DATE: February 20, 2001
TO: Planning Commission
FROM: Teri Camery, Planner
Community Development Department
FILE NO.: USE2001-00007- Conditional Use
PROPOSAL: A Conditional Use Permit to double the capacity of the sanctuary, to expand the fellowship hall, and to add classrooms.
Applicant: Anne Perry
Property Owner: Valley Chapel
Property Address: 9741 Mendenhall Loop Road
Legal Description: McGinnis 6 TR B
Parcel Code Number: 4-B29-0-101-005-0
Site Size: 9.58 acres
Zoning: D-3 Single-Family/Duplex Residential
Utilities: CBJ Water and Sewer
Access: Mendenhall Loop Road
Existing Land Use: Church
Surrounding Land Use: North - Mendenhall Loop Road, residential
South - Residential
East - Residential and one large vacant lot
West - Residential
The applicant requests a Conditional Use Permit to double the capacity of the sanctuary, to expand the fellowship hall, and to add classrooms. The addition is comprised of two floors structurally compatible with the existing building, with classroom expansion on the ground floor and sanctuary expansion on the first floor. The project will also involve a remodel of the existing church building to enlarge the fellowship hall. The addition will comprise approximately 9033 square feet of new construction distributed on two floors. The project also entails a parking lot expansion to meet code requirements and a second entry/exit pending approval from Alaska DOT.
The current building was approved through the conditional use process in August 1978 (CU14-78). A second Conditional Use Permit hearing is deemed necessary due to the significant expansion of the sanctuary and corresponding increase in public use.
The project site consists of approximately 4.2 acres of a 9.53-acre parcel. The rest of the acreage is vacant with no current plans for development. (See Attachment D to view the complete parcel, though the plat copy quality is poor. Tract A and Tract B have been consolidated into one parcel.) The site includes a large parking area parallel to Mendenhall Loop Road with a tree buffer, a playground bordering the parking lot, and church facilities located in the southwest corner of the site.
Parking and Circulation
Per CBJ Land Use Code 49.40.210, church parking requirements are one space for each four seats in the sanctuary. Following the remodel the sanctuary will have 480 seats for a parking requirement of 120 spaces, including five accessible spaces. The site plan notes 148 parking spaces, including six accessible spaces, and thus exceeds the requirement.
Traffic and Service Hours
Sunday school and church services occur from 9 am to noon on Sundays. A second church service is held Wednesday evenings at 7 pm. The significant increase in sanctuary size will affect traffic flow and circulation within the parking lot. The site plan (Attachment A) shows a proposed second entrance to the site along Mendenhall Loop Road directly across from Montana Creek Road, intended to ease congestion within the new parking pattern and make a safer entrance and exit from the site. Valley Chapel has approached Alaska DOT separately for this driveway permit. Rick Purves, Traffic and Safety Engineer with Alaska DOT, has conducted a preliminary review of the project and has no immediate concerns.
To ensure that the second driveway is developed with an adequate analysis of safety concerns, staff will require a condition that prior to issuance of a grading or building permit; the applicant shall submit evidence of DOT approval of a second driveway.
The site plan (Attachment A) notes an existing buffer and tree line parallel to Mendenhall Loop Road that minimizes the visual impact on the neighborhood. Buffers also exist on the east and west sides of the property. These buffers will be retained.
A formal lighting plan has not yet been developed. Tentative plans include placing 20 feet high poles at each corner of the parking lot and lights on the church building. To minimize impact on the neighborhood, lighting should not cause glare onto adjacent properties and roadways. Staff will place a condition requiring that prior to issuance of a building permit; the applicant shall submit specifications of the luminaries for final review and approval by CDD staff.
Public Health or Safety
Staff is not aware of any impacts to public health or safety.
Property Value or Neighborhood Harmony
Because this project is an expansion of an existing church established in 1978, rather than an initiation of a new use to the area, the impact on neighborhood harmony appears negligible. Though no additional large churches exist in the immediate vicinity, large churches do exist throughout the community and generally blend well into neighborhoods provided all code requirements are met. This project meets all code requirements and takes significant measures to minimize impacts through buffering.
Juneau Coastal Management Program (JCMP)
Staff has reviewed the proposal for compliance with the JCMP and found that no enforceable provisions of the JCMP apply.
CBJ §49.15.330 (e)(1), Review of Director's Determinations, states that the Planning Commission shall review the director's report to consider:
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:
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 through C), Review of Director's Determinations, the director makes the following findings on the proposed development:
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.
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.
Friday, February 16, 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 record of all property within 500 feet of the subject property.
4. Will the proposed development materially endanger the public health or safety?
No. No evidence indicates that the proposed development will materially endanger the public health or safety.
6. Will the proposed development be in general conformity with the land use plan, thoroughfare plan, or other officially adopted plans?
Yes. The Comprehensive Plan does not address religious activity. However, the Land Use Code provides for the establishment of churches, synagogues, and temples in all zoning districts except the waterfront and industrial districts.
We recommend that the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and grant the requested Conditional Use permit for expansion of the Valley Chapel with the following condition: