DATE:         November 7, 2001

TO:              Planning Commission

FROM:       Tim Maguire, Planner
                    Community Development Department

FILE NO.: SUB2001-00034


PROPOSAL:
RSH Subdivision III, a Preliminary Plat to create 32 lots from 3 existing lots, Lots 1,2A, and 3, RSH Subdivision II, in the Lemon Creek area.


GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant:                         Aniakchak, Inc.

Property Owner:              Aniakchak, Inc.

Property Address:           1810 Anka Street

Parcel Code No.:            5-B12-0-131-001-0, 002-0, & 003-1

Site Size:                         15.47 Acres

Zoning:                            I - Industrial

Access:                          Anka Street

Utilities:                         Water & Sewer

Existing Land Use:        Contractors Workshop, Storage/Industrial Building, Vacant

Surrounding Land Use: North – Lemon Creek
                                    South – Various industrial and commercial uses
                                    East - Haul road and scales, Gravel Extraction
                                    West - Various industrial and commercial uses


BACKGROUND


PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND BACKGROUND

The proposal is to subdivide Lots 1, 2A and 3 into 32 lots ranging in lot size from 2,838 square feet to 23,500 square feet to be called R.S.H Subdivision III. The subdivision is to be accessed off an extension of Anka Street and Ralph’s Way. The total area encompassed by the proposed 32 lots is about 15.47 acres.

The request was presented to the Subdivision Review Committee on November 5, 2001, where the Committee reviewed the project for compliance with the CBJ Land Use Code, Title 49. Items of discussion at that meeting included access, buildable lots, streamside setback plat notes, provision of utilities, parking requirements, and stormwater runoff. The result of the meeting was an understanding that these issues were substantially resolved, or could be resolved, and that the preliminary plat could be brought forward for review by the Planning Commission. The issues that were discussed at this meeting are addressed below in the analysis section.

Agency and staff review - As part of the subdivision review process the project was routed to various Federal, State and CBJ departments for review (See Attachment E).


ANALYSIS

Lot size and frontage - Most of the site is relatively flat with approximate grades of 5 to 10 percent, except those areas along Lemon Creek were the lots drop steeply along the bank of Lemon Creek. As indicated above, the applicant is proposing 32 lots ranging in size from size 2,838 square feet to 23,500 square feet . The numerous small lots are 37 feet in lot width. The Industrial zone requires lots to be a minimum lot size of 2,000 square feet and 20 feet in lot width.

The Industrial zone also requires a minimum property line setback of 10 feet. As can be seen a 20 foot wide lot that meets the minimum setback requirement would create lots with no feasible buildable area. The intent of these dimensional standards is to allow narrow lots to be platted and when specific development plans are put together the appropriate number of lots can be sold to accommodate the proposal without requiring further subdivision.

Many of the lots proposed in this subdivision also have limited width, but exceed the minimum requirement of 20 feet. The applicant indicated these lots could also be consolidated into larger lots depending on the development proposed, but also wants the option for developing them separately.

Staff did have concern with the lots at the east end of the site where lot depth narrows between the roadway and Lemon Creek. Although all lots exceed the minimum lot depth requirement of 60 feet, the required 50-foot streamside setback, and 10-foot building setbacks, will leave no practical building sites. The concern is that subdividing this area will create lots that cannot be developed unless variances are granted to the required setbacks. Staff has recommended that Lots 18 through 21 be consolidated to provide a minimal building site. The applicant has agreed to this plat revision.

This code allowance for narrow lots also raises issues with the provision of utilities that will be discussed later.

Existing Land Use - The site has been heavily mined in the past. As such, the site is relatively level and clear of vegetation except a small strip along the waterfront. There is an existing shop building for RSH Company on proposed Lot 23. The new lot lines have been configured to allow the buildings to meet CBJ setback standards.

Also, there are storage/industrial condominiums on proposed Lot 9. The Planning Commission recently approved an allowable use permit to expand this building to 8,000 square (See Attachment F). One of the conditions of approval is that a parking plan be submitted which would preclude the parking for this building from backing out onto the existing roadway. This condition will require reconfiguration of the latest parking layout to accommodate interior parking circulation. The current lot dimensions may need to be adjusted to accommodate a revised parking layout or a long-term easement provided.

Access – As noted above, one of the major concerns with the previous preliminary plat submittal was access. In particular, how could future access to the adjoining properties to the east, and connection to Ralph Way could be accommodated. The issues of access, for the most part, have been resolved with the construction of the roadway improvements and the proposed dedication of Anka Street, and the connection to Ralph’s Way, as public right of ways.

One remaining access concern with this preliminary plat is the need to extend public road access to the adjoining properties to the east, up Lemon Creek Valley . The CBJ does have an easement to the proposed terminus of Anka and Ralph’s Way, but dedication as a public road would make sense at this time. Staff recommends that the Anka Street right of way be extended to the eastern boundary. The construction of the roadway within the right of way can be waived by the Planning Commission. This procedure is discussed in more detail under Preliminary Plat Approval.

Drainage - 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.

As noted above, the majority of the required subdivision improvements have already been constructed. These improvements include a full storm water drainage system. The majority of drainage in the subdivision will be directed to the roadway into catch basins and then outfall to Lemon Creek. There will be drainage on the back portion of the lots that will not enter into this storm drainage system. The drainage from the back of lots that boarder Lemon Creek will flow directly in to the Creek. The drainage from the back of the lots on the other side of the street may need some additional improvements (ditching etc.) to cause this area to drain properly. A drainage plan to show how drainage will work in this area should be submitted.

Visual Impact - There are residential areas on the north side of Lemon Creek that have a limited view of the future industrial and commercial development within the project. However, Lemon Creek and the stream side setback requirements should mitigate this impact as vegetation is reestablished on this site through conditions of approval.

Utilities - As discussed above, Industrial zoning allows narrow lots to be created with the intent that the lots be combined at later date when a definite development is proposed. Allowance for numerous smaller lots is problematic with a requirement that each lot be provided with individual utility services.

At this time, sewer and water main lines have been extended the full length of the subdivision. However, individual sewer and water services have not been provided for each of the lots bordering Lemon Creek. These lots are narrow and may be consolidated in the future. However, once platted, they can be sold and developed individually. The applicant wishes the keep the option open. Therefore, utility service lines for sewer and water must be provided to the boundary of each lot, as a condition of plat approval. After discussion with the Engineering Department, the applicant and the Department have worked out how conceptually these services be provided, but a specific plan must be submitted to Engineering for their approval. The applicant also has the option of consolidating lots to reduce the number of services required, or can bond for their construction. If lot consolidation occurs within the bonding period, the bond can be reduced accordingly.

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. Existing uses include an equipment shop, and a storage/industrial condominium, with one caretaker residence. While there are residential uses to the west, 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 Resource Development. The property however has been rezoned to Industrial. This change was considered to be a boundary adjustment to the adjoining industrial zoning district to the south, and therefore still 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 the stream.

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 (CBJ §49.70, Article IX) also recommends restoration of disturbed stream corridors. As noted above, the Planning Commission recently approved the expansion of a storage/industrial condominium building on the current Lot 3 (proposed Lot 9) with the approval of an allowable use permit (See Attachment F). One of the conditions of approval called for restoration work to be conducted 25 feet from the toe of the stream bank.

This condition applied to lot 3 only. Since Lot 3, and additional stream frontage along Lot 2A, is included in this subdivision proposal the requirement for restoration should also be made a condition of plat approval and apply to the full length of the subdivision boundary. Our understanding is that there are currently no major gaps of vegetation along this stretch of waterfront.

In the attached memo from Fish and Game Department it is recommended that a storm drainage plan be submitted and that impervious surfaces be limited to 50 percent of the total area of the subdivision (See Attachment E). Both of these requests deal with concern with runoff from this site into Lemon Creek. As noted above, drainage improvements have been completed with the construction of a full storm water drainage system. This system will include oil/water separators placed ahead of each of the two outfall pipes to Lemon Creek. In addition, a number of catch basins are placed through out 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.

Commission Action

As provided by §49.15.430(2)(A):

The commission shall review the proposal and approve, conditionally approve or disapprove the plat, according to the conditional use permit process. Approval of the preliminary plat shall not constitute final acceptance of the subdivision.

We recommend conditional approval of the request as proposed.

Preliminary Approval

As provided by '§49.15.430(3)

(A) Notice of approval of the preliminary plat and of the completion of all applicable conditions shall constitute authorization for the subdivider to proceed with the preparation of the final plat and plans and specifications for the improvements required in this chapter and Chapter 49.35.

As provided on the proposed plat and in the conditions below, the requirements of this chapter will be met. The improvements required in Chapter 49.35 are primarily limited to utility services and possible drainage improvements.

As noted above, the Commission has the discretion to waive certain improvement requirements in the following situation:

§49.35.130(d) (6) Where a right-of-way, not necessary to provide minimum frontage and access to the proposed subdivision, is required to be dedicated for access to adjacent property, the commission may waive street construction requirements other than those applicable to roadbed design and slope erosion control.

Staff has requested that the Anka Street right of way be extended to the adjoining property to the east, Lot 2B. This right of way is not needed to serve lots within the subdivision and has been constructed as a haul road. Therefore this section of code is applicable, and staff recommends the Planning Commission waive the construction of this section of Anka Street according to §49.35.130(d) (6)


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 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 submitted 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. As provided in the Table of Permissible Uses §49.25.300, Section 25.100, major subdivisions are appropriate in I, Industrial Zone, with conditions of approval.

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, which ran on November 2, 2001. 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 on October 30, 2001.

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. 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 based on the analysis section of the CBJ Comprehensive Plan.

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

Yes. The proposed development with conditions concerning streamside re-vegetation, plat notes for setbacks, and lot consolidation will comply with the Juneau Coastal Management Program.

 

STAFF RECOMMENDATION

  1. We recommend that the Planning Commission adopt the director’s analysis and findings and grant the requested preliminary plat approval for the proposed RSH Subdivision III, including the waiver of street construction requirements for the extension of the Anka Street right of way according to §49.35.130(d) (6). The approval is subject to the following conditions:
  2. The applicant shall provide a rehabilitation plan for the stream bank associated with Lot 3 and 2A of RSH II 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 and implemented or bonded prior to plat recording.
  3. 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
  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 shall be designed and completed in accordance with the CBJ and other applicable standards, as determined by the CBJ Engineering Department.
  6. The final plat shall incorporate the consolidation of Lots 18 through 21 into one parcel.
  7. Consistent with CBJ §49.35.210 the applicant shall indicate on the final plat the extension of the Anka Street right-of-way to the boundary of Lot 2B, RSH Subdivision II.
  8. The applicant shall adjust current lot dimensions, or provide easements, to accommodate a revised parking layout for the building on proposed Lot 9, if necessary.