No.   After reviewing the information available concerning proposed on-site sewage treatment failure rates, the Wetland Review Board determined that over the long term there was potential for individual wastewater treatments systems to fail.  If these systems fail, then due to shallow water table and slopes, poorly treated sewage may run downhill onto adjacent property.  The presence of a failing sewage treatment plant draining from an adjacent property would reduce the marketability of a property.  This is a particularly difficult issue since the receiving property would have very limited, if any, ability to correct the situation. 

As mentioned above, the municipal oversight program would address problems commonly experienced with on-lot wastewater disposal.  Furthermore, Rorie Watt’s memo (Attachment N) specifically addresses this issue.  Therefore, staff concludes that the proposed development would not substantially decrease the value of property in the neighborhood and recommends approval of the preliminary plat.

Sewer issues aside, comments from Lena residents have been almost uniformly opposed to further residential development in this area.  Comments taken at public meetings and communications with staff addressing subdivision alternatives, access road alternatives and this subdivision proposal reflect concerns with neighborhood quality of life, harmony and property values (Attachment Q, Attachment R, Attachment S, Attachment Y, and Attachment Z).  In response, the applicant has revised the subdivision proposal so there are four fewer lots which access South Lena Loop Road.

Lot size greatly exceeds D-3 area standards.  Most proposed lots are large enough to meet D-1 zoning standards.  This addresses neighborhood requests for a subdivision that has larger lots than was originally proposed.

Another significant provision made toward maintaining neighborhood character will be the dedication of the 50.7 acre Picnic Creek Greenbelt.  This will set aside roughly half of the subdivision as open space.  When this dedication is considered along with the rest of the subdivision’s density, the overall density is significantly lower than required for a D-1 zoning district.

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

Yes.  Policy 2.20.1 of the Comprehensive Plan references the Land Use Plan when evaluating disposal of CBJ property.  Ordinance Serial No. 99-11 adopted the latest update of the Land Use Plan. 

Section 5(b) Long Term Disposal: Large tract parcels listed in this section may be sold after the manager has completed a public review process for each pursuant to Section 6, and after public sewer and water has been provided to the parcel being offered…

The list of properties referenced above, includes those comprising this application:

(2) 335 acres at Lena Loop and Auke Rec By-Pass, consisting generally of Lots 2, 3, 4, and 4A, USS 3809; Tract B, ASLA 95-78; USS 3807.

As mentioned above, CBJ Attorney, Peggy Boggs has prepared a memo which addresses the interpretation of this ordinance (Attachment T).  Based on her analysis, the requirements of Ordinance Serial No. 99-11 have been met.

The CBJ Comprehensive and Land Management Plans are visionary documents. They establish broad goals for land use throughout the community and provide general guidance for land development. Since they are general documents that encompass many issues, not all goals are relevant to all projects.  The proposed subdivision complies with the following:

Comprehensive Plan

Policy 2.4:
It is the policy of the CBJ to permit appropriate and needed development in rural areas while assuring protection of natural resources and recreational opportunities.

 

Comprehensive Plan

Map 2B: Designates this area as Rural Low Density Residential (1 to 3 dwellings per acre).  Proposed subdivision density averages 1 unit per 2 acres overall.  Excluding Picnic Creek Drainage, it averages 1 unit per acre.

 

Land Management Plan

Goal 1:

Land Management Plan

Goal 2:

 

Land Management Plan

Goal 3:  “Conduct CBJ land disposal in a manner that promotes compact urban growth and efficient expansion of municipal utilities and services.”

By adoption of the new on lot wastewater disposal regulations, CBJ has created a stepping stone enabling modest density rural subdivisions to be created safely when there are not enough units to economically build centralized sewer systems.  When more dwellings are built in the area, the economics for a centralized system may be achieved. Therefore, staff has determined that the proposal will be in general conformity with officially adopted plans.

 

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

Yes.  As mentioned above, after reviewing the information available concerning proposed on-site sewage treatment failure rates, the Wetland Review Board determined that over the long term there was a potential for individual wastewater treatments systems to fail.  Due to the potential that these systems might fail, the Wetland Review Board was unable to make the recommendation that water quality would  be maintained.

The WRB did, however, recognize the possibility that additional information might become available which would allow the Planning Commission to make findings that on-lot sewage treatment could be reliable.  This situation has changed substantially due to the recent adoption of CBJ’s onsite wastewater oversight and maintenance program.   In the event that regulations of this nature were in place, the WRB recommended several conditions to help ensure wetland functional values in this region.  These were listed above and have been incorporated into staff’s recommendation below. 

In addition, if this preliminary plat is approved, a Variance permit to CBJ49.70.310 for development within 330 feet of an eagle nest site on public land will need to be approved.  This condition is also listed below.

Given staff’s knowledge of the municipal construction, maintenance and oversight program for on-site wastewater disposal, staff is confident that water quality concerns will be appropriately addressed.

 

RECOMMENDATION

Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt the Director's findings, analysis and recommendation and approve SUB2004-00022.  The permit would allow a modification to Preliminary Plat SUB2002-00009 (a preliminary plat to subdivide existing parcels into 44 lots and 3 tracts on the Point Lena Peninsula) to have on-site wastewater systems.  The proposed municipal on-site wastewater disposal program will ensure water quality will be maintained.  Approval would be subject to the following conditions:

1.  Prior to Final Plat recording, the plat shall receive final technical review by the CBJ Engineering Department to ensure conformance with required surveying standards.

2.  All required subdivision improvements shall be constructed, bonded for construction or CBJ funds dedicated for required projects prior to final plat recording.

3.   Prior to final plat recording, water service must be extended to all lots in the subdivision (including Tract B).

4.   The 30-foot wide Utility easement designated on the preliminary plat on Tract B, Lot 3 of Block B shall also include a pedestrian easement.

5.   If the preliminary plat is approved with lot lines within 330 feet of an established eagle nest, a variance permit to eagle nest setback standards, established in CBJ 49.70.310, will be required prior to final plat approval.

6.   The applicant shall utilize Best Management Practices listed below for installation of required subdivision improvements:

A. Diverted or construction-related water shall not be directed into receiving waters unless sediment retention structures and water quality control devices are used prior to discharge.

B. The duration and area of exposed soil shall be minimized to reduce erosion potential.  Re-vegetation shall be completed within one growing season.

C. Soils or fill shall not be placed near stream banks where it may be transported into the watercourse. 

D. Runoff from the site after project completion shall not contribute to the impairment of water quality.

E. Erosion and sedimentation control devices shall be installed between construction areas and streams prior to grading and maintained throughout the construction period.

F.  Equipment shall not be serviced or washed within 100 feet from streams. 

G. Spill containment and cleanup supplies shall be stored within a 15-minute transport time to construction sites.

H.  Storage of excavated or fill materials must be placed at least 25 feet from streams.

I.   Sediment traps or stilling basins shall be installed to prevent untreated sediment and runoff from entering streams.

J.   Construction runoff will be filtered through silt fences before reentering streams.

7.  Prior to final plat approval, a plat note shall be added to the plat stating:

Ground cover shall be retained for 25 feet bordering Lena Loop Road unless it is demonstrated to Community Development staff that wetlands can be preserved through other means.

8.  Prior to final plat approval, a plat note shall be added to the plat stating: 

Maximum fill in areas of mapped wetlands shall not exceed 12,000 square feet for combined house and drainfield fill pads (exclusive of driveways).  Additional fill may be permitted on individual lots if approved by the Planning Commission. 

9.  Prior to final plat approval, a plat note shall be added to the plat stating: 

Lots 4, 5, 6 and 7 Block B with frontage along both the upper and lower roads will be allowed access from the upper road only.

Related Case:  VAR2004-00045

Click here to view the staff's responses to key issues raised by the Planning Commission

 
home
community
visitors
images
business
jobs
calendar
IMAGE-City and Borough of Juneau