DATE: September 26, 2000

TO: Planning Commission

FROM: Heather Marlow,Community Development Department

FILE NO.: MAP2000-00001

PROPOSAL: A zone change from D-18, multi-family residential, to LC, light
commercial,for a portion of the lot located at 9151 James Boulevard.



Applicant: Hugh Grant

Property Owner: Hugh Grant

Property Address: 9151 James Boulevard

Legal Description: A tract of land within U.S. Surveys 381, 1053 and 1284

Parcel Code No.: 5-B16-0-138-001-0

Site Size: 56,846 Square Feet

Zoning: LC, Light Commercial & D-18, Multi-Family Residential

Utilities: CBJ Water and Sewer Services

Access: James Boulevard

Existing Land Use: Outdoor Storage for the Yard Doctor

Surrounding Land Use: North - James Boulevard/Yard Doctor

South - Valley Tesoro Gas Station/Mendenhall Mall Complex

East - Duck Creek/Mendenhall Loop Road

West - D-18 Multi-Family Residential


In conformance with a previous version of the Comprehensive Plan, the light commercial portion of the subject parcel was rezoned, at the request of the property owner, from R-7 to C-1 in 1986. Zoning designations were amended on a boroughwide scale in 1987 and the previous zoning is equivalent, respectively, to current D-5, single-family/duplex residential, and LC, light commerical, zoning designations. A traffic analysis was presented to the Planning Commission for review with the request.

The northern portion of the property, currently zoned D-18, multi-family residential, was designated medium density residential in the 1987 Comprehensive Plan and was zoned RM, garden apartment. The RM zoning designation is equivalent to the current D-15 designation. However, this portion of the site was zoned D-18 in the 1987 boroughwide rezone to conform with the adjacent multi-family zoning designation.

In 1995, the Comprehensive Plan retained the medium density residential land use designation for the northern portion of the subject lot, which allows zoning densities ranging from 7 to 20 units, and changed the southern portion from commercial to a mixed-use designation. A mixed use designation is intended to accommodate retail, office, commercial and densities of 40 units per acre. These uses could be combined within a single building.

A nursery/greenhouse, the Yard Doctor, was developed across from the subject site on the northern corner of James Boulevard in 1984 under the temporary use provisions of the previous Land Use Code. A conditional use permit was issued for the use on that corner parcel in 1986. The subject site, on the southern corner of James Boulevard, is currently used for outdoor storage to support the greenhouse. The current version of the Land Use Code provides in the Table of Permissible Uses, CBJ'49.25.300, Section 19.220, that a non-retail nursery use is permissible with staff approval if the area occupied is less than 5,000 square feet. While staff has not been requested to review the subject site for the current non-retail use, we are unaware of any deleterious impacts.


Zone change requests are addressed in the Land Use Code at CBJ'49.75.110-130 as follows.

49.75.110 INITIATION. A rezoning may be initiated by the director, the commission, or the assembly at any time during the year. A developer or property owner may intiate a request for rezoning in January or July only. Adequate public notice shall be provided by the director to inform the public that a rezoning has been intiated.

The property owner applied for the zone change in the month of July. The director has provided adequate public notice by notifying property owners in excess of a 500 foot radius from the site, requiring a public notice to be placed on-site 14 days prior to the meeting date and advertising in the September 29, 2000 edition of the Juneau Empire.

49.75.120 RESTRICTIONS ON REZONINGS. Rezoning requests covering less than two acres shall not be considered unless the rezoning constitutes an expansion of an existing zone. Rezoning requests which are substantially the same as a rezoning request rejected within the previous twelve months shall not be considered. A rezoning shall not allow uses which violate the land use maps of the comprehensive plan.

The rezoning request is less than two acres but constitutes an expansion of an existing light commercial zone. A similar request has not been heard within the previous twelve months. The request for a rezone applies to a portion of a lot that is designated for medium density residential rather than general commercial in the comprehensive plan. A light commercial zone is typically sited within a general commercial land use designation in the comprehensive plan. The director determines that the requested zone change is not a violation of the land use maps of the comprehensive plan and that the request is appropriate to consider as the subject lot is split by two comprehensive plan land use designations and two zoning designations.

49.75.130 PROCEDURE. A rezoning shall follow the procedure for a major development permit except for the foloowing:

(1) The commission decision for approval shall constitute only a recommendation to the assembly.

(2) As soon as possible after the commission=s recommendation, the assembly shall provide public notice and hold a public hearing on the proposed rezoning.

A rezoning shall be adopted by ordinance, and any conditions thereon shall be contained in the ordinance. Upon adoption of any such ordinance, the director shall cause the official zoning map to be changed in accordance therewith.

As stated above, land use zoning receives direction from the Comprehensive Plan, a document that is updated about every two years. We note that while the current zoning in the Mendenhall Mall vicinity is light commercial, the direction of the comprehensive plan land use maps is to utilize the area for mixed-use, as is indicated by the mixed use designation in the plan. Rezoning additional area that is currently designated in the Plan for medium density residential to light commercial zoning is contrary to the direction and guidance of the Plan in this vicinity. While it may appear more appropriate to zone the entire parcel mixed-use, thus expanding the mixed-use designation of the Plan into an area designated for medium density residential, we note that the subject site is less than two acres and as mixed-use zoning does not abut the property, this would not meet the restrictions on rezoning cited above at CBJ'49.75.120. Further, a larger rezone effort for the adjoining mixed-use designation of the Plan would better facilitate public awareness and desired change rather than a piecemeal approach of smaller pockets.

The applicant has requested a zone change to LC for the northern D-18 portion of the lot. The applicant states that the grant of the request would better facilitate commercial use of the lot as the current Asplit zoning@ and natural features limit development opportunities. In particular, while the lot is 56,846 square feet, 21,950 square feet, or 38%, of the lot is zoned D-18.

Of the remaining 34,896 square feet in the light commercial zone, square feet is occupied by a pond that is part of the Duck Creek system. As Duck Creek is an identified anadromous fish stream, a 50 foot development setback is required from the ordinary high water elevation per CBJ' . Lacking a survey of the stream setback area, an auto-cad generated map indicates that square feet is encumbered by the setback. A portion of the property adjacent to the pond is in a federally mapped flood zone, designated A5. An A5 designation indicates that the area is within a 100 year flood zone and that a base flood elevation has been determined, in this case 30 feet above mean low lower water. Unfortunately the flood zone information is not documented in a manner that can be applied to a computer generated map. Referencing the attached copy of an overlay however, it is apparent that the flood zone occupies an area in excess of the stream setback. We conclude that given the current zoning pattern and the environmental considerations, approximately 7,500 square feet of the current light commercial zone could be utilized. This area is sufficient to accommodate a modest commercial development.

Access to the light commercial area is a separate issue. The siting of the lot provides an opportunity for direct access from James Boulevard or via an easement from adjoining property. The Land Use Code limits access from James Boulevard at CBJ'49.40.230(b)(4). This code site provides that Ano access drive, driveway or other means of ingress or egress shall be located in any residential zone if it provides access to uses other than those permitted in such residential zone.@ There are three residential zoning designations that abut James Boulevard. Each residential zoning district is carried to the centerline of a roadway per CBJ'49.25.110(f). When considering the zone change request, to zone all of the parcel light commercial, CBJ'49.40.230(b)(4) cited above would apply to the entire lot area. Therefore, while the parcel would be designated light commercial, if access were provided from James Boulevard, it could only accommodate D-18 uses.

A variance to the code site above may not be granted as per CBJ'49.20.250(b), Aa variance may vary any requirement or regulation of this title concerning dimensional and other design standards, but not those concerning the use of land or structures, housing density, lot coverage, or those establishing construction standards.@ An access drive, driveway or other means of ingress or egress through a residential zone to a light commercial zone is determined to be a use of land rather than a dimensional or design standard.

We have not been presented with evidence as to whether or not the property owner has attempted to obtain an access easement from surrounding light commercial property owners. We conclude that while the zoning of the property does in fact limit the opportunities for commercial development, the primary limitations actually are access and environmental concerns.

The applicant has offered to prepare a traffic study if desired. Given the discussion above and the array of use intensities that could be developed in light commercial zoning, we determined that the results of a traffic study would not assist the analysis of this request.