DATE: June 5, 2001
TO: Planning Commission
FROM: Gary Gillette, Planner
Community Development Department
FILE NO.: USE2000-00057- Conditional Use

PROPOSAL: A Conditional Use permit to construct a 22-unit apartment building and parking deck within a designated hazard zone. 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant: Channel View, Inc.

Property Owner: Steve Landvik

Property Address: 345 Gastineau Avenue

Legal Description: Lots 8A & 10, Block 2, Pacific Coast Addition

Parcel Code Number: 1-C07-0-H02-008-1; 010-0

Site Size: 16,402 Square Feet

Zoning: MU, Mixed Use

Utilities: CBJ Water and Sewer Services

Access: Gastineau Avenue

Existing Land Use: Vacant

Surrounding Land Use: North - Gastineau Avenue
South - Retail/Residential
East - Residential
West - Residential

 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant proposes to construct a 22-unit apartment building and attached parking deck. The proposed development would be in a designated hazard area requiring approval by the Planning Commission. The Commission is required to review the proposal for impacts to property and persons as the result of potential avalanche or mass wasting events. Further, the Commission will review proposed methods to reduce damage as the result of such events.

 

ANALYSIS

Project Site - The proposed development would occur on a vacant site at 345 Gastineau Avenue (see attached site plan). The site slopes steeply from Gastineau Avenue toward South Franklin Street. Some grading of the site has taken place previously in anticipation of the proposed project. The site is currently vegetated with grasses. To protect the building and parking deck the applicant proposes to construct a debris catchment wall at the property line along Gastineau Avenue.

Project Design - The proposed debris catchment wall would be six feet high and approximately 135 feet long. It would be constructed of steel "H" piles placed vertically at regular intervals. Precast concrete panels would be set between the "H" piles. The texture of the panels would be exposed aggregate. The wall would be topped with a concrete cap.

Hazard Zone The applicant contracted Baxandall Associates (now BRD Consultants) to perform a site hazard analysis for the subject project (see attached report). The report outlines maximum debris flow, which might result from a mass wasting event. The submittal also included drill logs for test holes taken in a variety of locations on the site.

The report concludes that debris flow could be anticipated with a mass wasting event. It is recommended that a debris catchment wall be constructed along Gastineau Avenue to stop the debris flow before it reaches the parking deck and building. The recommendation includes concept drawings and details of such a 6 foot high wall which would withstand impacts of 662 pounds per square foot and hydrostatic pressures of the debris flow.

Terry Brenner, of the CBJ Engineering Department, reviewed the report and recommendations. He generally concurred with the report and its recommendation. Final structural computations and engineered details of the wall have not yet been submitted but would be required prior to issuance of a building permit for the wall.

 

Public Health or Safety - The proposed development, located in a designated hazard area, will include a debris catchment wall to mitigate potential damage as a result of landslide activity. In addition, the building would be designed to meet applicable building codes. Building plans and specifications will be reviewed for compliance with applicable building codes by the CBJ, Building Division. For these reasons public health and safety will be protected.

Property Value or Neighborhood Harmony - The proposed project features residential uses allowed in the Mixed Use zoning district in which the site are located. Surrounding uses are primarily residential as well as retail/residential along South Franklin Street immediately downhill of the subject site. A debris catchment structure is proposed to be constructed to protect the proposed development. This would offer protection to value of the proposed project as well as others below it. The shape of the wall and its orientation to the topography of the site and surrounding area does not indicated that the wall would divert debris onto neighboring buildings. For these reasons it is not anticipated that the proposed project would have negative impacts on the property values of adjacent properties or be out of harmony with the neighborhood.

Conformity with Adopted Plans - The Juneau Comprehensive Plan considers development potential within landslide and avalanche hazard zones. Policy 3.11 states; "It is the policy of the CBJ to minimize the threat to human safety and developments posed by landslides and avalanches." Associated implementing action 3.11.4 states; "Provide mitigating standards in the land use code for development in landslide and avalanche hazard areas based on the 1972 and the 1992 studies. These standards may include dissipating structures or dams, appropriate structural engineering, or other techniques that respond to the specific hazards of that site. All development in the hazard areas must include mitigating measures that respond to the specific hazards of that site."

The Land Use Code requires review and approval of developments in hazard areas under the conditional use process. Professionals with expertise in analyzing potential hazards and designing structures to mitigate potential hazards are required to review proposed developments and make recommendations for appropriate mitigation measures. The CBJ Engineering Department reviews this information for conformance with the hazard studies and engineering standards. Professionals have appropriately reviewed the proposed project. The proposed debris catchment structure appears to offer protection to the building and parking deck. Therefore it is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

Juneau Coastal Management Program (JCMP) - The proposed development was reviewed for compliance with CBJ 49.70.900, the Juneau Coastal Management Program. The analysis reveals that the enforceable policy of the JCMP found at 49.70.910(b) applies to the project. This policy states that "development in areas having known hazards may not be approved until...construction measures for minimizing property damages and protecting against loss of life have been provided." This policy is met with the provision of a hazard investigation and the proposed construction measures to address the known hazard.

 

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 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. The application contains the information necessary to conduct a full review of the proposed development as pertains to the potential impact of a mass wasting event. 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 Land Use Code?

Yes. The requested permit is appropriate according to CBJ 49.70.300 Landslide and Avalanche Areas.

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

(June 1, 2001). A Public Notice sign was posted on the site at least 14 days prior to the meeting, and notice was mailed to owners 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 and the proposed mitigation measures and with the recommended design parameters it is found that the proposed construction in a designated hazard zone will not materially endanger the public health or safety.

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

No. Based on the preceding staff analysis it is found that the proposed development will not substantially decrease the value of or be out of harmony with neighboring property.

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

Yes. Based on the preceding staff analysis it is found that the proposed construction in a designated hazard zone is consistent with the Juneau Comprehensive Plan.

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

Yes. The proposed development contains construction measures designed to prevent loss of
life or property in an area of known hazard, thereby meeting the requirement of CBJ 49.70.910(b).

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended 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 22-unit apartment building and parking deck. The approval is subject to the following condition:

1. Prior to issuance of a building permit the applicant shall submit structural computations and design details for the debris catchment wall. The wall shall be designed to withstand debris flow impact loading of 662 pounds per square foot and the calculated hydrostatic pressure as recommended by the report prepared by Baxandall Associates (date stamped February 5, 2001). Further, the applicant shall construct the debris catchment structure to meet the design parameters as approved.