DATE: October 2, 2000

TO: Planning Commission

FROM: Katharine Heumann, Planner
Community Development Department

FILE NO.: USE2000-00064- Conditional Use

PROPOSAL: A Conditional Use permit for a 12 unit hotel in the WC, waterfront commercial zone.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant: Juneau Hotel Properties

Property Owner: Juneau Hotel Properties.

Property Address: W. 9th Street

Legal Description: Lot 10A, Block 58, Tidelands Addition

Parcel Code Number: 1-C06-0-K58-005-5

Site Size: 5,165 Square Feet

Zoning: WC, Waterfront Commercial

Utilities: CBJ Water and Sewer Services

Access: 9th Street

Existing Land Use: vacant

Surrounding Land Use: North - Juneau-Douglas Bridge

South - Commercial Office

East - Vacant and Single-Family Residential

& Commercial Office

West - City Shop

 

 

 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant is requesting a Conditional Use permit for the development of a 12-unit hotel on a 5,165 square foot lot in the waterfront commercial zone. It will be accessed by way of West Ninth Street (see Attachment A). The structure will be a three-floor wood frame building with a height of 35 feet above grade and guest parking to the side of the hotel (see Attachment B). All of the proposed units appear to be typical hotel rooms and are one bedroom, the same size and will be furnished the same. The hotel lobby will likely be equipped with a service counter and phone switching system, and would appear to operate similar to other hotels in the Juneau area.

The 12-unit hotel is on the north side of West Ninth Street and west of a previously approved 66-unit business hotel (CU-09-95) that was originally approved on April 18, 1995, and again on May 27, 1997 (USE97-00032), after the original permit had expired. That proposal fronted on the approach to the Juneau-Douglas Bridge and was also to be accessed off West Ninth Street. In review of the record it appeared that traffic, parking, and the definition of a hotel were items that were addressed in length before approval. The project was never constructed and the permits have expired.

Then, in August, 1999 a Conditional Use Permit was issued for a 12-unit hotel on the opposite side of 9th Street on Lot ????? and this one was

BACKGROUND

The CBJ Land Use Codes definition of a hotel which is as follows:

Ahotel@ means building offering transient lodging accommodations to the general public and which may provide additional services such as restaurants, meeting rooms, or recreational facilities.

The proposal clearly meets the first part of the definition of a hotel in that it provides accommodations to the general public. However, key to the rest of definition is the word Amay@ when it comes to providing the additional services such as restaurants, meeting rooms, etc. The word Amay@ is not mandatory like the word Ashall@ which requires the applicant to provide those services. Therefore, it is at the discretion of the applicant to provide those services. Thus, the proposal meets the entire definition of a hotel.

ANALYSIS

The Comprehensive Plan designation for the site is WC, Waterfront Commercial (see Attachment C). The Waterfront Commercial designation states:

Land is to be used primarily for waterfront dependent and water-related commercial uses and, in special cases, for water-related mixed uses including hotel and residential uses.

In addition, the site is located adjacent to GC, General Commercial Designation that is defined:

Land for retail uses, including neighborhood retail and community commercial, such as shopping centers, mixed retail/residential/ residential/office uses, especially in downtown Juneau and Douglas, and office use, including leased government office space.

In addition, Policy 5.9 of the Comprehensive Plan states:

AIt is the policy of the CBJ to designate and reserve waterfront land with adequate services and in appropriate locations for water-dependent or related commercial/industrial activities while protecting important wildlife, habitat, and other coastal resources."

Based on the designations and the above policy the project appears to be in general conformance with the Comprehensive Plan.

Zoning

As previously stated, the zoning for this proposal and the surrounding area up to Egan Drive is WC, Waterfront Commercial District (see Attachment D). This zoning is intended to provide both land and water space for uses which are directly related to or dependent upon a marine environment. Such activities include private boating, commercial freight and passenger traffic, commercial fishing, float plane operations, and retail services directly linked to a maritime clientele. Other uses may be permitted if water dependent or water-oriented. Since the proposed hotel will have a view of the Channel and will likely offer its services to the maritime related clientele in the area it can be concluded that the proposed project is in conformance with the waterfront commercial zoning.

Land Use

In review of the surrounding land use, the site is bound to the north by the Juneau-Douglas Bridge, to the west by the CBJ automotive shop, to the east by vacant lots that had previously received approval for a hotel and some older residential units, and to the south by the State Department of Labor and Fish and Game Departments for which employee parking is located adjacent to the proposed hotel.

It appears that the proposed development would be compatible with the surrounding land use. While the proposed use is somewhat compatible with the City shop, the shop over time is likely to be relocated to a more central location in the CBJ. This relocation would likely open this prime waterfront parcel up to a higher and better use that would be more in line with the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning designation of the site. In addition, it is reasonable to assume that a hotel would be compatible with the residential uses along Egan Drive, and compatible with future commercial uses that will likely replace the residential uses in the area as it redevelops over time due to its key location along the Egan Drive, The Juneau-Douglas Bridge, and the Waterfront.

Project Site -

The proposed site is level and vacant except for some contractors storage items, and appears to be capable of physically supporting the proposed use.

 

Project Design -

As indicated by the conceptual building and site plans, the applicant makes the maximum use of the site and proposes as many units as possible considering the parking requirements. However, the hotel as proposed appears to meet the applicable development codes and has been conceptually reviewed by the Building Department and Engineering Departments.

Traffic - The site may be accessed by taking a right turn only onto West Ninth Street from east bound Egan Drive. West Ninth is a 60-foot public right-of-way that is both paved and gravel and without curb, gutter or sidewalk. In addition, the site may also be accessed informally (without easements) by way of West Eighth Street from Egan Drive which is also a public right-of-way that is fully paved but without curb, gutter, or sidewalk and reflects the characteristics of a parking lot road. Over time, as this area redevelops, the access from West Eighth will disappear unless an easement is secured.

Parking and Circulation -

Comments from CBJ Public Works Director Ernie Mueller are attached and indicate the limited and awkward access to this site and the presence of the CBJ heavy equipment and trucks in the area. The applicant has been made aware of these comments.

As previously mentioned, the Planning Commission previously approved a 66-unit hotel adjacent to this proposal that was to be accessed in the same manner. In that case the Commission relied on and accepted a traffic study prepared by Roger W. Allington, P.E., that concluded that Athe construction and operation of the proposed hotel on Ninth Street, west of Egan Drive, will have minimal traffic impacts on the public. These impacts may not even be discernible.@ (see Attachment) E). That project was not constructed nor has there been any other projects approved in this area that would change the conditions or conclusions of that report. Therefore, it can be concluded that the currently proposed project ( the 12-unit hotel) will have no adverse traffic impacts.

Noise - The parking requirement for this proposal is as follows:

For a hotel: 1 - 8.5' x 17' space per four units or 3 spaces

1 - ADA approved van-accessible space

The applicant has shown the required spaces and would be in compliance with the code. Traffic circulation on the site is minimal and appears to be adequate causing little or no congestion nor safety hazards to pedestrians or vehicles transiting the parking lot.

Public Health or Safety - Staff has no evidence that the development, as proposed, would jeopardize the public health or safety.

Property Value or Neighborhood Harmony -- No evidence has been found that would indicate the proposed development would be out of harmony with the surrounding neighborhood, nor negatively impact the adjacent property values. The current use of the area is predominantly commercial and/or office.

 

Conformity With Adopted Plans

No evidence has been found that would indicate the proposed development would be out of harmony with the surrounding neighborhood or negatively impact the adjacent property values. The current use of the area is predominantly commercial and/or office.

Juneau Coastal Management Program

The proposed development was reviewed for compliance with CBJ 49.70.900, the Juneau Coastal Management Program. The analysis reveals that hotels can be located in a waterfront zone providing they are water dependent or water related. This development is located upland from the waterfront, however, the views of the Gastineau Channel afforded by the location substantially meet the criteria for Awater-related".  

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?

Yes. The proposed use is appropriate according to the Table of Permissible Uses. The use is listed at CBJ 49.25.300, Section 1.620, for the 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 29, 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?

No. Based on the preceding staff analysis, no evidence is found to indicate that the proposed development will endanger the public health or safety. Supporting the statement is the fact that the CBJ had previously approved a similar Conditional Use permit for 66-unit hotel just to the north of the site that was never constructed and since then the permits expired. In that case traffic for the hotel was an issue that was addressed in length before approval. Therefore, it can be concluded that since the prior hotel was 66-units, and it was never constructed, that a 12-unit hotel would not materially endanger the public health or safety.

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

Based on the preceding staff analysis, no evidence is found to indicate that the proposed development will substantially decrease the value of or be out of harmony with the property in the neighborhood. In fact, the neighboring properties may see increased values from this development as this project may be the key to redevelopment of this area from a mixed use of older office, public and residential uses to new waterfront commercial uses.

6. Will the proposed development be in general conformity with the land use plan, thoroughfare plan, or other officially adopted plans?

Based on preceding staff analysis, it is found that the proposed development is in general conformity with the land use plan.

 

 

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

Based on the preceding staff analysis, it is determined that the proposed development will be in substantial conformance and is consistent with the Juneau Coastal Management Program. Hotel are considered Awater related@ of they are designed to take advantage of the shoreline amenity and will result in increased visual access to the shoreline. The proposed hotel is three levels and has been designed so that each room on the second and third levels will have a view of the shoreline.

RECOMMENDATION

We recommend that the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and grant the requested Conditional Use permit. The permit would allow the development of a 12-unit hotel at 1255 West Ninth Street. The approval is subject to the following conditions:

1. The Applicant shall submit a revised site plan indicating the exact area in square feet that will have vegetative cover upon application for a building permit.