DATE: May 2, 2001

TO: Planning Commission

FROM: Tim Maguire, Planner
Community Development Department

FILE NO.: USE2001-00015

PROPOSAL: A Conditional Use permit to allow the continued use of a temporary Quonset structure for soil remediation.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant: Jim Shoemaker

Property Owner: Channel Landfill, Inc.

Property Address: 1725 Anka Street, Juneau, Alaska

Legal Description: Lot 2A, Horn Subdivision

Parcel Code Number: 5-B12-0-104-005-0

Site Size: Approximately 1.5 acres, Lot size 6.59 Acres

Zoning: I, Industrial

Utilities: Public Sewer and Water

Access: Anka Street

Existing Land Use: Vehicle Storage, Metal storage

Surrounding Land Use: North - Single-Family/Duplex Residential across Lemon Creek

South - Institution, Gastineau Human Services

Southeast - Single-Family Dwelling

West - Various Commercial and Industrial Uses

 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant requests a Conditional Use permit to continue the operation of a soil remediation facility at the site. This remediation or recycling involves placing contaminated soils in a three-layered soil cell. These soils are then heated between temperatures of between 500 and 800 degrees over a period of 4 to 10 days. The soil cells are sealed in Quonset-type structures, all vapors resulting from the heating operation are trapped. These vapors are then directed to a catalytic oxidizer that destroys these waste products. The only type of materials that will be accepted for this treatment, are soils contaminated with petroleum products. The current operation includes the use of one soil cell, and a second may be added.

The original operation also included the use of an RV for a caretaker residence. The structure has been removed and modular type structure is being used for office use only.

 

BACKGROUND

On May 25, 1999, the Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit to operate a soil remediation facility at the site for over a year. At that time the applicant stated that a number of contaminated sites existed throughout the CBJ and that there were not many options locally for dealing with these soils. Previous methods had had mixed results and shipping outside was costly.

The applicants believe the their proposal provides a viable alternative for soil remediation in the Juneau area.

The applicant projected that their work would be completed in one year. However, they did believe there might be the opportunity for additional business servicing other communities in Southeast Alaska

This situation still exist today; the applicants believes there continues to be sites that need the service, and their proposal provides a proven treatment option. The past years experience also has shown that there is a demand for this service from outlying sites and communities in Southeast. This facility has treated soils from such locations outside the City and Borough of Juneau, including Sisters Island, Hoonah, Pelican and Klukwan.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has the authority to approve the use of decontamination systems and their location in the State of Alaska. This approval was obtained for the previous operation. After the decision was made to continue this operation, this approval was again sought from DEC. The approval has again been received from DEC. This review and approval process took much longer than expected and the applicants did begin treatment of stockpiled soils. The applicants were reminded that the new conditional use permit was also required to operate, and an application was made for the new permit. A two-year permit is being requested.

Over the past year of operation, complaints have been received concerning dust generated by this operation. Also, noise from the operation has been mentioned in comments received concerning a separate conditional use permit for a crusher operation to be located on the same parcel.

 

ANALYSIS

This facility has operated for over a year without major problems. The applicant has indicated that there continues to be a demand for this service in this and other communities in Southeast. This permit request is for two years.

As noted above, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has the authority to approve proposed decontamination systems for use in the State and also approves their use at a specific location. DEC has approved the system being proposed by the applicants for use in Alaska and has again approved its use at the Juneau site. The proposed Facilities Operations and Process Description submitted to DEC, and with the conditional use application, is attached. The Facility Operations Plan Approval from DEC is also included (See attachment A & B).

The operation plan for this proposal has been modified from the original operation. These changes primarily have to do with containment of the contaminants and drainage. The storage area for untreated soil storage has been upgraded to insure that there is no infiltration of contaminants into surrounding ground. Although these untreated soils are covered, as an additional precaution, a sump has been added to collect runoff from the soil storage area. Water collected in the sump is then pumped onto contaminated soils after their placement into the treatment cells. The treatment process treats any contaminated water as well. The new operation plan also includes a $250,000 bond to DEC for restoration of the site, if necessary. Improvements have been made to the site drainage and are discussed in more detail below.

Project Site - This is a 6.59-acre parcel located adjacent to Lemon Creek. Only a portion of the parcel will be used for this facility. The parcel has a significant drop in elevation near the border with Lemon Creek. There is a 50-foot setback required from the ordinary high water of the Creek. Also, a portion of the lot is shown in the 100-year flood plain of Lemon Creek. This lower-lot area and 50-foot setback will not be used for the proposed operation. The proposed site is also well above the 100-year flood plain elevation.

Drainage - Runoff or drainage from the site in also became a problem during last year’s operation. DEC noted during a site inspection that run off with taking place untreated and into Lemon Creek at the back of the lot. Berming and silt fencing were added for sedimentation control. On site drainage has also been upgraded with the construction of a settling pond at the rear or of the property. Because of the sandy gravely nature of the soils this pond acts more as a filter of the water rather than the typical settling pond where sediment settle out. Maintenance of the pond will still be necessary for it to function properly (See attachment C).

Dust - As noted above the only formal complaints with the previous operation has been about fugitive dust. The problem stems from the fact that soils after going through the treatment process become very dry. The fines from these soils are blown offsite in the wind.

The applicants are aware of the problem and propose to control the dust problem by watering the soils when necessary.

Traffic - Since the use of the facility will be limited to treatment of contaminated soils, the resulting truck traffic is not expected to have a major impact on existing activity. The maximum amount of contaminated soil that can be stockpiled at the site at one time is 5,000 tons. 500 tons can be treated in one cell in approximately an average of 7.5 days. If two cells become operational, the total stockpile area could be treated in 37 days. Hauling of 5,000 tons of dirt would generate approximately 750 truck trips, assuming 10-yard truck. This would be the maximum amount of traffic over a 37-day period and would not be a major traffic producer compared to other uses in this area.. Currently, there is considerable traffic generated from surrounding commercial/ industrial uses and sand and gravel operations. A traffic light is being considered by DOT/PF at the intersection of Anka and Glacier Highway. This site was previously approved for an asphalt plant and rock crusher operation, which would have generated higher levels of traffic.

Parking and Circulation - The number of employees at the site will range from two to three. On-site parking can easily be provided for these employees. Truck traffic will enter Anka Street and first travel to scales located further up Anka Street before entering the site. In exiting the site, trucks will also return to the scales prior to departing on Anka Street. The existing driveway to this site will be used. The Engineering Department has previously approved the driveway location and sees no problem with the circulation pattern and access proposed.

Noise - Some noise will be generated from the day to day operations of the facility. Hours of operation will be limited to 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Noise will also be generated from the treatment process, which includes heating the soils, and from the secondary process of oxidizing the resulting vapors. The treatment operation runs 24 hours when started. No complaints have been received regarding noise from this operation. However, during review of a proposed crusher operation on this same parcel, noises from the soil recycling operation was mentioned.

As noted in the Conditional Use Permit review process, one of the conditions that may be imposed by the Planning Commission is to discourage production of more than sixty-five dBa of sound at the property line during the day or fifty-five dBa at night.. The applicants have agreed to mitigate noise if necessary.

Public Health or Safety - The primary basis for determining the effects to health and safety of this project is the Operation Plan approval from DEC. As noted above, this review determines the acceptability of the proposed contamination treatment process and the approval of its use at a specific location. DEC has approved both for this proposed operation. A major safeguard of the plan is a determination that the soils are acceptable prior to hauling to the site. This is to insure that no hazardous wastes are accepted; only petroleum-contaminated soils will be processed.

In addition, the transportation and stockpiling of the soils are regulated. The stockpiled soils are required to be covered, a liner provided, and a perimeter berm constructed to prevent any runoff. The process of remediation itself takes place in a self-contained structure. The soils are heated at a high temperature that vaporizes the contaminants. These vapors are then drawn into a catalytic oxidizer that destroys the contaminants. The final emissions from this operation require no air quality permit because of the quality of this treatment.

This operation has been in service for over a year and no major threat to health and safety were experienced. As noted above, upgrades were made to the facility to address soil storage and drainage. In addition to a bond is in place to address restoration.

Property Value or Neighborhood Harmony - Adjoining lands in this area are zoned as either I, Industrial; GC, General Commercial; or RR, Rural Reserve bordering Lemon Creek. The area has developed with mix of industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential uses. There are residential uses located directly across Lemon Creek and one dwelling located on an adjoining parcel directly to the southwest. It is felt that there is adequate distance and buffer to not have major impact to these areas. The institutional use, Gastineau Human Services is located directly to the south. There will be approximately a 250-foot separation from the actual recycling operation, and some buffer along the common property line. This recycling site has been used for industrial operations in the past and has been permitted for an asphalt plant/rock crusher operation and a heavy equipment maintenance and storage yard. These uses were found to be compatible, and this proposed use should be similar in nature.

As noted above, the emissions from this process require no air quality permit. Also, because of the level of treatment, there have been no complaints concerning odors from the operation. A condition will be recommended that will require noise to be mitigated, if necessary.

Conformity With Adopted Plans - The Comprehensive Plan designates this area as Resource Development. This designation corresponds with the Lemon Creek stream corridor and includes those lands bordering the Creek where sand and gravel extraction has taken place in the past.

The zoning of this particular parcel, however, is I, Industrial. The zoning was changed to an industrial classification because gravel extraction had ceased at the property restored. A portion of the parcel was filled and building site created above the creek channel, suitable for development. The proposed use will be located on this upland area, and a 50-foot setback will be maintained from the ordinary high water for all aspects of the operation. The use at this location is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, current zoning, and permitted uses on the parcel.

In addition, the proposal meets the intent of the following Plan policy:

  • POLICY 5.3. IT IS THE POLICY OF THE CBJ TO MINIMIZE CONFLICTS BETWEEN RESIDENTIAL AREAS AND COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRIAL AREAS THROUGH APPROPRIATE LAND USE LOCATIONAL DECISIONS AND REGULATORY MEASURES.
  • Implementing Action 5.3.2. Maintain, and consider enhancing Land Use Code requirements for buffering and screening between residential and commercial/industrial uses and careful review of site development plans.

    Juneau Coastal Management Program - The proposed development was reviewed for compliance with CBJ 49.70.900, the Juneau Coastal Management Program. The analysis has revealed that the following provisions of the JCMP apply to the development proposal.

    Section 49.70.950 (7)(b)(c) & (c7)

  • (b) The habitats contained in subsection (a), rivers, streams, and lakes, of this section shall be managed so as to maintain or enhance the biological, physical and chemical characteristics of the habitat which contribute to its capacity to support living resources.

    (c) In addition to the standard contained in subsection (b) of this section, the following standards shall apply to the management of the following habitats:

    (c7) Rivers, streams and lakes shall be managed so as to protect natural vegetation, water quality, important fish or wildlife habitat and natural water flow.

  • These sections of the JCMP are addressed in the plan for this facility. The proposed site for this operation is on the uplands. A 50-foot setback will be maintained from the ordinary high water of Lemon Creek for the operation. The vegetated buffer area along the creek will not be disturbed. The soil stockpile area is lined, covered and bermed and the runoff treated. Drainage from the whole site will also be treated.

    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 it’s 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 through 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 CBJ49.25.300, Sections 4.100 for the I, Industrial 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.

    4. Will the proposed development materially endanger the public health or safety?

    No. Based on the preceding analysis that discussed the transportation, stockpiling, and treatment of the contaminated soils, no evidence was found to indicate that the proposed development will 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 analysis that discussed surrounding development, previous and permitted uses of this site, predicted noise levels, traffic, and lack of pollution and odors, no evidence was found to indicate that the proposed development will substantially decrease the value of, or be out of harmony with, property in the neighboring area.

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

    Yes. The officially adopted plan, which is relevant to this project, is the Comprehensive Plan. In the analysis section, conformity with the Comprehensive Plan was discussed in detail. Because of the history of the Comprehensive Plan and subsequent zoning designation for this parcel, and the previous and permitted use of this property, it is found that the proposed development is in general conformity with the Comprehensive Plan.

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

    Yes. Based on the preceding analysis and the proposed conditions of approval dealing with contaminant containment, drainage, and stream setbacks, we find that the proposed development will comply with the Juneau Coastal Management Program.

  • RECOMMENDATION

    We recommend that the Planning Commission adopt the director's findings and grant the requested Conditional Use permit. The permit would allow the continuation of temporary soil recycling operation on Lot 2A, Horn Subdivision. The approval is subject to the following conditions:

    1. That the Conditional Use permit expires on May 30, 2003.

    2. That the hours of operation, excluding the actual soil remediation process, be from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. These hours may be extended by the Community Development Director if deemed necessary to accommodate a spill emergency or other extra ordinary circumstance.

    3. That the applicant limit the production of more than sixty-five dBa of sound at the property line during the day or fifty-five dBa at night.

    4. That the applicant provides engineered plans to show that the drainage and settling pond are of adequate design and size to prevent untreated runoff to Lemon Creek. The plan will be reviewed and approved by the CBJ Engineering Department prior to Building permit issuance

    5. That the applicant updates their building permit, as necessary, for any modifications made to the original project.