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

 ***REVISED ***

 

DATE:                  February 17, 2005

TO:                       Planning Commission

FROM:                 Nathan Bishop, Planner

     Community Development Department

FILE NO.:        SUB2004-00036

PROPOSAL:        A Preliminary Plat application to subdivide USMS 609 Tract 2A into 14 lots in an industrial-zoned area along Glacier Highway (See Attachment "A").

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Please note, the following report is a carbon copy of the February 2, 2005, report with the exception of those portions highlighted in bold font.

 

Applicant:                          Lacano Investments, LLC

Property Owner:               Lacano Investments, LLC

Legal Description:          USMS 609 Tract 2A

Parcel Code No.:           5-B13-0-106-009-0

Site Size:                          24.9 acres

Zoning:                             Industrial

Utilities:                            City Water and Sewer available at Glacier Highway .

Access:                             Glacier Highway

Existing Land Use:         Industrial

Surrounding Land Use:      North - D-15 residential (Creekside Mobile Home Park)

South - Industrial ( Waste Management, Porta Crane)

East -    General Commercial (Business complex)

West - Wetlands and Egan Drive

PROJECT DESRIPTION

This Subdivision Proposal would subdivide the parcel previously occupied by Juneau Ready Mix, into fourteen industrially-zoned lots. The parent parcel is composed of Fractions of USMS 609 and USS 204. The subdivision would be composed of thirteen lots with areas ranging from 20,962-square feet to 56,643-square feet. The remaining lot, currently occupied by AGGPRO (Secon), would have an area of 663,710-square feet (15.24-acres). The total area encompassed by the proposed 14-lots is 24.9 acres.       

Development of the subdivision would require the construction of a new access road, " Concrete Way ." The proposed road would provide access to all lots within the proposed subdivision and some areas beyond. An access easement runs through the subject property providing access to the lots on the western boundary of the subject lot. Concrete Way would occupy a portion of this easement and continue to provide access for the lots beyond.

Concrete Way would be accessed via Glacier Highway, and it would be the only point of access for lots within the proposed subdivision. Previously, circulation patterns included two access points to the subject lot; this proposal would reduce access to one city street, Concrete Way .

 

BACKGROUND

This site has been the home of Juneau Ready Mix for many years; the owners have recently sold the business and are now proposing to develop 14-Lots on the subject parcel. Much of the subject lot is within the stream bed of Lemon Creek.   Lemon Creek is named for John Lemon, who discovered gold in the creek in 1879 and established a placer mine claim in 1897.   Small-scale mining occurred until the Lemon Creek Company acquired the placer claim and began an advertising campaign in Eastern U.S. newspapers (Redman et al., 1988).    Mining operations were established at One Mile Bar and at Bear Gulch on Sawmill Creek (Tom Horn, 2004).   A road and flume were constructed on the south side of the valley in 1901, but fall floods destroyed most of the work.   The company rebuilt the road and flume, but closed down due to lack of water at the site and released its 30 employees.   Some minor work continued, but little gold was produced and the claims were eventually abandoned (Redman, 1988).

Logging and sawmill operations were also part of Lemon Creek’s history.   A small sawmill was initially located in the area currently occupied by Costco on the south side of the creek, and was later moved to the current Correction Center site in the mid-1940s.   Logs were yarded down the frozen creek during winter months.   The mill was later moved to Montana Creek (Tom Horn, 2004).   According to William Tonsgard (2004), trees were last logged in the watershed in the early 1980s.

Gravel mining began in Lemon Creek during World War II.   Prior to extracting gravel from the creek bed, the elevations of the stream banks were nearly even with the adjacent road level (Tom Horn, 2004).   Since then, Lemon Creek has been mined several times.   Although gravel and rock mining continue in Hidden Valley , in stream mining last occurred in the mid-1980s (Ralph Horecny, 2004).

The U.S. Forest Service owns most of the upper watershed.   The lower portion of the creek corridor and associated floodplain has largely been developed for residential and industrial uses since about 1950.   As the floodplain was developed, Lemon Creek has been straightened and confined.   The stream banks have been rip-rapped throughout much of the urbanized section of the creek, and the current meander belt is significantly narrower than it was prior to development.

Currently, the subject parcel is used primarily for concrete and asphalt production, and as a contractor storage yard.

 

ANALYSIS

 

Zoning

The subject parcel is zoned Industrial; lots within this designation must meet the following dimensional standards:

 

Zoning

Industrial

Minimum Lot Size 1

 

 

Permissible Uses

2,000

Minimum lot width

20'

 

 

Minimum lot depth

60'

 

 

 

As previously indicated, the applicant is proposing 14-lots, ranging in size from 20,962-square feet to 56,643-square feet.   The smallest lots are approximately 100-feet in lot width, and 130-feet in depth, as such all lots within the proposed development exceed the dimensional standards by a large margin.

 

Drainage

Sheet five of the subdivision drawings (Attachment "A"), shows the site topography and some of the proposed drainage structures, a full picture of the proposed drainage cannot be extracted from any one illustration, but must be extracted from a combination of the subdivision sheets (topography, cross sections, plan and profiles). John Bowman, CBJ Head Regulatory Engineer has reviewed the proposed drainage and found it to be deficient. However, the preliminary platting process is not intended to review the drawings necessary for subdivision construction; rather it is intended as a preliminary review of the documents to determine the feasibility of the project. Therefore, staff recommends, with the support of the engineering department, that the drainage plan be refined prior to final platting, with the following conditions:

  1. All surface drainage within the subdivision will be directed away from adjacent properties.
  2. Surface drainage will be collected, treated, and discharged into an appropriate receiving   waterbody by a subsurface stormwater   collection system, as deemed appropriate by the city engineer.
  3. Portions of the proposed project are included in the 100-year flood plain.   A condition of plat approval is that a note is placed on the plat that alerts both future owners and CBJ personnel that structures built in these areas will have to be constructed above flood plain elevation.

Wetlands

There are significant inter-tidal wetlands on the subject parcel; however, as all required improve-ments are within a previously impacted footprint, the proposed development will not impact them.

 

Access

As previously stated, access to the lots within the proposed subdivision will be via a new street called " Concrete Way ." In addition to the lots within the subdivision this street will also serve a large tract of land to the Southwest.

Next to proposed Lot 9 is a one-lane bridge providing access to the adjacent property on the opposite shore of Lemon Creek. As part of this subdivision the bridge will be removed. However, the developer does not want to preclude using this access route in the future. As such, there is a 50-foot access easement to the bridge site, proposed through lot 9.

As this is an industrial zoned parcel, and as one of the primary users, is an asphalt and concrete plant, it is expected that much of the traffic using the access street will be heavy truck traffic. This type of traffic will rapidly destroy the road surface if it is not designed to accommodate this type of use. For this reason, the Engineering department is requiring the applicant to design a road bed and surface that can accommodate heavy truck traffic.

 

Traffic Analysis

During the Agency review period Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT) defined the need for a Traffic Analysis for the proposed subdivision. The Lemon Creek area has seen a lot of development pressure in recent past, and traffic issues are developing as a result. For these reasons staff required a traffic analysis for the proposed subdivision (See Attachment "B").

The analysis concluded that the additional traffic produced from the subdivision would lower the level of service for left turns off Concrete Way from a "C" level of service, down to a "D" level of service. As CBJ Title 49 prohibits developments that result in such reductions in level of service, staff asked the applicant to investigate mitigation measures that would reduce the impact. At the request of the applicant, R& M Engineering analyzed the resulting condition if left turns were prohibited during peak hours. While this did eliminate the reduction in the drop of level of service, it was not an option ADOT was willing to accept.

49.40.310 Traffic; minimum standards.

A major development which results in a reduction of two levels of service or a service level of "D" or less, as defined by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, is prohibited.

 

During a later meeting with the applicant, R&M Engineering, ADOT, and CBJ Staff, two potential solutions to the problem were identified:

 

  1. Prohibit left turns out of the subdivision with the use of a directional curb.
  2. For the short term prohibit left turns out of the subdivision through the use of signs and agreements. For the long term the developer would commit funds for an offset "T" traffic light that would control traffic at Davis Avenue, Concrete Way and Glacier Highway.

Staff recognizes that option #1 is a poor solution to a complicated issue. However, it provides a means to allow the subdivision to proceed while at the same time protecting vehicular safety. At the February 8, 2005 Planning Commission meeting, this option was rejected by a sound majority of the Commissioners. The Planning Commission felt it inappropriate to propose an interim solution that did not have the ability to function in a way that met the users' needs. They felt that the right solution (#2) was identified; it just needed to be implemented. As such, the Commission opted to continue the meeting, to provide staff more time to work out the details of an agreement with ADOT&PF and the Developer.   Such agreement would guarantee for the installation of traffic lights at Davis Avenue, and if necessary, Concrete way; in addition, it would provide for interim measures until the light is constructed, that would allow left hand turns out of Concrete Way onto Glacier Highway, while at the same time protecting public health and safety.   On February 16, 2005, staff and the Developers met with ADOT&PF, to discuss how to proceed with formulating an agreement, it was decided that prior to any written agreement, the developer would fund a traffic analysis for the Davis Avenue , Concrete Way , and Glacier Highway intersections. This traffic analysis would be used to define the scope of the agreement, both the Developer and the ADOT&PF have made verbal commitments to pursue the agreement once the study has been completed. At this point staff is confident that this issue will be resolved prior to final platting. However, in the event of an irreconcilable difference between ADOT&PF and the Developer, staff has recommended a further condition that restricts this subdivision from receiving final plat approval, until such time that developer provides a traffic analysis from a qualified traffic engineer showing that all turning movements out of the proposed subdivision (including left turns out), would not be below a "C" level of service.

 

Pedestrian Access

While it is not expected that this development will generate much pedestrian traffic, new streets in the industrial zoning district, within the Urban Service Boundary require sidewalks on both sides of the street. These sidewalks will run the length of Concrete way to Glacier Highway , thereby providing access to the public transit system.

 

Public Health or Safety  

The proposed project is serviced by public water and sewer.   In addition, the project includes an extension of a new public street, streetlights, and underground utilities.   Therefore, the public health and safety will be fully addressed with completion of the required supporting infrastructure.   

Property Value or Neighborhood Harmony

The proposed subdivision will create lots that are proposed for the uses similar to those on the surrounding lots in the immediate area.     While there are residential uses to the Northwest, they are across Lemon Creek. As such, both the distance and vegetation on the Creek should buffer these uses from the impacts of the proposed project.   Therefore, the proposed project will not negatively impact the neighbor’s property values, or the harmony of the area.

Conformity with Adopted Plans

The request was reviewed for conformity with adopted plans. The Comprehensive Plan designation for this site is Industrial., and therefore the zoning designation   is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

 

JCMP Review

Lemon Creek is a designated anadromous stream and requires certain protection measures.   The CBJ Land Use Code requires a 25-foot “non-disturbance” setback and a 50-foot “non-development” setback from the ordinary water line of Lemon Creek.

Based on the above provision, staff is recommending a note be placed on the plat giving notification of the requirement for a streamside setback.   The practice has not been to show a streamside setback boundary on the plat.   This setback is determined at the time development takes place.   These setback requirements can be modified by amending the ordinance.   In addition, ordinary high water can change over time for a particular parcel.

The Juneau Coastal Management Program requires the restoration of disturbed stream corridors.

  49.70.950 Habitat.

(e)             Each development which adjoins a river or stream which has been degraded by previous human activity shall, as part of its development plan, include provisions for rehabilitation of the stream or river, and shall be approved by the state department of fish and game. Such provisions shall be limited to removal of debris, removal of abandoned machinery and vehicles, grading and stabilization of banks and related clean up activities, and shall include preservation or restoration of riparian vegetation. Restoration shall not be required beyond that needed to return the area to natural appearance and function

Whether by instream mining, or material disposal, this section of Lemon Creek has been highly disturbed over the course of many years. Staff has been working with the Applicants and their Engineers to produce a plan that will be acceptable for agency approval. We have held a series of informational meetings and site visits to facilitate good communications between the interested agencies.

This restoration plan was complicated by the recent completion of a watershed analysis and sediment transport study of Lemon Creek that was commissioned by CBJ and other regulatory agencies. In this study, removal of the bridge, adjacent to lot 9 in the proposed subdivision, is identified as the #1 priority for reducing upstream flood hazards and improving habitat quality. The Wetland Review Board has reviewed an early iteration of the plan, but many changes have been made and further review by the Board will be necessary prior to acceptance of the plan (See Attachment "C").

In the review of previous subdivisions adjacent to Lemon Creek and Anka Street, Fish and Game Department has recommended that a storm drainage plan be submitted and that impervious surfaces be limited to 50 percent of the total area of the subdivision.   Both of these requests deal with concern with runoff from this site into Lemon Creek.   As previously noted, drainage improvements will require the construction of a full storm water drainage system.   This system will include oil/water separators placed ahead of the outfall pipes to Lemon Creek.   In addition, a number of catch basins are placed throughout the drainage system, which provide some additional treatment, if maintained properly.

A condition to limit overall impermeable surfaces to 50% of the total subdivision area would be difficult to implement.   Once subdivided, each lot is developed independently of the other properties. The only section of our current code that deals with this issue is the minimum vegetative cover requirement.   The standard for industrial areas is a minimum 5% vegetative cover.   Industrial areas do not have a maximum for lot coverage.

Conditions of Approval - The CBJ Land Use Code allows the Planning Commission to approve a project with conditions in order to mitigate the impacts of the proposed project.   As such, staff has provided a list of conditions that primarily address the streamside setback, flood plain and access issues of the project.

 

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 25.1 for the Industrial zoning district.

 

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. An advertising notice was provided in the Juneau Empire under Your Municipality .   A public notice sign was posted on site at least 14 days prior to the meeting and notice was mailed to owners of record for all property within 500 feet of the subject property as required.

 

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

No . Subject to noted conditions, we do not believe that proposed development would materially endanger the public health or safety; the public health and safety is fully addressed with the required supporting infrastructure.   

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 previous analysis, the proposed development is in harmony with the scale and use of surrounding industrial properties and is a distance and screened from residential properties and is not anticipated to decrease adjacent property values.

 

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

No.   The proposed development is in general conformity with the Land Use Code based on the analysis section of the CBJ Comprehensive Plan.

 

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

Yes. Based on the above analysis, and following recommendations from the Wetland Review Board, the proposed development substantially complies with the Juneau Coastal Management Plan provided the US Army Corps Permit is approved.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

We recommend that the Planning Commission adopt the Director's analysis and findings and grant the requested Preliminary Plat.   The permit would allow subdivision of USMS 609 Tract 2A and a fraction of USS 204 into 14 lots in an industrial-zoned area along Glacier Highway .   We further recommend that the approval be subject to the following conditions:

 

1.The applicant shall provide a rehabilitation plan for the stream bank consistent with CBJ §49.70.950 (e) including the removal of debris/abandoned machinery/vehicles, grading and stabilization of banks, related clean up activities, the preservation and restoration of riparian vegetation and approval by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Community Development Department. The plan shall be submitted to the Community Development Department for review prior to final plat approval, and completed or bonded for, prior to final plat recording.

2.   The applicant shall provide a plat note indicating the 100-year flood boundary according to The Federal Emergency Management Agency flood insurance program mapping and that development may be subject to development regulations for flood Hazard.   Wording of the plat note is subject to Community Development Department approval.

3.  100-year flood plain shall be identified on the final plat.

4.  The applicant shall provide a plat note on the final plat that advises Lemon Creek is a designated stream corridor and that development may be subject to setback requirements.   The stream setback or ordinary high water boundary should not be indicated on the plat.   Wording of the plat note is subject to Community Development Department approval.

5.  The developer shall submit plans for utility services and drainage.   Any required improvements shall be designed and completed in accordance with the CBJ and other applicable standards and specifications, as determined by the CBJ Engineering Department.

6.   All stormwater from the subject parcel shall be directed away from the adjacent parcels into an appropriate drainage.

7.  The road bed and surface shall be designed to accommodate heavy truck traffic and shall be reviewed, and approved by the CBJ Engineering Department, prior to final platting.

8.  The bridge removal and stream bank restoration adjacent to lot 9 in the proposed subdivision shall be completed or bonded for, prior to Final Plat recording.

9.  All recorded easements on the subject parcels shall be shown on the Final Plat.

10.  Prior to final recording, the plat shall receive a final technical review by the CBJ Engineering Department to ensure the plat is in conformance with required surveying standards.

11.  The developer shall grant the City & Borough of Juneau an easement along the bank of Lemon Creek to complete the rehabilitation plan, and bridge removal in the event the developer does not complete the required improvements in a timely fashion.`

12.  All subdivision improvements must be constructed or bonded for prior to final plat recording.

13.  All intersection improvements between Concrete Way and Glacier Highway must be completed prior to the issuance of any certificates of occupancy within the JRM Subdivision.

14.  Prior to final platting, the developer shall enter into an agreement with ADOT&PF which guarantees for the installation of a traffic light at the Concrete Way and Glacier Highway intersection.   An alternative to this would be a light at the Davis Avenue and Glacier Highway intersection, if it is shown that such an improvement would facilitate left turns out of Concrete Way at a level of service of "C" or better after full build out.   The agreement must provide for interim measures until the light is constructed that would protect public health and safety.

Full PDF Staff Report
Applications
Attachment A
Attachment B
Attachment C

Old Staff report, dated 2/2/05

 
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