DATE: October 12, 2001

TO:         Planning Commission

FROM: Greg Chaney, Planner
               Community Development Department

FILE NO.: USE2001-00037

PROPOSAL: A conditional use permit to allow two existing modular schoolrooms at Floyd Dryden Middle School to remain on site.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant:                    Juneau School District

Property Owner:         City & Borough of Juneau

Property Address:       3840 Mendenhall Loop Road

Legal Description:       USS 2084 Lot 1A

Parcel Code Number: 5-B24-0-100-002-0

Site Size:                    33.8 Acres

Zoning:                       D5 - Single Family/ Duplex Residential

Utilities:                       CBJ Water & Sewer

Access: Mendenhall Loop Road

Existing Land Use: Public Middle School with 3 Modular Classrooms

Surrounding Land Use: Northeast - D-5 Single Family/Duplex Residential
                                    Northwest - Mendenhall Loop Road, D-5 Residential
                                    Southeast - Adair Kennedy Park, D-5 Residential
                                    Southwest - Adair Kennedy Park, D-5 Residential

 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant requests a conditional use permit to continue the use of two (2) modular buildings for classrooms at Floyd Dryden Middle School. A third modular classroom is located at the same site and this modular unit has not been permitted through the Conditional Use process in the past because it is considered to be a "grandfathered" use. Two of the modulars are used as regular classroom space and the third is currently used for a Special Education Program.

 

BACKGROUND

The Juneau School District has a total of eight modular classrooms that were permitted on a short-term basis under the conditional use permit process.

Two of these permitted modular classrooms are located at Floyd Dryden Middle School. These units were first permitted in 1990/1991. These permits were renewed in 1995 and again in 1998. The latest extension will expire on October 27 of this year.

After construction of Riverbend Elementary School, the need for modular classrooms was re-evaluated by the School Board Facilities Committee in 1997. The recommendation was to retain the two units at Mendenhall River Elementary, two of the three units at Glacier Valley Elementary, and the two units being considered under this application at Floyd Dryden Middle School. The School District recently revisited the issue and decided to retain the 3 existing units at Floyd Dryden due to continued problems of capacity caused by the delay in construction of additional High School space.

 

ANALYSIS

The School Board Facilities Committee reviewed the need for the continued use of the existing modular classrooms in light of the construction of Riverbend Elementary School. It was hoped that construction of this elementary school would add capacity and eliminate the need for some or all of the modular classrooms.

The response from Juneau School District staff was that Riverbend Elementary had added sufficient capacity for elementary grades however capacity problems still remain at the Middle and High School levels. The School District is requesting that the permits for the existing modular classrooms at Floyd Dryden Middle School be extended until these issues have been resolved.

There have been no complaints or any land use conflicts associated with the existing modular units. Other code requirements, including parking, have been reviewed with previous permitting actions. When the modular classrooms were originally permitted in 1989, they were allowed to be installed without permanent foundations due to their temporary nature. After review of this permit request, the CBJ Building Official determined that the modular buildings could keep the temporary foundation setup indefinitely since the school district’s building maintenance department is charged with maintaining the integrity of these structures. He recommended that these buildings be periodically inspected for shifting of the foundation and leveling if necessary.

Public Health or Safety – No health or safety issues have been raised with the use of the modular classrooms.

Property Value or Neighborhood Harmony - The modular classrooms are screened or at a distance from neighboring properties.

Conformity With Adopted Plans – The site has been identified as a school site in the CBJ Comprehensive Plan. The use of modular classrooms does not conflict with other adopted plans.

Juneau Coastal Management Program -Although the site is in a mapped flood zone per FIRM map 0880C, the modular buildings were installed in conformance with flood zone requirements and no further provisions of the JCMP apply.

 

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 submittal by the applicant, including the appropriate fees, substantially conforms to the requirements of CBJ Chapter 49.15.

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

Yes. The requested permit is appropriate according to the Table of Permissible Uses. The Conditional Use permit requirement is listed at CBJ §49.25.300, Section 5.110 for Elementary and Secondary schools in the D-5 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 posted in the Juneau Empire under "Your Municipality" which ran on Oct. 12, 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. As long as they are adequately maintained, these buildings should remain acceptable for school use. There have been no health/safety issues raised with the use of the modular classrooms.

  1. 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, no evidence is 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 not 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 development is in general conformity with the land use plan and other adopted plans.

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

Yes. Based on the preceding staff analysis, it is determined that the proposed development will comply with the JCMP.

 

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 continued use of two modular buildings for classrooms at Floyd Dryden Middle School. The approval is subject to the following conditions:

  1. The applicant shall re-seed the sites after removal of the modular classrooms, consistent with adjacent lands.
  2. The applicant shall periodically inspect the modular classrooms for shifting of foundation blocks and provide appropriate leveling if necessary. Any structural deficiencies caused by shifting foundation blocks, discovered during periodic inspections, must be addressed immediately.