DATE: October 4, 2000

TO: Planning Commission

FROM: Heather Marlow, Community Development Department

FILE NO.: MAP1999-00003

PROPOSAL: A zone change from Industrial to D-1 transitional to D-3 residential (D-1(T) D-3) for approximately 18 acres of a 109 acre parcel that abuts Engineer=s Cutoff Road.



Applicant: City and Borough of Juneau

Property Owner: Thomas and Elizabeth File

Property Address: Not Assigned

Legal Description: U.S. Survey 2136

Parcel Code No.: 4-B17-0-116-001-0

Site Size: 109.5 Acres

Zoning: Industrial

Utilities: Public Water

Access: Engineer=s Cutoff Road

Existing Land Use: Vacant

Surrounding Land Use: North - Vacant Industrial

South - Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge

East - Mendenhall Golf Course

West - Undeveloped Rural Reserve and Residential





The applicant submitted a minor subdivision request, SUB1999-00022, in June 1999, to create three new lots for residential development. The subdivision site is U.S. Survey 2136, commonly referred to as the File property or the golf course. The parcel is a 109.5 acre lot that is bordered by the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge and Mendenhall Peninsula. The parcel has frontage on Engineer=s Cutoff Road, Sherwood Lane and an unnamed right-of-way extending south from the west terminus of Crazy Horse Drive. Of these frontages, Engineer=s Cutoff Road is the only developed and/or publicly maintained right-of-way. The parcel is zoned industrial.

The stated purpose for the subdivision was to develop lots for the construction of residential dwellings. In industrial zoning, a residence is identified as a limited, or qualified, permissible use per the Table of Permissible Uses, CBJ'49.25.300, Section 1.110, footnote A. The footnote states, Aa single-family residence is allowed as an owner or caretaker residence that is accessory to an existing permitted use in the Industrial zone.@ The intent of this qualification is to ensure that limited industrial land is utilized foremost for such purpose.

Our analysis of the subdivision determined that while there are site specific concerns with development in the subject area, the appropriate use, or zone, for the land merits review. With the authorization of the property owner, the director initiated the subject zone change request. The area of the request, also referred to as the subject site, is along the west property line of U.S. Survey 2136, between residential development to the west, industrial land to the north and the Refuge to the south (see attachment 1). The area of the rezone is approximately 18 acres.


Land Use Code

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 initiate 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 initiated.


The rezoning was initiated by the director in August 1999. 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 sign 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 rezone request is for an 18 acre expansion of the adjacent D-1(T)D-3 zoning. 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 industrial in the Plan. Residential zoning is not typically sited within an industrial land use designation. The director has determined that the request is appropriate to consider as the subject parcel abuts an area designated and developed for residential use.

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

(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.

Comprehensive Plan-Land Use

The Plan provides the land use designations for the vicinity on the Sub-area 3 map (see attachment 2). The property is designated Industrial. The subject parcel is within the urban service boundary. The area north of the zone change is designated RDR (T) ULDR, or rural dispersed residential transitional to urban low density residential. A transitional, or (T) land use designation denotes the possibility of higher density zoning after public sewer and water are provided to an area. The land immediately to the south, the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge, does not have a land use designation. To the southwest of the Refuge, is land in a RLDR, rural low density residential designation. As the subject portion of the parcel is proximate to other residential land use designations, the request is appropriate for consideration.

The Plan provides guidance and consideration for Sub-area 3 on page 154 (see attachment 3). With respect to this rezone request, we note:

3. Limit density of development in Mendenhall Peninsula in response to proximity of flight paths into Juneau International Airport (JIA).

the JIA Manager, Allan Heese, has provided comments recommending against the rezone request (see attachment 4). Conditions have been recommended if it is the wish of the Commission to forward a recommendation for a rezone to the Assembly. The Plan provides discussion of noise on pages 80-82 (see attachment 5). We note the following on page 81:

The purpose of considering noise in a comprehensive plan and in the regulation of development is not to prevent development but rather to encourage development that is compatible with various noise levels. The objective is to guide noise sensitive land uses away from the noise and to encourage non-sensitive land uses where there is noise. Where this is not possible, measures should be included in development projects to reduce the effects of noise.

The subject area is adjacent to undeveloped and developing industrial property. On page 126 (see attachment 6), the Plan provides policy and guidance to avoid residential land use conflicts related to incompatible noise and other factors associated with higher intensity industrial uses.

POLICY 5.3 It is the policy of the CBJ to minimize conflicts between residential areas and commercial/industrial areas through appropriate land use locational decisions and regulatory measures.

Comprehensive Plan-Natural Resources and Hazards

The zone change request is in the vicinity of several natural resources and a flood hazard, as identified in the Plan. In particular, we note the following:

1. the subject area is bisected from north to south by an identified anadromous fish stream;

2. the area to the east of the Atoe of slope@ for Engineer=s Cutoff Road is identified as a B class wetland;

3. the proposed parcels will utilize on-site waste water disposal in a coastal flood zone that mixes with the wetlands and the stream identified above;

4. the subject area is immediately upstream of a state game refuge; and

5. the subject area is within active and inactive eagle nesting habitat.

In chapter 3 of the Plan, general discussion is provided as background to CBJ policies regarding natural resources and hazards (see attachment 7). We note the following policies and implementing actions.

POLICY 3.1 It is the policy of the CBJ to protect stream corridors and lake shorelines from adverse effects of development and to provide a higher level of protection for non-urban shorelines in public ownership.

Implementing Action:

3.1.4. For all development, continue to require a minimum setback if 50 feet from the ordinary high water mark of all stream corridors and lake shores listed in Appendix B.

POLICY 3.2 It is the policy of the CBJ to protect high-value wetlands from adverse effects of development through land use management and to sponsor or particiapte in efforts to enhance or restore the environmental values of Juneau=s wetlands.

POLICY 3.3 It is the policy of the CBJ to protect, maintain and improve surface water, groundwater and marine water quality in its jurisdiction so that waters are in compliance with the State of Alaska water quality standards.

POLICY 3.6 It is the policy of the CBJ to preserve and protect a diversity of fish and wildlife habitat throughout the CBJ.


Implementing Action:

3.6.1. Recognize fish and wildlife habitats, streams and wetlands as important land uses during the planning process. Include protection of important fish and wildlife habitats in CIP and land use planning.

POLICY 3.8 It is the policy of the CBJ to protect areas surrounding identified eagle nests from conflicting land uses.

Implementing Actions:

3.8.3. Consider open space or low density land use designations where eagle nest concentrations are particularly high.

3.8.4. On private lands, any siting of structures and roads and cutting of old growth trees within the 330-foot buffer zone around eagle nests will be done in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. A maximum number of old growth trees will be retained in the buffer zone.

3.8.6. Private land within the eagle management radius will be subdivided into large lots, the largest of which will contain the nest tree. Roads will be located as far from the nest as possible, preferably landward from the nest tree. Low density residential or open space uses will be encouraged. These requirements will be expressed as a note on the approved plat.

POLICY 3.12 It is the policy of the CBJ to prohibit residential, commercial and industrial development in floodways, to regulate development in floodplains, and maintain a program of education, assistance, and information in order to maintain eligibility for the National Flood Insurance Program for the benefit of local homeowners and the lending industry.

Development Proposal

We have submitted the subdivision request to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corp of Engineers and State of Alaska, Department of Fish and Game for comments (see attachment 8). We note that for the subject area, each agency has review and permit procedures for grading, fill and construction development. Depending upon the specifics of a development proposal, agency permitting may be obtainable. An active eagle nest, nest #26, adjacent to Lot 2 and the road, was occupied by a pair of eagles in 1999.

To address the policies above, the applicant has prepared an overlay of surveyed natural features and identified a potential development scenario to mitigate impacts to the environment (see attachment 9). To address flood zone, wetland fill and stream side setback considerations, the applicant proposes pile construction for residential and parking area foundation supports. Back out parking is proposed on pads adjacent to the road. The minimum elevation of the lowest horizontal support member would be above the 23 foot flood elevation.

To protect the water quality of the stream, wetlands and refuge from fecal contamination, a non-point source pollutant, the applicant proposes that an on-site wastewater disposal analysis for each lot, in conformance with the requirements of the State of Alaska, be performed and endorsed by a professional civil engineer. With development on a lot by lot basis, property owners would be required to construct and maintain a disposal system.

Through building and grading permit reviews, the Community Development Department can coordinate with U.S. Fish and Wildlife personnel to determine the Ato date@ eagle nesting activity in the vicinity. Habitat protection including buffering, retention of preferred trees and the timing of development will be reviewed. Property owners would be notified of the presence of eagle nest habitat and the requirement to coordinate with agency personnel by a plat note on the subdivision.


The parcel has approximately 1,200 feet of frontage on Engineer=s Cutoff Road. The road is a state facility and is identified by the State of Alaska, Department of Transportation (DOT) as an urban collector. With respect to subdivisions, the CBJ Land Use Code provides direction for access to collector streets.

CBJ'49.40.140 Collector Streets. If a tract fronting on a major road for a distance of five hundred feet or more with an average depth from the major road of more than three hundred fifty feet is to be subdivided, the commission shall require all residential lots adjoining the road to be provided with frontage on a secondary or interior street.

A street is defined in CBJ'49.80, Definitions, as Athe entire right-of-way of a public way which affords the principal means of access to properties abutting the right-of-way@.

Dependant upon further subdivision review, and DOT comments, CBJ'49.40.140 will be reviewed for applicability. A determination will be made as to whether Engineer=s Cutoff Road is a major or minor road. The applicant may or may not be able to proceed with the subdivision as generally proposed. A rough driveway has been partially constructed along the toe of the slope, parallel to Engineer=s Cutoff Road. The driveway approach to the road is developed with a steep corner and limited sight distance. The driveway does not appear to be suitable for winter access.

In compliance with 49.15.460(5)(B), a new right-of-way dedicated as a part of a plat shall meet the requirements for rights-of-way set out in Chapter 49.35. The provisions of Chapter 49.35 identify grade and width requirements that, due to these site conditions, if feasible, would be expensive to construct and require a large area of on-site clearing and fill to meet.

The applicant proposes the development of back out pad parking along Engineer=s Cutoff Road for each lot. While this may be feasible, we note that the cost will be considerable, sight distance may be an issue and the required parking for each lot must be entirely on-site. Lots 3 and 4 indicate a significant portion of the pad within the right-of-way. This parking proposal conflicts with the requirement of a secondary or frontage road if applicable.


The proposed zone change creates an opportunity for residential development. Any D-1 area greater than 72,000 square feet allows two detached dwellings without subdivision. Any D-1 area greater than 54,000 square feet allows duplex construction. By simply changing the zoning to D-1(T)D-3, two residential dwellings may be built in the subject area. With residential zoning comes an opportunity to request residential subdivision. In this case, each of the lots purposed would also provide enough area to allow two dwellings each.

The applicant has proposed large lots to minimize the development exposure in the immediate area. A subdivision with more and smaller lots can be proposed in the subject area under the existing industrial zoning or in the proposed residential zoning. The applicant purposes piling construction to verify that a buildable site is provided on each lot and to minimize impacts to the site. This type of construction may or may not be required by other agencies.

The original industrial parcel is developed with a golf course. Additional land use opportunities on the parcel may be permissible as a large portion, directly to the west of the golf course, is undeveloped. We note that this area contains fewer and/or less sensitive areas than the subject zone change area and has a better opportunity for on-site circulation and right-of-way access.

Rezoning the west portion residential, opens an additional development opportunity for the parcel. Given the identified natural resources and flood hazard, the CBJ Plan policies cited herein and the existing opportunity for further development in less sensitive areas on the original parcel, our analysis concludes that the rezone unnecessarily focuses development potential to a sensitive area that otherwise presents limited opportunity to be developed with a subdivision or land use. Further, rezoning additional residential area adjacent to an industrial zone and below a small wing/helicopter flight path exacerbates the potential for future noise and compatability conflicts.


The provisions of the Juneau Coastal Management Plan do not apply to the subject rezone request. Provisions addressing high value wetlands, stream setbacks, habitat and flood zones would typically apply to development associated with a subdivision, building or grading request. A copy of the wetlands mapping for the area is provided (see attachment 10).


After review of the application materials, the CBJ Land Use Code and the CBJ Comprehensive Plan the director makes the following findings:

1. The request meets the submittal requirements and rezoning initiation, restriction and procedural requirements of the CBJ Land Use Code.

2. The rezone facilitates an opportunity for sudivision that otherwise would not likely be proposed under Industrial zoning. Development in the subject area may be feasible dependent upon the specifics of individual proposals and the determination of access requirements. The potential for development is limited, physically and with time periods, by natural features, natural resources and expense.

3. The orginal parcel, zoned Industrial, presents opportunity for additional development on land that contains fewer and/or less sensitive areas than the vicinity of the zone change. Development on the original parcel, other than the zone change area, is provided a better opportunity for on-site circulation and access.

4. The requested rezone exacerbates the potential for conflict between residential and industrial uses and with aircraft noise.

5. The requested rezone does not support the stewardship intent of the natural resource policies of the Comprehensive Plan. 


We recommend that the Planning Commission adopt the director=s analysis and findings and deny the request to change the zoning of the subject portion of the parcel from Industrial to

D-1(T)D-3, single-family/duplex residential.