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

 

DATE:                         May 6, 2005

TO:                             Planning Commission

FROM:                       Greg Chaney , Planner
                                  
Community Development Department

 

FILE NO.:                   SUB2004-00022

PROPOSAL:          Modification of preliminary plat SUB2002-00009 incorporating on-site wastewater disposal.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant:                                  Malcolm Menzies

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 project consist of forty-eight lots for residential disposal and three Tracts to remain as public lands for the immediate future (Attachment 1a).   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.   The other two Tracts 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 lot, 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   1b).

 

ANALYSIS

Zoning

Lots created by this subdivision will be sold by CBJ for development as residential lots.   Lots are substantially larger that the minimum requirement for D-3 lots, with an average lot size of 39,000 square feet where 12,000 square feet is the minimum.   Twenty-six of the forty-eight 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 situation today.   A large amount of D-3 land is served by full public utilities. The density reflects the existing pattern   of development of properties along Point Lena.

Lots within this zoning designation must be configured so they meet the standards shown below in Figure 1.

Minimum Lot Size 1

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 22,876 square feet to 66,715 square feet, with the median size being 42,605 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 nearly all lots exceed 24,000 square feet, most 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.   Due to concerns related to creating an undesirable density for on-site wastewater disposal, staff is recommending a condition that a note be added to the final plat indicating that all lots created with this subdivision and Tract B may not be further subdivided without Planning Commission approval.

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 3).   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).

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 48-lot South Lena Subdivision is combined with the 22 lots approved under the Lena Point Heights subdivision, there will be a total of 70 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 proposed developments include 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 10)   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 is: 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 will have to be replaced after fifteen years.   A more realistic expectation would be a five to ten year lifespan.  

On-site sewer can work in theory, but has often failed in practice. In both Bonnie Brae and Bayview subdivisions, the CBJ eventually had to accept ownership of their systems at large capital expense. There are opportunities to improve on-site sewer at all levels (design, construction/installation, management, operations, and regulatory oversight).   In response to these concerns, CBJ is preparing an extensive maintenance and oversight program to create an environment where on-lot wastewater disposal is dependable.   This effort   will require new regulations to be drafted to address these issues.

In light of this situation, 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 (in an economically feasible manner) 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 21).

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.   At this date, the Assembly has not selected a preferred alternative.   The CBJ Lands Department has expressed the desire to proceed with approval of on-site wastewater disposal and therefore this application is being brought forward to the Planning Commission for consideration prior to further Assembly action on this issue.

On-lot wastewater treatment systems have a limited lifespan, which is often reduced by inadequate O&M. Failure of these systems often goes unnoticed and uncorrected for many years. Failed systems pose a health risk to the community.   By the time failure becomes apparent to the layman, repair costs are often several thousand dollars.   Many homeowners find themselves in a position where they are not able to afford the unexpected expense and end up living with the failed system for extended periods.

In 1983 the CBJ commissioned a study of on-lot sewage disposal in the Mendenhall Valley and North Douglas . While this report did not specifically analyze the subject site, it does speak to on-lot treatment in difficult terrain, such as high water tables found in the proposed development (Attachment 22).  

Some of the concerns the above report was attempting to address have been mitigated by the availability of city water to the proposed subdivision.   However, other factors still remain: the risk of contaminated effluent entering surface waters with contagious pathogens, and the contamination of natural systems with poorly treated sewage effluent.

One of the largest problems with failing systems is an aesthetic consideration; poorly treated effluent has a strong undesirable odor, and no one wants it flowing in their ditches, much less their yards. This is not meant to diminish the very real health and environmental considerations previously mentioned, but functionally, the problem is generally first noticed when an undesirable but distinct and persistent odor is detected.  It is difficult to identify the source of gastrointestinal diseases, but it is very easy to conclude that undesirable odors emanating from ditches are a direct result of   failed sewage systems in the vicinity.

Below are listed several issues of concern:

•  Sewage systems have a shorter useful life if they are not properly maintained.

•  Sewage systems around the borough are frequently not adequately maintained.

•  Operation and Management oversight is vital to the longevity of the system.

•  Sewer systems that have failed have the potential for environmental, health and aesthetic impacts.

•  CBJ has had to intercede to correct deficiencies in on-site sewage treatment at great expense (by extending city sewer).

•  CBJ has a shortage of available lots

•  Land is at a premium and driving the cost of housing up

•  One system is easier to maintain and construct than forty-eight

•  There should be enough room for 2 more drain field sites  

Therefore, staff has reached the following conclusions:

•  An O&M oversight program must be run by the municipality if it is to be effective.

•  A proper regulatory oversight program for individual on-site sewage treatment systems would increase the reliable lifespan of on-site wastewater systems

CBJ Chief Regulatory Engineer, John Bowman , has spent a great deal of time considering solutions to the problem of on-site wastewater treatment.   (Attachments 12, Attachment 13 and Attachment 14)   His conclusion is that if several specific measures are put in place, on lot sewage treatment systems could dependably last longer than 25 years.   On-site State and CBJ sewer regulations have gaps in oversight and unfortunately none of the measures recommended by John Bowman are currently in place.   As a result, he estimates on-lot wastewater treatment systems experience a borough wide failure rate between 20% to 60%.   This level of failure is consistent with national trends.

The Wetland Review Board (WRB), at its most recent meeting concerning this subdivision proposal on April 14, 2005 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 Attachment 12 & Attachment 13.

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.   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.   Two Ordinances have been introduced before the Assembly authorizing development of a regulatory program addressing on-site wastewater system design, installation, operation and maintenance.   These ordinances will be referred to the Planning Commission and Public Works together with the description of the regulatory program.   Based on the above, Community Development staff recommends approval of on-site wastewater disposal.

While the Wetland Review Board, based on information before them 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 economical due to the limited number of potential customers available at this time (Attachment 21).   At the present time, CBJ staff from multiple disciplines are researching measures to improve on-site wastewater disposal reliability (Attachment 21).   This information and supporting regulations are being crafted to satisfy platting requirements for recently approved Lena Heights Subdivision and South Lena Subdivision.

If during the course of   public hearing, the Commission does not feel confident that they have received sufficient information to make the determination that on-lot wastewater disposal can be conducted safely, then staff recommends continuing the item.  

In order to address concerns about maintenance, staff is recommending conditions similar in nature to those recently approved for Lena Heights Subdivision.

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.

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.

Drainage

Impact of residential development on drainage has been an area of particular concern. Direction of regional drainage is shown on Attachment C.   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 (Attachment 8).   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.

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, enforceable policies contained in the 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 20).   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 ctober 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.

 

3.  The 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).   This plan shows combined house and drain field fill pads of approximately 10,000 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 10,000 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.   Staff will recommend an advisory condition to clarify this intent.

Access and Traffic Analysis

Access for the subdivision will primarily be via the NOAA access road for the upper 38 residential lots.   Ten 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 15).   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 less than 50 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 is recommending 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.

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 fail, then a public health hazard could exist.   The applicant has proposed development of a rigorous municipal oversight program to mitigate this public health risk, since this municipal oversight program was not available for review, the Wetland Review Board was unable to conclude that water quality would be maintained.  

Planning staff has reviewed drafts of the proposed municipal oversight program and has discussed the issue extensively with CBJ Engineering, Public Works, Lands and Law staff.   Taken as a whole, the effort made to date indicates that a 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.   Staff anticipates more information concerning these proposals will be presented by Engineering and Public Works at the hearing.

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 their 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.  

Planning staff has reviewed drafts of the proposed municipal oversight program and has discussed the issue extensively with CBJ Engineering, Public Works, Lands and Law staff.   Taken as a whole, the effort made to date indicates that a rigorous municipal oversight program would address problems commonly experienced with on-lot waste water disposal.   Therefore, staff concludes that potential impacts to property values will not be significant due to the rigorous municipal oversight program that is being developed.   Staff anticipates more information concerning these proposals will be presented by Engineering and Public Works at the preliminary plat hearing.

In consideration of the proposed municipal oversight program, 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 18, Attachment 19 and Attachment 20).   In response, the applicant has revised the subdivision proposal to accommodate neighborhood concerns while meeting CBJ goals of providing cost effective disposal of   public lands suitable for residences and construction of water, and road access facilities.

Lot size greatly exceeds D-3 area standards.   Over half of the lots are large enough to meet D-1 zoning standards.   Requests by local residents for this subdivision to have larger lots are difficult to understand when the neighborhood did not object to the lot size proposed under nearby SUB2004-00043 even though the average lot size approved was considerably smaller.

Perhaps the most 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 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.

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.   In that case, 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 proposed 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 48 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)  Prior to recording, a plat note shall be added to the final plat indicating that all lots created with this subdivision and Tract B may not be further subdivided without Planning Commission approval.

5)  With the exception of the sewage treatment plant (septic or aeration tank), which will be installed by individual lot purchasers, the applicant shall install or bond for the installation of septic systems as approved by the CBJ Engineering Department on all lots prior to final plat recording, except if CBJ adopts regulations requiring CBJ Engineering approval for on-site sewage treatment system design and inspection by CBJ Engineering during installation, the above requirements shall not apply.

6)  The 30-foot wide Utility easement designated on the preliminary plat between Lot 1, Tract B, Lot 2 and Lot 3 of Block B shall also include a pedestrian easement.

Juneau Coastal Management Program Consistency:

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

8)   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.

9) 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.

10) 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 10,000 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.  

11) South Lena Subdivision Final Plat shall not be approved until CBJ adopts an ordinance addressing the maintenance deficiencies of on-lot sewage treatment systems, or until the CBJ establishes a maintenance program by contract and or regulation whereby the CBJ maintains and inspects the systems on an appropriate schedule.

12) Tract C (Picnic Creek Drainage) shall be designated as a “greenbelt” on the final plat.

 

Full Staff Report

Notice of Public Hearing

Attachment 1A

Attachment 1B

Attachment 2

Attachment 3

Attachment 4

Attachment 5

Attachment 6

Attachment 7

Attachment 8

Attachment 9

Attachment 10

Attachment 11

Attachment 12

Attachment 13

Attachment 14

Attachment 15

Attachment 17

Attachment 18

Attachment 19

Attachment 20

Attachment 21

Attachment 22

 

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