DATE: March 30, 2001

TO: Planing Commission

FROM: Oscar Graham, Planner
Community Development Department

File No: USE2001-00012

PROPOSAL: A request for a Conditional Use permit to allow explosives storage in 2-3 explosives storage containers.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant: Dave W. Gill, Alaska - Pacific Powder Company

Property Owner: Secon, Inc.

Property Address: Upper Lemon Creek Valley

Legal Description: Hidden Valley, Tract A

Parcel Code Number: 3-M00-0-LEM-CRK-2

Site Size: 1200 square feet within a 113-acre tract

Zoning: RR, Rural Reserve

Utilities: N/A

Access: Anka Street

Existing Land Use: Vacant

Surrounding Land Use: North – Undeveloped

South – Undeveloped

East – Undeveloped

West – Undeveloped

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant requests a conditional use permit to site 3 portable magazines for the storage of explosive products at an isolated location in Hidden Valley. Two portable magazines will be used to store high explosives and a third will be used for the storage of detonators. All products will be stored in appropriate containers in compliance with federal, state and local laws. There will be no additional development at the site except for the installation of a steel gate and placement of heavy rock rip-rap or concrete barriers to prevent unauthorized entrance to the site. Appropriate warning signs will be placed at the entrance to the storage site as required in Article 77 – Explosive Materials of the Uniform Fire Code (1997)

The applicant also proposes to allow local contractors, barge lines, fire departments or enforcement agencies to utilize the site as a safe haven when needed. There is currently no safe haven for the storage of explosive products in Juneau. Explosives stranded at a barge facility or recovered from abandoned construction or mining projects could be stored at the facility until such time as they can be safely disposed of. Upon approval of the conditional use permit the applicant will submit an emergency response plan to the Juneau Fire Marshall and Alaska State Troopers. All carriers will be required to obtain the necessary transit permits prior to transporting explosives within the City and Borough of Juneau.

BACKGROUND

The commercial storage of explosives is allowed in the Industrial, Waterfront Industrial and Rural Reserve Zoning Districts. Storage and handling of explosives is also regulated by the following agencies:

  1. U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
    a. explosive storage magazine construction standards
    b. placement of storage magazines
    c. explosives inventory and reporting requirements
  2. U.S. Coast Guard
    a. marine transportation of explosives (port to port)
    b. handling and storage of explosives at port facilities
  3. U.S. Department of Transportation
    a. transportation and shipment packaging of explosives by common carriers
  4. Alaska Department of Labor (Occupational Safety and Health Standards)
    a. distance requirements for separation between magazines and habitable buildings
    b. distance requirements for separation between multiple storage magazines on site c. transportation and use of explosives.
  5. a..City and Borough of Juneau Fire Departmenta. inspections of storage site and storage magazines
    b. permits for explosives transportation

ANALYSIS

Explosive storage facilities have been permitted in the upper Lemon Creek Valley for the past decade. Conditional use permits were authorized in 1991 (CU-18-91) and 1996 (CU-54-96) for the establishment and continued operation of a similar facility which is currently sited approximately mile southwest of the subject proposal. Because of the relative isolation and distance from habitable structures this area is considered appropriate for the proposed use.

The magazines will comply with "bullet resistant" construction standards consisting of one of the following:

Public Health or Safety – The isolated nature of the site and industrial context of the surrounding area as well as the central location in the Borough make this site a viable location for explosive storage. The nearest inhabited building as approximately mile from the site. We have found no evidence that would suggest the operation of the magazine would create a hazard to public health and safety.

Property Value or Neighborhood Harmony – The site is in the rural reserve district which adjoins an industrial zoning district. The area near the site has been utilized for gravel and rock extraction activities, mineral processing and explosive storage. Access into the site is via Anka Street through a predominantly industrial use area. We have found no evidence that would suggest the operation of the magazine would cause a decrease in property values or be out of harmony with the neighboring area.

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;

2. Whether the proposed use is appropriate according to the Table of Permissible Uses; and,

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 conforms to the requirements of CBJ code Chapters 49.15.

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

    The siting of an explosives storage facility is identified as requiring a conditional use permit according to the Table of Permissible Uses. The use is listed at CBJ 49.25.300, category 4.220 for the Rural Reserve 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 March 27, 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.

    1. Will the proposed development materially endanger the public health or safety?
  • No. Based on the preceding analysis, it is found that the proposed development will not materially endanger the public health or safety. As discussed in the analysis section the isolated location of the site and distance from inhabited structures mitigates siting impacts to public health and safety. Additional regulations administered by the Bureau of Alcohol,

    Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Transportation, Alaska Department of Labor and CBJ Fire Department further mitigate the hazards associated with the transportation, handling and storage of explosives.

    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 analysis, it is found that the proposed development will not substantially decrease the value of, or be out of harmony with, property in the neighboring area. The location of the site in an isolated area dominated by vacant properties and resource based industry is generally compatible with the proposed use.

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

    Yes. The proposed development is in general conformity with the comprehensive plan, thoroughfare plan and other officially adopted land use plans. Compliance with Chapter 49 of the CBJ code would be provided through the issuance of the subject Conditional Use Permit.

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

    N/A. No enforceable provision of the JCMP were identified in conjunction with the subject proposal.

  • RECOMMENDATION

    We recommend that the Planning Commission adopt the director’s findings and grant the requested conditional use permit. The permit would provide for the storage of explosive products in 2-3 magazines located in Hidden Valley (Upper Lemon Creek) for a period of 5 years. The recommended approval is subject to the following conditions:

    1. The applicant shall comply with all federal state and local regulations relating to the, transportation, handling, security and storage of explosive materials.
    2. The applicant shall adhere to all applicable provisions of Article 77 - EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS of the Uniform Fire Code (1997).
    3. The applicant shall consult with the Juneau Fire Marshall to designate travel routes through the City and Borough and obtain any permit(s) required prior to transporting explosives within CBJ jurisdiction.
    4. The applicant shall submit an emergency response plan to the Juneau Fire Marshall following approval of the conditional use permit, prior to siting magazines.
    5. The applicant shall require and assure that all carriers utilizing the facility to obtain the necessary permits prior to transporting explosives within the City and Borough of Juneau.
    6. The facility shall be approved for a period of 5 years from the date of action by the Planning Commission.