DATE: September 13, 2000

TO: Planning Commission

FROM: Katharine Heumann, Planner
Community Development Department

FILE NO.: USE2000-00060- Conditional Use

PROPOSAL: A Conditional Use permit for operation of mobile asphalt plant in the lower West Mendenhall Valley near the end of Crazy Horse Drive

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant: Montana Creek Development, Inc.

Property Owner: Don Madsen - D & M Rentals

Property Address: Curtis Avenue

Legal Description: Sherwood Estates, Block D Lot 1A, U.S.S. 1041

Parcel Code Number: 4-B17-0-110-007-0

Site Size: 2.45 Acres

Zoning: I, Industrial

Utilities: CBJ Water and On-Site Sewer

Access: Crazy Horse Drive

Existing Land Use: Contractor’s Storage Yard

Surrounding Land Use: North - CBJ - vacant

South - Contractor Storage, Industrial

East - Vacant, Industrial

West - Vacant, Industrial

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant requests a Conditional Use permit for the development of an asphalt plant on Lot 1A, Block D Sherwood Estates Subdivision at the end of Crazy Horse Drive.

The asphalt plant consists of the batch mixing plant itself, storage hopper, conveyors, wetwash and dryer, aggregate stockpiles, asphalt storage tanks, fuel storage tanks and associated operational equipment. The hours of operation are scheduled to be 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. during the paving season. The season typically is a period from April 1 to October 31, but may begin earlier and extend later in the year dependent upon weather. However, the plant operates only on an as needed basis and is somewhat weather dependent as well.

BACKGROUND

The CBJ Land Use Code under Section 49.25.300 - 4.100 requires a Conditional Use permit for development of an asphalt plant in an industrial zoning district.

In the Industrial zone an asphalt plant is a Conditional Use. A conditional use is one that may or may not be considered appropriate in a particular zone. It is dependent on the particular features and design and operation of the use. In addition, it is dependent on the particular location of the proposed use. The following elements are considered when evaluating an application for a conditional use permit:

  1. Effect of public health and safety;
  2. Effect on property values and whether the project is in harmony with other uses in the neighborhood;
  3. Conformity with the CBJ Comprehensive Plan and other adopted land use and transportation plans.

Additionally, conditions may be placed on the project in order to meet the approval criteria.

The applicant had previously applied for a Conditional Use permit to operate the asphalt plant at the location of his gravel pit in the West Mendenhall Valley off the Montana Creek Road. This plant was to be used at this location on a temporary basis while pursuing a permanent site. The primary purpose for locating the plant at this site was to facilitate the paving of streets in the Montana Creek Subdivision Development and other small projects. However, the Land Use Code would only allow a very limited use of the asphalt plant in a residentially zoned area. The applicant began searching for a site for a long-term use of the plant in an Industrial zone. The original permit request for the Montana Creek Road site was withdrawn.

On July 19, 2000 the applicant received approval from the Planning Commission to operate an asphalt plant on Industrial Boulevard in Riverview Commercial Subdivision II (USE2000-00047). Subsequently, the arrangement to lease the property for that plant fell through and this alternative site on Curtis Avenue was identified.

ANALYSIS

Project Site - The proposed site is 2.45 acres in Sherwood Estates at the end of Crazy Horse Drive. The access to the site from Crazy Horse Drive is a driveway as the Curtis Avenue right-of-way has never been constructed. This parcel is zoned I, Industrial. The property is currently used as a contractor’s storage yard. There is an anadromous stream catalogued by ADF&G (111-50-10490) running across the corner of the northwest corner of the property which then veers away from the property. A 50-foot streamside setback and 25 foot no-disturb zone is required for this stream. The applicant has proposed several additional methods of assuring that the stream is not impacted:

  1. The site will be graded away from the stream.
  2. A berm will be in place on the north side of the site as shown on the site plan.
  3. All runoff will be directed along a hydroseeded drainage swale to a vegetated swale area on the south side of the lot.

Traffic - The project, as described by the applicant, is a low intensity operation. The applicant projects a daily maximum of 10 truck-loads resulting in 20 trips per day. This proposed plant has approximately a third the capacity of the existing asphalt plant operation in the Lemon

Creek area. This figure may be somewhat low during the completion of an actual paving project. However, in discussions with DOT/PF there does not appear to be a specific problem with the addition of traffic to Industrial Boulevard. This particular low impact proposal would not be enough to generate a traffic impact study at this time; however, the cumulative effect of traffic from this whole industrial area is causing DOT/PF to monitor the intersection of Industrial Boulevard and Glacier Highway. An upgrade of the section of the highway between Jensine Street and Riverside Drive north is being planned and it is likely that Industrial will be signalized within the next five years.

Parking and Circulation – The nature of this facility will pose very little or no parking demand. Employees have adequate parking available in the surrounding site. Traffic will be generated by trucks hauling aggregate into, and asphalt concrete out of the site to projects around the CBJ. Trucks have adequate parking available in the event there is a need to accommodate them.

Noise – The proposed asphalt plant, like many industrial manufacturing facilities, will create a variety of noises. Asphalt plants typically emit noise from aggregate loading into the batch plant, dryer blower, generator, truck loading, hydraulic gates and other associated operations. The noises emitted from the plant should not be extraordinary for an industrial location and are not anticipated to exceed the 70 dba standard, however specific dba’s are not available.

The proposed hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, which are somewhat less than usual for this type of use in a similar location. In addition, Title 4 CBJ Administrative Code, Part 4, Chapter 50 provides for additional performance standards, including noise, for industrial uses (see Performance Standard attachment). Specifically, where an industrial use adjoins a residential district, the volume measured at the boundary line shall not exceed 70 dba’s during the day. The dba’s for this plant are not available at this time.

Environmental Impacts - Air quality is reviewed for an asphalt plant operation. The emissions from asphalt plants are regulated by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). This particular plant is permitted and the Air Quality permit is attached (See Attachment B). Discussion with ADEC personnel regarding the emissions reveal that research models show that the odors from emissions of this type of plant beyond 300 feet are indiscernable and not harmful. These models include wind variations such as those that blow the emission directly toward the receiver. The nearest residence is located on a property approximately 500 feet away. The residents on Engineers Cutoff are 1000+ feet from the property line of the project site.

An additional issue for consideration is off-site runoff. The asphalt plant contains a wet wash unit, which is self-contained recycling circulating system, so no water is actually dispersed in to the ground. The only water by-product of the plant is steam. A drainage plan has been proposed which addresses storm-water drainage on the site. A berm on the stream-side of the property is planned, as well as a drainage swale directing stormwater away from the stream (see Attachment C). This plan has been reviewed and approved by ADEC and ADF&G agency representatives. There will be various oils and fuels kept on the site and the applicant is aware of the spill prevention procedure as recommended by ADEC. Staff is recommending that appropriate signage directing employees as to spill contamination procedures shall be approved by CBJ staff and placed on site prior to operation. As well, staff is recommending that as much vegetation remain on the site as possible. The applicant is required to maintain the drainage and support the hydroseeding of the swale.

Exterior Lighting – No exterior lighting is proposed for this project.

Public Health or Safety - As discussed above environmental impacts from the operation of the plant will be mitigated by other agency controls and conditions of the permit.

This proposal was presented to the FAA for their determination as to their height standards for safety. As of this writing, a determination has not been received.

This proposal was presented to the Fire Marshall for conformance with the Uniform Fire Code. It was the opinion of the Fire Marshall that the operation as presented will meet code. However, he has requested an on-site inspection to insure all equipment will meet code prior to start-up.

Length of Permit – In accordance with the intentions of the developer, if approved, staff is recommending the length of the permit be for 5 years.

Property Value or Neighborhood Harmony – Although this site is not directly adjacent to a residential zoning district, residences are located in the immediate vicinity. The distance from the property line of the site to the property line of the nearest residence is approximately 500 feet. Residents along Engineers Cutoff have expressed concerns about noise and air quality impacts to their property. An air quality permit has been obtained from ADEC for the plant.

With regard to harmony with neighboring properties, we have reviewed the external impacts of the project and have heard from a number of neighbors who have submitted testimony as to why they view the asphalt plant as out of harmony with their properties. Considering that residential zoning districts are established to "provide a healthy, safe and pleasant environment for residential living protected from incompatible and disruptive activities", we give considerable deference to the nearby neighbors who are well qualified to determine if an asphalt plant is out of harmony with their properties.

A large-scale asphalt plant near a residential neighborhood would certainly be considered out of harmony with the neighboring area. The applicant acknowledges the possible inharmonious aspects of his plant and has voluntarily reduced the operating hours of the operation.

As well, a golf course is located to the south of this property and has been present for about 15 years. The property of the proposed site and the golf course have been zoned Industrial since 1969. The possibility of industrial uses taking place on adjoining properties should be a consideration in locating a residence or other use near an industrially zoned area.

The Land Use Code recognizes that although Industrial zones are intended to accommodate industrial activity including manufacturing, processing, repairing and assembling goods; there are negative impacts inherent in some of those activities and thus performance standards are applied. (Title 4 CBJ Administrative Code, Part 4, Chapter 50 provides for performance standards for noise, lighting, and odors. (See attachment D) If approved, a condition should be placed on the permit to locate the stockpile are on the western portion of the lot to act as a visual and noise buffer.

Conformity With Adopted Plans - It appears that the facility is in conformance with all officially adopted plans of the CBJ. The comprehensive plan for the CBJ designates this site I, Industrial.

The following relevant section of the Comprehensive Plan deals with compatible uses:

  • A major concern expressed by citizens of Juneau is the need to protect the character of existing neighborhoods from incompatible uses. Their primary concern is to minimize the intrusion of heavy traffic on neighborhood streets and avoid conflicts related to incompatible design, noise, and other factors associated with higher intensity 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.

    While the Industrial property in the area has been identified as potentially suitable for a use such as the asphalt plant in question, the proximity to residences necessitates project mitigation. The proposed operating hours are minimized however, it is not clear that the emissions and noise meet our performance standards. It will be the burden of the applicant to substantiate this compliance.

    Juneau Coastal Management Program -The proposed development was reviewed for compliance with CBJ '49.70.900, the Juneau Coastal Management Program. The analysis reveals the provision of the plan that calls for protection of anadromous fish streams and wetlands in the operation of industrial facilities. Conditions were developed by staff and ADF&G and are being placed on the permit to address runoff. In addition, conditions are being placed to prevent fuel spills and to insure clean up.

    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 '49.15.330 (e)(1)(A thru 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 a full review of the proposed operations. The application submittal by the applicant, including the appropriate fees, substantially conform to the requirements of CBJ code Chapters 49.15.

    2. Is the proposed use appropriate according to the Table of Permissible Uses?

    The proposed use is appropriate according to the Table of Permissible Uses. The use is listed at CBJ ' 49.25.300, category 4.100 for the I, 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.

  • Notice was provided in the Juneau Empire under Your Municipality which ran on

    September 15, 2000. A public notice sign was posted on the site at least 14 days prior to the meeting and notice was mailed to owners of record of all property within 500 feet of the subject property.

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

    Yes. Based on the preceding analysis, it is found that the proposed development could materially endanger the public health or safety. As discussed in the analysis section noise and pollution from the operation of the plants will be mitigated by the agency controls and conditions of the permit, however, the effect of the vapor plume on the neighboring Airport property is unclear.

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

    Yes. Based on the preceding analysis, we are not able to determine that the proposed development will not substantially decrease the value of, or be out of harmony with, property in the neighboring area. Information available does not guarantee a determination of harmony with the neighboring properties as the noise impact is still an unknown.

    1. Will the proposed development be in general conformity with the land use plan, thoroughfare plan, or other officially adopted plans?
    2. Yes. The officially adopted plan which is relevant to this project is the Comprehensive Plan. The area is designated for industrial use and relevant citations from the Comprehensive plan are provided under the analysis section. This proposal conforms to these plan sections.
    3. Will the proposed development comply with the Juneau Coastal Management Program?
  • Yes. It complies with the 49.70.950, the Habitat section of the ACMP which call for protection of anadromous fish streams and wetlands. Conditions are being placed on the permit to treat run off or the run off will be treated with existing facilities. In addition, conditions are being placed to prevent fuel spills and to insure clean up.
  • RECOMMENDATION

    We recommend that the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and deny the requested Conditional Use permit. If the Planning Commission finds that approval can be made, staff recommends the following conditions be a part of the permit:

    1. That the term of the permit shall be for 5 years.
    2. Months of operation will be from April to October and hours of operation will be limited
    3. to 7 AM to 7PM Monday through Saturday.
    4. That the applicant place adequate signage on-site informing the operators of the procedures in case of a fuel spill. The signage is to be approved by the Community Development Department prior to operation.
    5. That the applicant obtain an inspection from the CBJ Fire Marshall to insure all equipment will meet the requirements of the 1997 Uniform Fire Code, prior to start-up.
    6. A berm shall be installed along the east side (as shown on the site plan) of the property to insure run-off will be directed away from the stream. As well, the site will be graded and a drainage swale designed to direct run-off to the west end of the site. This drainage swale will be hydroseeded.
    7. The asphalt plant shall be developed and operated in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local environmental, health and safety standards including spill prevention, notification, and clean up.
    8. The applicant shall operate the asphalt plant in conformance with all provisions of Chapter 50 of Title 4, CBJ Administrative code. Noise levels shall be maintained below those required in this title and are the responsibility of the applicant.
    9. Existing vegetation shall remain on the site to the extent practicable.
    10. The applicant shall locate the plant furthest from residences to the west, and place the stockpile area between the plant and the residential area.
    11. Operation will not be allowed during Air Alert days as declared by CBJ City Manager.