DATE: March 9, 2001

TO: Planning Commission

FROM: Cheryl Easterwood, Director,
Community Development Department

Oscar Graham, Principal Planner
Community Development Department

Sylvia Kreel, Planner II
Community Development Department

FILE NO.: USE1997-00074

PROPOSAL: A Conditional Use permit for the Totem Creek Golf Course, Clubhouse and Maintenance Facility and Associated Hillside Endorsement.

BACKGROUND

The Planning Commission hearing on the Totem Creek Golf Course began on November 30, 2000. At that time, presentations were made by both staff and the proponent, Totem Creek, Inc (TCI), and public testimony was taken. Because the Hillside Endorsement, a key feature of the application, was not complete at the time, staff did not present findings nor a recommendation at that time. At the conclusion of over five hours of testimony and discussion, the Commission adjourned the meeting, with the expectation that at the next meeting the complete recommendation document would be available.

Following the Planning Commission hearing, staff and Totem Creek representatives met twice to discuss Planning Commission direction for further information and additional materials which would assist in bringing the review to a conclusion. We asked that TCI provide:

1) a map showing stream connections to Peterson Creek, the location of landmark trees and cartpaths, and a depiction of 100' and 200' stream buffers. We indicated that a map showing secondary and intermittent streams would also be helpful in order to accurately depict the site, but we recognized that this was not discussed by the Commission.

2) the results of the wildlife study. We stressed that without such information at best TCI will be left with uncertainty as to the appropriate buffer width, and at worst CDD staff will be unable to make the necessary findings.

3) the results of an onsite analysis of the potential of and solutions to the potential problem of the buffers blowing down. We suggested tying this analysis in with the wildlife study.

4) a list of possible fertilizers and pesticides which may be used at the Totem Creek course and some of their properties including toxicity, mobility, solubility and persistence.

5) an estimate, with backup, of a dollar amount to use for a completion bond.

Since the November hearing and our meetings in December and January with the applicant, TCI has submitted a complete application for a hillside endorsement. No other new information has been submitted. In the following report, we will present the hillside endorsement analysis, as well as other aspects of the review for which staff has completed additional analysis. Staff findings are presented as well as our recommendation and updated proposed permit conditions.  

HILLSIDE DEVELOPMENT ENDORSEMENT

The proposed project meets the criteria requiring a hillside development endorsement for seven sections along the proposed access roadway. The CBJ Land Use Code contains the following provisions regarding hillside development:

Article II. Hillside Development

49.70.200 PURPOSES. The purposes of this article are:

(1) To ensure that hillside development provides erosion and drainage control to protect adjoining parcels;

(2) To protect waterways from sedimentation and pollution;

(3) To minimize injury or damage to people or property from natural or artificial hazards in hillside development; and

(4) To minimize any adverse aesthetic impact of hillside development.

49.70.250 STANDARDS FOR APPROVAL. Hillside development shall meet minimum standards regarding roads, weather, sediment and peak discharge.

49.70.260 CRITERIA. The Commission shall consider the extent to which development meets the criteria regarding soil erosion, existing vegetation, contours, time of exposure and soil retention,
replanting, drainage, foundations, very steep slopes, soil retention
features, and wet weather periods.

 49.70.270 CONDITIONS ON APPROVAL. The Commission may place conditions upon a hillside development endorsement as necessary or desirable to ensure the spirit of this chapter will be implemented in the manner indicated in the application. Fulfillment of conditions shall be certified by the engineer.

Analysis of Hillside Endorsement

The applicant has submitted information regarding slope stability, topography, site development plans, wetlands, and other information which are the basis of review for the hillside development review. Detailed information on some aspects of the project will be required for final review and issuance of a grading permit.

Standards of Approval - The Standards for Approval address roads, weather, sediment, peak discharge and other issues. The following analysis and comments are based upon the applicant’s information and review and recommendations by the CBJ Engineering Department.

  1. Roads. The proposed roadway would be constructed as a private driveway having an eighteen-foot travel way with two foot shoulders on each side. The applicant indicates the road would be gravel, sealed with resin coating (chip-seal). The design speed for the road was up to 40 miles per hour, however there are at least two curves and hills that do not meet the 40 mph standard and would need to be reduced to 15 mph. The basis for the roadway design is from AASHTO "Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, 1984" for two-way recreational roads.
  • The CBJ Engineering Department reviewed the proposed road and concurred that the design meets the AASHTO standards for two way recreational roads with speed limits ranging from 40 to 15 mph depending on the vertical and horizontal distances provided at curves and hills. Typically it is suggested that the posted speed for a roadway is something less than the designated speed. In this case, the CBJ Engineer recommends a posted speed of 35 miles per hour with reduction to 15 miles per hour in a couple of locations where curves and/or hills reduce sight distance.

    The applicant states that the intent is that the proposed recreational road would be brought up to CBJ standards at a later date. According to CBJ Engineering Department any upgrade to meet CBJ road standards would require major reconstruction for widening, improving the subbase, and lengthening the horizontal and vertical curves.

    (2) Weather. The proposed schedule for tree/vegetation clearing for the golf course and road would be during the winter months. Stump removal, clearing and grubbing would occur in the spring months. If very wet soil conditions occur during the period of these activities, the work may be halted at the discretion of the CBJ Engineer.

     (3) Sediment. Sediment and erosion control plans have been explained in general terms with the application submittal. Details of erosion/sediment control devices have also been submitted for the areas that are subject to the hillside endorsement review. The control devices as proposed appear to meet the need for sediment and erosion control on the areas of steep slopes. These controls will require inspection and maintenance on a regular basis. It is anticipated that conditions of the grading permit will specify additional erosion controls on exposed slopes.

    1. Peak Discharge. Peak discharge information was submitted with the application. Also included with the submittal was the type and size of drainage systems for each of the hillside endorsement areas. It appears the proposed drainage structures would be appropriate for the proposed use to control runoff.

     

    49.70.260 Criteria - The commission shall consider the extent to which the development meets the following criteria:

    (1) Soil Erosion. Soil disturbance and soil erosion shall be minimized and the effects thereof mitigated.

    A relatively large amount of earth will need to be excavated and filled to accomplish the proposed development. A plan has been submitted which shows how erosion would be minimized and sediment controlled. The grading plan will need to use the guidelines submitted to show specific requirements and locations of these devices. Soil matting or hydro mulching on cut and fill slopes will be required immediately after slopes are exposed or graded and left in place until vegetation has been established.

    (2) Existing Vegetation. Depletion of existing vegetation shall be minimized.

    All vegetation will be removed within the construction limits of the roadway.

    (3) Contours. The developer shall recontour the finished grade to natural-appearing contours which are at or below thirty percent or the natural angle of repose for the soil type, whichever is lower, and which will hold vegetation.

    The hillside development areas include only roadway construction which will eliminate all natural contours. The applicant’s erosion control plan along the roadway indicates final grading of cut and fill slopes would be less than the natural angle of repose. No retaining structures are needed to accommodate the proposed angle of repose.

    (4) Time of Exposure and Soil Retention. The developer shall minimize the period of time that soil is exposed and shall employ mats, silt blocks or other retention features to maximize soil retention.

    An erosion control plan was submitted with the application. Covering of the slopes with matting material or hydro mulching immediately after grading slopes will be required until vegetation is established. Sedimentation devices will be required and maintained throughout the project construction period. The grading permit will identify specific inspection and maintenance scheduling of sedimentation control devices.

    (5) Replanting. The developer shall mat, where necessary, and plant all exposed soil in grass or other soil-retaining vegetation and shall maintain the vegetation for one full growing season after planting.

    Soil matting and seeding will be required to stabilize slopes after exposure. This must be done as soon as slopes are graded if during the planting season (April 15 to August 15). If it is not practical to seed during the planting season then temporary matting or hydro mulching will be required for slope stabilization. A planting bond will be required to assure replanting, as necessary, to fill in any bare spots that might occur one year after a full growing season.

    (6) Drainage. The developer shall minimize disturbance to the natural course of streams and drainage ways. Where disturbance is unavoidable, the developer shall provide a drainage system or structures which will minimize the possibility of sedimentation and soil erosion on-site and downstream and which will maintain or enhance the general stream characteristics, spawning quality, and other habitat features of the stream and its receiving waters. Where possible, development shall be designed so lot lines follow natural drainage ways.

    The proposal is to assure drainage across the development site will follow, as near as possible, the most natural course of the existing drainage. Culverts, pipe arches, and/or bridges have been sized to accommodate streams and drainage ways within the hillside endorsement areas. Final engineering and detail drawings of these drainage structures will be a requirement of the grading permit.

    (7) Foundations. The developer shall ensure that buildings will be constructed on geologically safe terrain.

    There are no buildings being proposed within hillside endorsement areas.

    (8) Very Steep Slopes. The developer shall minimize excavation on slopes over thirty percent.

    Hillside development areas 4, 5, 6, and 7 have existing slopes in excess of 30 percent. Special care and inspection during construction within these areas will be required. Specific special inspection requirements will be identified on the grading permit.

    (9) Soil Retention Features. The developer shall minimize the use of constructed retention features. Where used, their visual impact shall be minimized through the use of natural aggregate or wood, variation of facade, replanted terraces, and the like.

    Cut and fill slopes will be graded to appropriate angle of repose. As currently proposed, no special retention features are required to meet the proposed angle of repose.

    (10) Wet Weather Periods. The developer shall minimize exposure of soil during the periods of September 1st through November 30th and March 1st through May 1st.

    Most of the construction within the hillside endorsement areas are also adjacent to streams and drainage ways which would be impacted with sediment if erosion and slides occurred. Exposed soils will be required to be covered immediately upon exposure. Exposed soils will therefore be protected during periods of wet weather.

    Recommendation Regarding the Hillside Endorsement

    We recommend that the Planning Commission grant the requested hillside endorsement. The endorsement would allow development of an access roadway in hillside areas for the proposed golf course project. The endorsement should be subject to the following conditions:

    1.Prior to any site preparation or construction activity, the applicant shall obtain a grading permit issued by the Community Development Department.

    2. Prior to commencement of any grading on the roadway alignment, the applicant shall identify and flag the limits of cut and fill areas for review and approval by CBJ Engineering Department.

    3. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit a detailed development schedule for excavation, utility installation, erosion/sediment control devices installation, slope protection/vegetation placement, and project completion.

    4. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit a detailed erosion /sediment control plan which identifies types and locations of control devices, how these would be monitored and maintained, and how construction would be phased such that large areas of soils are not exposed at the same time.

    5. At the CBJ Engineer’s discretion, the grading/excavation work may be halted during periods of very wet soil conditions.

    6. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit a detailed site grading plan which shows how excavation and exposure of disturbed soil would be minimized and how the effects thereof would be mitigated.

    7. If any material is moved and stockpiled on the project site, the applicant shall identify such locations and develop appropriate measures for soil erosion/sediment controls which shall be reviewed and approved by the CBJ Engineering Department.

    8. The applicant shall place soil matting or hydro mulching on all cut and fill slopes immediately after slopes are exposed or graded. All soil matting and hydro mulching shall be left in place until permanent vegetation has been established.

    9.Prior to issuance of a grading permit, a bond in the amount of $25,000 shall be submitted to CDD to guarantee maintenance of erosion control devices.

    10. Prior to issuance of grading permit, a bond in the amount of $5,000 shall be submitted to CDD to guarantee the replanting of vegetation as necessary to fill in any bare spots that might occur one year after a full growing season.

    11. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit to CDD a guarantee bond of $100,000 to insure the roadway and required improvements are completed as designed and approved.

    12. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit to CDD an inspection fee deposit of $10,000. Any unused funds from this deposit shall be returned to the applicant upon completion of the project.

    13. All mulching and planting shall be in accordance with CBJ Standard Construction Specifications.

    14. Prior to the commencement of operations, the applicant shall post the speed limit of 35 miles per hour along the roadway and post 15 miles per hour at the curves and/or hills which require reduced speeds. Signs shall be posted in accordance with AASHTO standards for appropriate distance to reduced speed areas.

    INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT

    TCI submitted an Integrated Pest Management plan in October, 2000. The Plan is conceptual in nature and outlines the approach TCI will take towards pest management. Since the November public hearing, the Community Development Department has reviewed resource materials and site specific applications of IPM developed in conjunction with golf course proposals in Skagit County, Clallam County and Grays Harbor County, Washington. In addition, several golf courses located in Southeast Alaska and British Columbia were contacted with questions regarding the presence of pests, and the application of chemicals and fertilizers to control pests and maintain healthy serviceable turf.

    Initially, we recommended an approach to IPM wherein the applicant would complete the plan prior to operation. We now recommend that the IPM be prepared prior to issuance of the conditional use permit. The basis of this recommendation follows.  

    Definition of Integrated Pest Management Strategy

    Integrated pest management (IPM) involves limiting pest populations to sufficiently low thresholds to avoid economic damage to course operations by using combined and balanced

    strategies of biological, cultural, genetic, chemical and other control technologies. Establishment of control area boundaries, pest tolerance thresholds and use of pest population prediction tools are critical to the overall IPM strategy. In the context of golf courses, IPM considerations are frequently addressed under the turf management plan (TMP).

    IPM is a multi disciplinary, ecologically based pest management system that uses all available methods to keep pests at acceptable levels while minimizing the effect on people, the environment and turf. Pests in this context are generally those diseases, fungi, weeds, insects and animals that destroy or reduce turf grass quality. Because IPMs benefit water quality by minimizing chemical loading in receiving waters they are often developed in conjunction with stormwater/drainage plans and wetland or riparian mitigation programs.

    IPM does not advocate the eradication of pest populations. IPM favors suppression of pests to the level that damage caused is acceptable in both an economic and aesthetic sense. The IPM concept favors and emphasizes natural pest manipulation but does not exclude chemical manipulation. It is a concept that utilizes integrated cultural, biological, and chemical pest control strategies. IPM seeks to avoid adverse environmental impacts and injuries to non-target entities that may arise with traditional chemical pest eradication procedures.

    The objectives of an IPM strategy are to:

    1. Utilize effective monitoring to enable more intelligent control of pest population.
    2. Minimize or more logically allocate pesticide use while optimizing pesticide efficacy.
    3. Improve turfgrass quality and lower operating costs.

    Although IPM systems are flexible, they typically include the following steps:

    1. Definition of the management unit (i.e. tees, greens, fairways, roughs).

    1. Identification of pests, including methods to obtain diagnosis, incidence and loss information.
    2. Development of an optimum pest management strategy coordinating multiple response options to varying season and weather conditions.
    3. Development of reliable pest monitoring techniques.
    4. Determination of pest damage or injury tolerance thresholds and correlation of pest levels to damage thresholds.
    5. Development or identification of descriptive or predictive models for timing pesticide applications, identifying knowledge gaps and strategizing control. 

    IPM Plan Submitted in Support of Totem Creek Golf Course

    As noted above, Totem Creek Incorporated submitted an IPM plan in support of the conditional use application, dated October 28, 2000. The document describes the general concept of integrated pest management and includes narrative descriptions of key IPM elements such as establishing a pest response threshold and reliable pest monitoring techniques. The document concludes with a list of tasks and schedules that represent a commitment to develop and operate the course consistent with the principles of IPM. The plan includes several important assertions which are bulleted and addressed below.

    The goal of most IPM plans is to avoid or minimize the need for chemical applications. However, it is generally recognized that some fertilizer and pesticide use will be required to promote healthy turf and control pests. Adolfson Associates, Inc. of Seattle, Washington, a firm specializing in IPM and aquatic resources, characterizes the likelihood of chemical application to turfgrass as follows:

    "While IPM relies primarily on non-chemical means of maintaining healthy, attractive, playable turf, it is virtually impossible to adequately maintain golf course turfgrass without some chemical applications, primarily fertilizers and pesticides. Many such chemicals have the potential to cause damage to water, fish and wildlife." (Integrated Turf Management Plan, Tubal Cain Golf Course; Adolfson Inc.: Seatlle WA, 2000.)

    Use of chemical controls is almost always provided for under IPM. However, consideration of the overall environmental context, identification of target and non-target species and evaluation of pesticide product options is typically detailed under the plan. In addition, the type, schedule and area subject to fertilizer application is addressed. No disclosure of pesticide products or fertilizers is included in the TCI plan.

    Pesticide selection is generally based on target species effectiveness and environmental risk. Given the environmental context of the proposed golf course, selection of pesticides should give special consideration to mammal, bird and fish toxicity. Products are rated by toxicity classes ranging from highly toxic to practically non-toxic. These classes are arranged by species including humans, fish and birds. Appropriate products are generally available to control target species when applied in conjunction with other control methods (culture, genetic, biological) within defined areas and in accordance with BMPs. (Best Management Practices for Golf Course Development and Operation, King County, WA Environmental Division; January 1993.  

    A number of pests are common to turfgrass. These pests are not limited to moss in the Pacific Northwest but typically include weeds, insects, diseases, parasites, nematodes, other invertebrates and vertebrates. For example, Adolfson Associates recently prepared an integrated turf management plan for a golf course located on Washington States’ Olympic Peninsula. The following pests were assessed as potentially harmful to the proposed Tubal Cain Course:

    "The most common problem insect is the European crane fly, although white grubs and cutworms may also be common pests. Plants other than those planted for golf course turf may present problems as well. For example there are many types of broadleaf plants (dandelions, crabgrass, etc.) which often invade turfgrass. In addition annual blue grass (Poa annua) is often considered a pest species. Lastly there are many types of fungal diseases which may occur on the Tubal Cain property. These include Fusarium Patch, Red Thread, Take All Patch, and several rusts, smuts, and mildews." (Integrated Turf Management Plan, Tubal Cain Golf Course; Adolfson Inc.: Seattle WA, 2000.)

    It is possible that golf courses can be managed effectively without the use of chemical controls or fertilizers however most, if not all, courses do find it necessary to fertilize and control pests through the use of chemical agents or pesticides. The courses referenced in the TCI submittal were reviewed and the following observations were made:

    Mendenhall Golf Course is restricted from utilizing pesticides by permit condition. The course does suffer from some pests (notably dandelions) and the owner would prefer to utilize a chemical control. The owner also utilizes fertilizers on greens and tees with a mix of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

    Gustavas (Mt. Fairweather) Golf Course is located in a relatively natural setting, which did not rely on a high level of site alteration to obtain course objectives. A part of this courses’ appeal may lie in its uncultivated primitive quality. Staff was unable to contact the course to determine the level of pest control.

    Haines Golf course utilizes greens and tees constructed of sand fill and artificial turf. Because greens represent the primary course area requiring fertilizer and pesticides, the need for these agents to promote and maintain healthy turf is eliminated.

    Wrangell Golf Course was constructed on a timber ridge and muskeg environment. The course was constructed utilizing woodwaste as a source of fill. On tees and greens the woodwaste is covered with shot rock and finer gravels, finished with stone dust and covered with synthetic turf. Tee and greens therefore require no fertilizer or pest control. The fairway, however, is vegetated with a mix of rye and fescue species and requires periodic chemical treatment to control pink snow mold.

    Prince Rupert Golf Course utilizes pesticides to control fungus, molds and insects. Crane flies have required intensive control efforts at times. The course manager maintains "no application buffer zones" adjacent to aquatic areas which include a salmon stream.

    Conclusions Regarding IPM

    The application of fertilizers and pesticides is a common component of course operations. The utilization of IPM principles within the industry has reduced the overall need for chemical applications by maintaining robust turf, and emphasizing non-chemical control of pests. Minimizing the use of fertilizers and pesticides is one of the primary environmental goals of IPM. While IPM has led to a reduction in chemical controls, chemical application remains common. Because the applicant desires to reserve the option of chemical controls it is important to know what chemicals would be utilized to promote healthy turf and control anticipated pests. Chemicals proposed for use should be disclosed along with their corresponding toxicity class relative to non-target species. Similarly, areas subject to application should be identified as well as those areas which would be application free. The characteristics of the chemicals including their mobility, solubility and persistence should be assessed relative to the environments and species that exist at the proposed course site. Application of chemicals should be considered and described within the context of IPM (development of an optimum pest management strategy).

    While the applicants’ submittal represents a conceptual representation and commitment to the principles of IPM, it appears to be based on the false assumption that pest damage will be non-existent or of a magnitude that will require little chemical application. Reliance on the experience of other courses may be misleading because of differences between the proposed facility and other operations which utilize relatively unimproved terrain and/or employ synthetic turf. Staff contacts in the Pacific Northwest, Southeast Alaska and British Columbia do not substantiate the principle assumption of the applicant that pest and pest management represents relatively insignificant components of ongoing course operation.

    In order to find that water quality and habitat standards will be met, we believe a detailed IPM must be completed prior to approval of a Conditional Use permit. The requirement of an IPM plan for the Totem Creek Golf Course is intended to assure that sensitive environments (streams, wetlands and marine receiving waters) and that target species (mammals, birds and fish) receive appropriate protection.

     JUNEAU COASTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

    In the November, 2000 staff report, the golf course was reviewed for consistency with 17 standards or "enforceable policies" of the Juneau Coastal Management Program (pages 28 - 42).

    Since that time, we have conducted further research, particularly with respect to streamside buffers and the habitat standard. In November we suggested that a wildlife and a windfirm buffer study should be submitted to and reviewed by staff prior to issuance of the grading permit.

    We now find that these studies must be completed prior to issuance of the Conditional Use permit. Additionally, we continue to recommend that the Planning Commission require a 100’ streamside buffer on each side of anadromous streams to protect the stream and fish habitat. Our analysis, along with some familiar citations for reference, is presented below.

    The Habitat Standard - 49.70.950 Habitat

    1. Habitats in the coastal area which are subject to the Alaska Coastal Management Program include: (3) wetlands and tideflats; (7) rivers, streams, and lakes; and (8) important upland habitat.
    2. The habitats contained in subsection (a) 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.
    3. In addition to the standard contained in subsection (b) of this section, the following standards shall apply to the management of the following habitats:

    (3)Wetlands and tideflats shall be managed so as to assure adequate waterflow, nutrients, and oxygen levels, to avoid the adverse effects on natural drainage patterns, the destruction of important habitat, and the discharge of toxic substances;

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

    The TCI Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan

    Several impacts to wildlife habitat are associated with golf course construction. Heavy construction generating noise, site clearing and grading operations, and alterations of drainage patterns can change habitat and eliminate sources of food, water, and cover. Yet, if properly designed, non-play areas of the golf course can provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife species.

    The Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan submitted by TCI in October, 2000, is "designed to conserve wildlife on the site during construction and operation of the golf course." It sets forth phase I of a two phase study design to determine:

    The Habitat and Wildlife Management Plan lists steps which will be taken during course operations to enhance habitat. These steps include, in part, establishing a prohibition against hunting from the access road or on the course, installing bear-proof garbage containers, installing bird feeders and nest boxes, planting flowers which attract certain bird species, and establishing a no-spray zone 200 feet from any Peterson Creek tributary.

    We find that the plan includes provisions important to meeting the habitat standard of the Juneau Coastal Management Program, particularly with respect to the operational phase. The plan lacks, however, site specific consideration of wildlife habitat requirements. This site specific information must be considered in all phases of course development and operation, including the course design.

    In our November staff report, we contemplated the inclusion of a condition requiring the wildlife plan to be completed at a later date. Further, we proposed that stream buffer width would be established later upon completion of the wildlife field studies. Upon further review, we find that a wildlife study which addresses the wildlife in relation to course design, construction, and operation is necessary prior to making a finding that the habitat associated with the golf course area will be managed so as to maintain and enhance the characteristics of the habitat which contribute to its capacity to support living resources.

    Stream Buffers

    Buffers function to protect sensitive habitat area, such as stream corridors, from the impacts of development. The most damaging impacts of golf course development on wildlife habitat include construction activities, increased runoff and decreased water quality. Buffer vegetation can keep water temperature cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, provide food and cover for wildlife, function as rearing areas for the young, and satisfy nutrient and cover requirements for aquatic systems. Buffers also filter sediments and pollutants. Dense vegetation growing along stream channels serve to slow flood water velocities, decreasing flood related erosion and other damage.

    Buffers vary in size and structure according to the sensitivity of the habitat area the buffer protects, legislative mandate, and the level of activity occurring near by. In our recent review of buffer widths, we found that wider buffers are generally supported by scientific studies on the functions of buffers. Studies indicate that a minimum of 100 feet is required to protect anadromous fish streams.

    K Koski, in a letter to the department dated January 3, 2001, discusses several papers which document the minimum buffer width requirements. Dr. Koski wrote:

    Several papers document the minimum width that is required for a riparian buffer to maintain normal stream functions (Koski 1993, 92; Johnson and Ryba 1992; Murphy and Koski 1991; Murphy et al. 1986; Murphy 1995). Forest management practices in Alaska require a minimum of a 100 foot buffer on each side of the stream on public lands of the State or in the Tongass National Forest and a 66 foot buffer on private lands (Murphy and Koski 1991). Reviewing 38 separate investigations, Johnson and Ryba (1992) determined that buffers less than 10m provide little if any maintenance of various riparian functions. Buffers of 15-30m provide minimal maintenance for most functions; buffers greater than 30m appeared to be adequate for most functions. They recommended a minimum distance of 15 to 30m depending on the riparian function to be maintained. Castelle et al. (1994) have shown that a buffer width of less than 10m is generally considered ineffective. Booth and Reinelt (1993) have shown that an absence of significant riparian vegetation virtually assures degraded habitat. May et al. (1997) reported that most municipalities in the Pacific Northwest typically require riparian buffers of 30-50m (100-150 ft.) in width. May (1996) states that the recommended buffer width of 30 m may not be adequate in areas of intensive development or surrounding especially sensitive aquatic resources, therefore buffers as wide as 100m should be prescribed when deemed necessary.

    The document entitled "A Review of Scientific Literature on Riparian Buffer Width, Extent and Vegetation", prepared by Seth Wenger for the office of Public Service and Outreach Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia. March 5, 1999 attempts to establish a legally defensible basis for determining riparian buffer width, extent and vegetation. In order to address the issue of buffer width, the author reviewed over 140 articles and books on the matter. The author notes that sediment has proven to be the worst pollutant in many streams and rivers. There is a positive correlation between buffer’s width and its ability to trap sediment. Sediment deposited on streambeds reduces habitat for fish and for the invertebrates that many fish consume. Suspended sediments reduce light transmittance and decreases algel production. A high concentration of fine suspended sediments can cause direct mortality for fish including salmonids.

    Buffers as narrow as 15-feet have been shown to be fairly effective in trapping sediment from runoff in the short term. However, Mr. Wenger found that long term studies suggest the need for much wider buffers for effective sediment control and concludes that a 30 m (100 foot) buffer is sufficiently wide to trap sediments under most circumstances, although buffers should be extended on steeper slopes.

    The author concludes that buffers provide short term sinks for phosphorous, but over the long term their effectiveness is limited. Buffers sufficiently wide to control sediment should also provide adequate short term phosphorous control. However, the author notes that long term management requires effective on site management of its source. The author further notes that buffers can provide good control for nitrogen. However, the local hydrology, soil factors, slope and other variables will determine the width necessary to reduce nitrate concentrations. The author concludes that 30-m (100 feet) buffers should provide good control, and 15-m (50-ft) buffers should be sufficient under many conditions. The author notes that all major sources of contaminants, including fertilizers and pesticides should be excluded from the buffer.

    The author notes that "To maintain aquatic habitat, the literature indicates that 10–30 m (35-100 feet) native forested riparian buffers should be preserved or restored along all streams. This will provide stream temperature control and inputs of large woody debris and other organic matter necessary for aquatic organisms. While narrow buffers offer considerable habitat benefits to many species, protecting diverse terrestrial riparian wildlife communities requires some buffers of at least 100 meters (300 feet)."

    The author concludes by proposing three different options for buffer guidelines and notes that all are defensible given the scientific literature. A 100 foot, plus 2 feet per 1% of slope provides the greatest level of protection for stream corridors, including good control of sediment and other contaminants, maintenance of quality aquatic habitat, and some minimal terrestrial wildlife habitat. The second option provides a 50-foot setback, plus 2 feet for each 1 % of slope. The author concludes that this option should provide good protection under most circumstances, although severe storms, floods, or poor management of contaminant sources could more easily overwhelm the buffer. In a third option, a fixed buffer is proposed width of 100 feet is proposed.

    To be most effective, buffers must extend along all streams, including intermittent and ephemeral channels. There are numerous intermittent streams throughout the subject property. The site plan shows at least 12, although the map only shows those which are crossed by the survey line and does not trace their route trough the extent of the course. It is very possible that there are more. Although the JCMP requires a setback from anadromous streams only, these intermittent streams are important to water quality as they are hydrologically connected to

    Peterson Creek. They can convey nutrients, pesticides and sediment. Additionally, their removal or alteration will alter the hydrology of the wetlands into which they flow. The treatment of the intermittent streams is important in ensuring water quality and habitat standards are met.

    We continue to recommend a minimum 100 foot buffer zone on each side of the anadromous streams to protect the stream and fish habitat.

    Windfirm Buffers

    Considering the prevailing winds and the history of trees blowing down in the area, the risk of losing the stream buffers to "blowdown" or "windthrow" is very high. The golf course proposal does not take blowdown into account in the buffer design.

    Buffers, regardless of width, will be susceptible to wind damage. If diminished by blowdown, the ability of the buffer to provide the intended functions will be reduced, if not lost. There is no sure way to eliminate the potential for windthrow, but through careful design, the potential can be reduced. Soil depth, tree species, size and density, direction of prevailing and storm winds, and shape and orientation of clearings must be taken into account in designing and maintaining the buffers. The buffers should be shaped to enhance their ability to withstand the wind or to be "windfirm."

    Stream buffers are a critical component of habitat protection and, we believe, to the appearance and appeal of the golf course. Protection of the buffers from windthrow is a critical consideration which must be incorporated into the buffer design. Since this effort has the potential of causing adjustment in the areas of play, we find that the analysis of windfirm buffers must be completed prior to the issuance of a Conditional Use permit.

    Important Upland Habitat

    The Juneau Coastal Management Plan provides that important upland habitat 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. Much of the golf course is situated on alluvial fans, which are made up of sand and gravel deposits and which provide good drainage necessary to support large spruce and hemlock trees. Much of the area is old growth forest. It has been impacted by blowdown and possibly disease, but does not appear to have been logged.

    Important upland habitats are not specifically defined in the JCMP. A landmark tree stand has been identified on the site. The Landmark Tree Project systematically measures and ranks stands of trees for forest structure, volume of timber, tallest tree, and for their value as a habitat for deer and brown bear. The Landmark Tree sites are remnants of the giant forests that were once more wide spread in Southeast Alaska.

    A landmark tree stand has been identified on the golf course site, in the vicinity of Holes 7 and 8. The stand is an acre in size and has been described by one of the founders of the Landmark Tree Project, Richard Carstenson, as the second most "majestic stand" in the Juneau area due to the size of the dominant trees and the volume of timber. It ranks number one as far as sites which are relatively accessible to the general public. One tree was noted as measuring approximately 77 inches in diameter and well over 500 years old. While the top of this tree is not intact, a different tree was estimated to have a height of 200 feet. This is the second tallest tree measured in Juneau.

    Due to the uniqueness of this stand, we consider it an important upland habitat worthy of protection for both biological and cultural purposes. Accordingly, we are recommending a condition which would require that the landmark tree stand be identified on a map and that it be taken into consideration in the course design. The majestic nature of the trees may, in fact, offer the applicant a unique feature which could enhance the aesthetics and cultural experience of the course. The stand will be susceptible to windthrow and precautions should be taken to minimize the potential for blowdown of the landmark tree stand.

    Conclusion Regarding Habitat Standard

    In the conceptual Wildlife and Habitat Management and Integrated Pest Management Plans, we find clear indications that TCI intends to maintain and operate the course such that the habitat policies of the JCMP will be met. However, golf course development also consists of design, construction and course establishment. It is critical to thoughtfully plan for habitat protection throughout course design to mitigate impacts during construction and operation. Comprehensive planning begins by taking the steps which TCI indicates it will take, and then reflecting the species and habitat information into the course layout.

    Clearly, some important habitats, such as wetlands, have been protected. Stream buffers, although inadequate to fully protect habitat, have been incorporated in the design. Other important upland habitats have not yet been examined. We conclude that we do not have sufficient information upon which to judge the extent to which the golf course will meet the habitat standard.

    Air, Land and Water Quality Standard - 49.70.955

    As stated in November, an Integrated Pest Management Plan is a critical component of the golf course plans which directly addresses both the habitat and water quality standards. The IPM is discussed separately above in this report. The IPM, conceptual to date, largely comports with the outline for an IPM plan prepared by the Audubon Sanctuary program. It does not, however, contain detailed information which would allow us to determine that the project will not cause downstream water degradation below state standards. Because we now believe that the application of pesticides is a near certainty, we no longer find sufficient evidence to support a conclusion that Water Quality standards will be met.

    COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

    The November 22nd staff report reviewed the Totem Creek golf course proposal for conformity with the Comprehensive Plan. Eight policies of the Comprehensive Plan were found to be particularly applicable to the golf course and were discussed. Since that time, we have revisited the Comprehensive Plan policies. Determining consistency with the policies is complicated by the level of disclosure and detail provided in the applicants’ supporting documents. While a commitment to construct and operate the facility in accordance with the principles of sustainability and ecologically based resource management is generally exhibited, the lack of specificity relative to the Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan and Integrated Pest Management Plan prevent conclusive review and findings. We have determined there is insufficient information to find conformity with two Comprehensive Plan Policies.

    POLICY 3.3. IT IS THE POLICY OF THE CBJ TO PROTECT, MAINTAIN AND IMPROVE SURFACE WATER, GROUNDWATER AND MARINE WATER QUALITY IN ITS JURISDICTION SO THAT WATERS ARE IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE STATE OF ALASKA WATER QUALITY STANDARDS.

    Because the proposed course is located within an intricate system of aquatic areas including wetlands and streams that drain to nearby marine waters it is important to carefully consider the implications that ongoing turf and pest management may have on water quality. Lacking a detailed and site specific IPM analysis which includes a disclosure of fertilizers and pesticides required for the maintenance of healthy turf and the control of pests, it is not possible to anticipate the effects of the subject proposal on surface, ground and marine waters. Similarly we cannot be assured that State water quality standards will be maintained. Based on the existing level of information we cannot determine conformance with the above policy.

    POLICY 3.6. IT IS THE POLICY OF THE CBJ TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT A DIVERSITY OF FISH AND WILDLIFE HABITAT THROUGHOUT THE CBJ.

    Existing project information submitted in support of the subject proposal provides sufficient information relating to the location and extent of wetlands and a commitment to maintain 66’ stream buffers. However, little by way of analysis has been provided to disclose habitat types and species present within the project area. Further no site specific or functional analysis has been provided to support proposed buffer widths. Lacking a reasoned site specific analysis which links species/habitat requirements with buffer functions we cannot determine conformance with the above policy.

    CONSTRUCTION IMPACTS

    As mentioned in the November staff report, construction impacts may be considerable, as golf course construction will involve clearing over 100 acres of land and moving hundreds of thousands of cubic years of soil. Since November staff has reviewed in more detail the approach to golf course construction. Accordingly, we have suggested additional conditions to safeguard particularly against erosion sedimentation.

    We believe that the best approach to construction of the course is one that minimizes soil exposure and implements a careful phasing and sequencing of construction activities schedule.

    Based on a review of other course construction plans, we propose that no more than 25 acres of unstabilized/barren soils be exposed at any one time. Sequencing using this maximum limit of exposed area, plus continuous inspection and maintenance of sediment and erosion control facilities, will reduce both construction impacts and erosion risks as construction proceeds. Another very important strategy which we believe must be implemented is to provide immediate hydromulch stabilization of disturbed area during the grubbing and rough grading period.

    A detailed construction plan describing the construction process, sequencing and scheduling will be require prior to issuance of a grading permit. Required elements of the plan are described in a permit condition. This plan may be field adjusted with minor changes, as necessary, in consultation with the CBJ inspector, golf course construction manager and the golf course architect. These adjustments may be made, for example, in order to preserve additional vegetation, fold natural features which become evident after clearing into the design, or to achieve the desired playing value of a hole. Minor adjustments maybe made in the field provided they do not extend the disturbance area or adversely affect the environment.

    CONFORMITY WITH AUDUBON INTERNATIONAL GUIDELINES

    As noted in the November staff report, in 1995, when the Planning Commission considered the reclassification of municipal lands to accommodate the golf course, it stipulated that the Aenvironmental design and management must be of a quality commensurate with the Audubon Certification Program.@ Resolution No. 1811 adopted by the Assembly in 1996 provides that the Agolf course layout, environmental design, and environmental management program...shall be no less stringent than that required by the golf course certification program of the Audubon Society, taking account the unique environmental characteristics of S.E. Alaska.@ It is therefore necessary for the Planning Commission to judge whether or not the Totem Creek proposal generally conforms to the standards of Audubon International for the development of a golf course.

    There are two Audubon International programs designed to help landowners follow sustainable resource management principles in a comprehensive manner. These are the Sanctuary and the Signature programs. As explained by Audubon on the web, the Sanctuary Program "is designed to educate people about environmental stewardship and motive them to actions that will enhance and protect wildlife and their habitats as well as conserve natural resources…These programs target properties that are already developed…" The Signature Program is described as providing "comprehensive environmental planning assistance to landowners with projects in the design and development stages. Because there will be a significant change in land use, these properties present environmental issues and conservation opportunities that are wholly different from those associated with the already built landscape." Through the Audubon International Institute,

    Audubon conducts research "focused on wildlife and habitat management issues encountered by increasingly rapid development. The Institute currently conducts research to provide a foundation for designing environmentally effective land management practices."

    The Audubon Signature Program is thus the appropriate program for protecting the environment and balancing environmental objectives with the economic realities associated with the development of a golf course. We therefore have paid particular attention to the guidelines of the Signature program. There are areas of commonality between the programs, however, which we will highlight below.

    "A Guide to Environmental Stewardship on the Golf Course" prepared by the Sanctuary Program, states on page 1, "Environmental planning is the first step in developing a comprehensive conservation program that benefits people, wildlife, and the environment on the golf course…There are many conservation programs you can pursue that benefit wildlife, protect natural resources, and yet allow you to manage your golf course with a high degree of playability." Toward these ends, Audubon requires an environmental plan be prepared which addresses

    The Signature Program requires that a Natural Resource Management Plan be prepared for the property. The NRMP includes mandatory chapters on:

    Both Audubon programs seek to further the Audubon Principles of Sustainable Resource Management. The Principles are designed to serve as a guide to a more comprehensive approach to land use at all levels. The Principles, in summary, are:

    Site specific Assessment - Before land-use changes take place, it is crucial to understand the "properties" of the site to be changed.

    Habitat Sensitivity - Sustainable resource management entails factoring in the wildlife of an area or region.

    Native and Naturalized Plants and Natural Landscaping - Sustainable resource management should provide the use of material and resources native to an area.

    Water Conservation - Water is one of our most misused, mismanaged, and misunderstood resources.

    Waste Management - The first principle of waste management is not generate it.

    Renewable Energy Sources - Nothing short of weaning our selves from oil and coal is ultimately acceptable.

    Transportation - Moving toward sustainability includes four steps.

    Recreation - More and more leisure time is a blessing and a curse. Much of our leisure time uses massive amounts of energy.

    Greenspace and Corridors - Parks, bike paths, trees, green tentacles of forested stream corridors reaching into urban areas are necessary elements of sustainability.

    Chemical Use - To reach sustainability, we must minimize the use of chemicals in order to keep the balance of nature.

    Agriculture - Reaching sustainability will include sustainable agricultural practices.

     Building Design - The design of individual buildings is essential to developing sustainable patterns of behavior.

    Community Design – How are all the specific dessigns put together in a community?

    Durability – We live in a society where planned obsolescence has become a way of life.

    Education - Any community development that embodies the sustainable approach will need to educate the users of the area concerning their roles and responsibilities in the implementation of sustainable living.

    Not surprisingly, we find a great deal of commonality between the guidelines of the Principles, the Signature Program and the Sanctuary Program. Each emphasizes careful, comprehensive site characterization and planning to conserve wildlife and enhance habitat on the site.

    TCI has demonstrated an appreciation of the principles for sustainable golf course development. For example, wetlands will be preserved, pesticide use is to be minimized, water conservation measures are proposed, and a water quality monitoring plan has been developed and approved by DEC.

    Although TCI has submitted conceptual plans which address most of the Audubon concerns, we believe that the plans submitted to date fall short of that which would be acceptable for the Audubon program. The plans set a general direction, but lack the substance which would be expected by Audubon International. TCI plans to provide this detail at a later date.

    Audubon International exists in part to protect and enhance habitat. Therefore, the lack of a detailed wildlife and habitat study is a fatal flaw with respect to the Audubon approach to golf course design. The IPM plan is an important component of wildlife protection. The lack of a detailed IPM is a second significant deficiency. Finally, Audubon stresses the importance of the maintenance building, as discussed in our November 2000 staff report. Very little information has been supplied regarding the maintenance building. This, however, can be addressed through permit conditions.

    We conclude that the Totem Creek Golf Course proposal cannot, at this time, be considered commensurate with the Audubon certification program. TCI has made significant strides toward sustainable golf course development and more are proposed. Nonetheless, we further conclude that the proposal cannot, at this time, be considered consistent with the Principles for Sustainable Resource Management. Resolution 1811 requires that the "golf course layout, environmental design, and environmental management program….shall be no less stringent than that required by the golf course certification program of the Audubon Society…" We find that this provision is not met.

    FINDINGS

    CBJ 49.15.330 (e)(1), Review of Director’s Determination, states that the Planning Commission shall review the director's report to consider:

    1. Whether the proposed use is appropriate according to the Table of Permissible Uses;
    2. Whether the application is complete; and
    3. Whether the development as proposed will comply with the other requirements of this chapter.

    1. Is the use appropriate according to the TPU?

    Yes. The proposed Totem Creek Golf Course is located in the RR, Rural Reserve zoning district. The Table of Permissible Uses provides that golf courses are a permissible use in the RR zoning district. The Table shows that golf courses are to be reviewed under the conditional use procedure.

    2. Is the application for the requested conditional use permit complete?

    No. The application does not contain all of the information necessary to determine if the development will comply with all of the requirements of a conditional use permit.

    The application was initially submitted in September, 1997. The submission materials were augmented with additional information through January, 2001. The complete application package is considered to be those materials submitted by the department to the Planning Commission in November, 2000 including: the application form and letters; project drawings, maps and site plan; project documents; North Douglas Highway extension report, as well as the January 2000 hillside endorsement application materials submitted to the Planning Commission in March, 2001.

    The director determined in September, 2000, that the application accurately reflected the developer’s intentions, and that the application was acceptable in order to proceed with the permit review.

    We find, as discussed above in the analysis, that the application does not contain complete information upon which to make several necessary determinations. Specifically the application does not contain a wildlife and habitat study, an Integrated Pest Management Plan, and an analysis of windfirm buffers.

    3. Will the proposed development comply with the other requirements of this chapter?

    Yes. Based upon the above analysis and if the recommendations are adhered to the proposed development will comply with the other requirements of this chapter. Notice was provided in the Juneau Empire under Your Municipality, which ran on October 13, 2000, November 10 & 27, 2000, March 5, 9, 2001 and will be run on March 16 & 19, 2001. A public notice sign was posted on the site at least 14 days prior to the meeting on September 27, 2000, November 17, 2000 and March 6, 2001. Notice was mailed to owners of record of all property within 500 feet of the subject property on October 9, 2000, November 13, 2000 and March 5, 2001.

    The Planning Commission conducted public hearings on the golf course application held on October 24 and November 30, 2000 and March 20, 2001.

    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 Determination, 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 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.

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

    We lack sufficient evidence upon which to determine whether or not the project will materially endanger public health. Five residences are located along Peterson Creek downstream from the golf course. These residences take their drinking water from the creek. An Integrated Pest Management Plan containing site specific analysis and reflecting a thorough understanding of the hydrology of the area is required in order to determine that public health will not be endangered.

    The Totem Creek Golf Course will not endanger public safety. The hillside analysis reveals that the access road will be constructed to meet AASHTO standards for a two-way recreational road. Traffic generated by project construction will be regulated by conditions of this permit. With golf courses in urban settings, there is a risk of errant shots endangering the public. The remote setting of the Totem Creek Course diminishes this concern.  

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

    No. We find that the proposed totem Creek Golf Course will not decrease property values in the neighboring area. We note that it has been observed in other jurisdictions that the location of a golf course seems to support establishment and maintenance of stable residential development. Location of a golf course provides an attractive opportunity to coordinate nearby residential development with the amenity/recreational value of the course. It is therefore probable that in the long term the course may contribute to an increase in property values in the neighboring area.

    We also find that the proposed golf course, if developed generally as proposed, will not be out of harmony with the neighboring area. The golf course will convert over 100 acres of forest to a managed recreational environment and bring irrevocable change to the area.

    However, the course has been designed to be in harmony with the neighboring area. Native vegetation will be retained where possible. Fairway widths are reduced and the course incorporate large areas of less intensively maintained roughs and natural areas. Native plant species will be used extensively for landscaping purposes.

    The course will present no visual impacts to current residents in the neighboring area. The golf course will not be lighted although pathway lighting is permissible. The course will not be visible to nearby neighbors. Additionally, potential noise impacts have been addressed: there will be no outside public address system, and the generator will be housed in a building designed to control noise.

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

    The project has been reviewed for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, the Land Management Plan, and the Juneau Coastal Management Plan.

    The Comprehensive Plan contains 71 policy statements, each of which have a series of "implementing actions" which are directives for carryingout the policy. Reviewers must determine which of these policies are pertinent to the project at hand and then analyze the project against the policies. We have determined that 8 policies are relevant to the golf course development.

    The Comprehensive Plan policies are discussed in the analysis provided in our November 22, 2000 and March 9, 2001 staff reports. As revealed in those reports, we find that the proposed golf course is in conformity with some of the policies, and not in conformance with others. We have determined that there is insufficient information on which to establish conformance with the Comprehensive Plan.

    The Land Management Plan shows the golf course area as immediately available for disposal for use as a golf course. The project is in conformance with this Plan.

    The Juneau Coastal Management Program (JCMP) also contains many enforceable policies against which a project is reviewed. We determined that 17 policies of the JCMP are relevant to the golf course proposal. We find that the project is in conformance with most of the policies. However, as discussed in the analysis provided in the March 9, 2001 staff report, we find insufficient evidence that the Habitat and Air, Land and Water policies will be met. These policies are key to making a finding of consistency with the JCMP. Therefore, we find we do not have sufficient information to conclude that the project will be consistent with the JCMP. Further, we find that the streamside buffers are critical to meeting many of the JCMP policies. We find there is a significant risk of losing the buffers through wind damage. We find there is insufficient evidence upon which to judge the long-term effectiveness of the proposed buffers.

    In addition to the Conditional Use Criteria the commission is requested to consider the Hillside Endorsement Criteria and condition (h) of Assembly Resolution Serial No.1811 associated with the requirement that the management program of the proposed golf course be no less stringent than that required by the golf course certification program of the Audubon Society, taking into account the unique environmental characteristics of Southeast Alaska.

    7. Has the Planning Commission considered the extent to which criteria for the hillside endorsement have been met?

    Yes. The Planning Commission has considered all the criteria listed at CBJ 49.70.260. Based on the review and recommendations of the CBJ Engineering Department regarding road design, site drainage, soil erosion, soil retention, revegetation, and construction schedule, the Commission finds that the criteria for hillside endorsement are met provided the recommended conditions are implemented. The Commission also finds that the Geophysical Hazards Standard of the Juneau Coastal Management Plan (49.70.910) is met through the hillside analysis.

    8. Has the golf course been layed out and designed, and will there be an environment management program which is no less stringent than that required by the golf course certification program of Audubon International?

    No. The Audubon certification programs are designed to protect and enhance wildlife and their habitat and protect natural resources for the benefit of people, wildlife and the game of golf. The programs aim to integrate wildlife conservation, habitat restoration and enhancement, water conservation and water quality protection and other areas of environmental protection with the other objectives of a development.

    The golf course has been designed to avoid wetlands, protect fish habitat with streamside buffers, and to provide an excellent game of golf. The design has not factored in site specific habitat and wildlife information, perhaps the preeminent concern of Audubon. Without a course design which reflects detailed, site specific wildlife study and without a detailed integrated pest management program, the proposal cannot be found commensurate with Audubon certification or with the Audubon Principles of Sustainable Resource Management.

    RECOMMENDATION

    We recommend that the Planning Commission adopt the director’s findings and continue action on the golf course application until such time as the reasonably obtainable information requested from the developer, which is necessary to support positive findings with respect to findings #2,4,6 and 8, is provided to the Community Development Department.

    If after benefit of a public hearing, the Planning Commission determines substantial evidence has been produced to support the required findings, we recommend any approval of the permit be subject to the following conditions.

    PERMIT CONDITIONS

    GENERAL

    1. This Conditional Use permit constitutes authorization for the applicant to seek grading and building permits for golf course construction. The grading permit or permits shall be subject to department review prior to issuance by CBJ Engineering Department.

    2. This permit requires submittal of detailed drawings, surveys, reports and other information required for a grading permit, and as prescribed in the project plan documents and these conditions, prior to issuance of grading permit. It shall be the applicant's responsibility to submit this information so that it may be reviewed contemporaneously to ensure that these construction details properly implement the interrelated design, construction and the management guidelines of the approved plans.

    3. The layout of the 18 hole golf course shall substantially conform to the layout reviewed by the Planning Commission and amended with this permit, which is entitled Totem Creek Golf Course Site, dated August, 2000. The final design drawings of the golf course shall identify the layout of the golf course holes and other improvements, including, but not limited to, drainage and irrigation structures, golf cart paths, and buffers.

    4. Any changes in the project that result in significant changes in the development characteristics of the approved project shall require an amendment to the Conditional Use permit. The scope of the review shall be limited to the request for amendment and any items reasonably related to the request. The Director may approve minor changes to the original permit which do not have significant environmental impacts and are within the spirit and intend of the conditions of the original permit. The Director shall notify the Commission of all minor changes. If the Commission finds that the change is more than minor, the change shall be treated as a permit amendment.

    5. The applicant shall obtain all required federal, state, and local permits and authorizations and shall comply with the conditions of those permits and authorizations.

    6. The project description and plans submitted to the Planning Commission for its October 24 and November 30, 2000 public hearing, as modified by this permit, are incorporated herein as permit conditions and shall be required elements of the project.

    7. The golf course shall be designed, constructed, maintained and operated in conformance with the Environmental Principles for Golf Courses in the United States by the Center for Resource Management and the Audubon International Principles for Sustainable Resource Development. Both sets of Principles are understood to be guidelines representing a philosophy of good environmental design and management rather than specific dictates each of which must be met in each case by the Totem Creek Golf Course.

    8. As part of the grading permit review, the department shall determine that the final construction drawings reflect all of the provisions of the plans approved as part of this Conditional Use permit, the studies and details as required in those plans, the permit conditions approved herein, as well as the Environmental Principles for Golf Courses in the United States and the Principles of Sustainable Resource Development. The department may choose to employ a consultant or consultants to review these submittals. The applicant shall establish a construction escrow account that will reimburse the CBJ for all such professional review costs which may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    a. Engineering inspection and monitoring for all on-site improvements (assumed to require the equivalent of at least 20-40 hours per week during the peak construction period).

    b. Consulting review fees associated with reviewing construction drawings for compliance with permit.

    c. Consulting review fees as may be reasonably required by the City and Borough of Juneau, to ensure compliance with the conditions of the approvals and any other review costs associated with the construction. 

    9. The construction escrow account described in condition 8 above shall be funded by the applicant prior to the start of construction with an initial payment of $25,000. The escrow account shall be replenished by the applicant to a total net balance of at least $25,000 within ten (10) business days of applicant's receipt of written notice from the City and Borough of Juneau that such account has fallen below $15,000. Failure to replenish the escrow account in accordance with this condition shall represent a violation of this approval and will result in a stop-work order being issued on the project.

    10. The applicant shall establish an escrow account that will reimburse the City and Borough of Juneau for all professional review costs subsequent to the granting of the necessary City approvals associated with the continued review, monitoring and associated inspection of the IPM and water monitoring and testing reports by a consultant or consultants chosen by the City.

    The escrow account shall be funded by the applicant prior to the start of construction with an initial payment of $10,000. The escrow account shall be replenished by the applicant to a total net balance of at least $10,000 within ten (10) business days of applicant's receipt of written notice from the City and Borough of Juneau that such account has fallen below $3,000. Failure to replenish the escrow account in accordance with this resolution shall represent a violation of this approval and will result in a stop-work order being issued on the Project.

    PRECONSTRUCTION PHASE

    Grading

    11.Prior to issuance of grading permit, the applicant shall submit a construction and sequencing schedule which defines appropriate phases of clearing and development. Clearing and grading should be staged to minimize the amount and extent of exposed (unstabilized/barren soils) area at any one time. The maximum amount of exposed area at any one time during construction period shall be 25 acres.

    12. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit, drainage plans and necessary support documents, prepared and stamped by a licensed civil engineer, shall be submitted for approval by the Engineering Department.

    13. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit design details according to the approved Erosion and Sediment Control Plan. These submittals shall be prepared and stamped by a licensed civil engineer. The design details must show locations and details of the settling ponds, silt fencing location, construction scheduling, and a maintenance plan for the erosion control devices and other features as required by CBJ Engineering and by the stipulations of the ACMP review relevant to erosion and sediment control. The Plan shall provide for the immediate stabilization of exposed areas following grubbing, rough grading, and shaping and/or other intervals approved by the City Engineer as part of the construction/sequencing schedule.

    Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan

    14.Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the developer shall submit a detailed Wildlife and Habitat Management study which meets the objectives of the October 12, 2000 Icy Straits Environmental Services study plan phase I and II and which substantially conforms with the direction of the plan approved by the Commission and dated October 24, 2000. The results of the study shall be subject to approval by the department. It shall also:

    15. The detailed Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan shall include the following provisions to ensure the planned habitat maintenance and protection measures are followed:

    16. Field investigations as described in the Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan shall be completed prior to the final construction drawings with the intent of adjusting the course design to avoid sensitive habitats mapped in the field and to provide for wildlife corridors and core habitat areas. This condition recognizes that some sensitive areas may be impacted.

    Integrated Pest Management

    17.Prior to issuance of a conditional use permit the applicant shall submit an integrated pest management plan (IPM) that identifies course management units (tees, greens, fairways, roughs, other areas) and details management strategies for each unit. The IPM shall address:

    18.The IPM shall consider and respond to sensitive areas identified within the course boundaries including streams and wetlands by designating no chemical/pesticide application zones as appropriate, including a 200’ no spray zone around Peterson Creek tributaries.

    19.The IPM shall clearly identify fertilizers and chemicals proposed for use along with their toxicity class relative to target and non-target species, mobility, solubility and persistence relative to the species and environments within and adjacent to the course boundaries including Peterson Creek.

    20.The IPM shall include specific provisions for the storage and handling of pesticides, safety procedures, and contingency plan(s) in the event of a spill.

    21. The IPM shall be prepared by a qualified individual or firm experienced in IPM/ITM principles applied in aquatic environments. CBJ reserves the opportunity to contract 3rd party review of the plan at the applicant’s expense per conditions 8, 9 and 10.

    Course Design

    22. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit for the course, the site plans shall be amended to show stream buffers on the anadromous tributaries to Peterson Creek of between 100 feet and 200 feet. One hundred feet shall be considered the minimum buffer width. This width shall be increased if the department determines that field investigations implementing the approved Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan indicate modifications are necessary to support wildlife routes, or if increased buffer width is found by the department as necessary to provide windfirm buffers, to provide additional erosion protection in specific locations or to reduce subsequent wildlife management problems.

    23. Prior to issuance of a grading permit the applicant shall adjust the course design so as to preserve the 1-acre landmark tree stand.

    24. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall engage the services of a professional forester or other qualified professional with demonstrated expertise in the management of riparian buffers to examine soil depth, tree species, size and density, direction of prevailing and storm winds, and the shape and orientation of clearings. The Golf Course Architect shall make adjustments in the course or buffer designs as necessary to minimize, to the extent practicable, the effects of wind on stream buffers and wetland areas.

    25. The practice range, as shown on the plans dated August 2000, shall be relocated so as to avoid impacting wetlands. The revised location shall be reviewed by the department as part of the grading permit.

    26. Removal of vegetation in wetlands shall be minimized to the extent practicable. No stumps shall be removed in wetland areas except where necessary to accommodate road and golf cart paths.

    27. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit for the maintenance building, the applicant shall amend the site plan to provide for circulation to the maintenance building and for the maintenance yard or storage area associated with the maintenance building.

    28. To the extent practicable, irrigation lines should be located to avoid crossing streams and wetlands. To the extent feasible and prudent, at points where irrigation lines cross wetlands and streams, the lines shall be located above ground or under golf cart paths.

    29. Utility corridors, shall, wherever feasible and prudent, be integrated with roads and other transportation corridors.

    Parking and Lighting and Buildings

    30. Prior to the issuance of any grading permit for parking area, the developer shall submit a final parking plan to the department for review and approval by the department.

    31. As part of the final parking plan, the following shall be provided: a maximum of 82 automobile parking spaces sized to meet CBJ Land Use Code requirements, 8 RV spaces and 10 bus spaces. Should the Commission approve a significantly larger number of parking spaces, the final design shall include interior parking lot landscaping.

    32. Prior to issuance of building permits for any structures, a lighting plan shall be submitted to the department for review and approval. All lighting shall be located and shielded so as not to spill over the boundaries of the golf course property. Lighting within the course area, if desired, shall be limited to path lighting along the pathways to enhance winter use.

    33. The application for a building permit for the maintenance building shall describe how the building meets the Audubon International guidelines for the maintenance building construction and management. This demonstration shall be approved prior to issuance of a building permit. The physical arrangement for the storage of chemicals on site shall be approved by the CBJ Fire Marshall.

    Wetland Protection and Preservation

    34. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit for the golf course, the applicant shall submit for department review and approval, a wetland management plan. The plan shall describe TCI’s approach to maintaining wetland hydrology and the functional characteristics of the wetlands located on and adjacent to the course. Elements of the wetland plan shall include: periodic inspections, maintenance of proposed vegetative conditions, restoration or repair of damaged areas or enhancement plants which fail, and monitoring and record keeping.

    HILLSIDE DEVELOPMENT ENDORSEMENT

    35. Prior to any site preparation or construction activity, the applicant shall obtain a grading permit issued by the Community Development Department.

    36. Prior to commencement of any grading on the roadway alignment, the applicant shall identify and flag the limits of cut and fill areas for review and approval by CBJ Engineering Department.

    37. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit a detailed development schedule for excavation, utility installation, erosion/sediment control devices installation, slope protection/vegetation placement, and project completion.

    38. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit a detailed erosion /sediment control plan which identifies types and locations of control devices, how these would be monitored and maintained, and how construction would be phased such that large areas of soils are not exposed at the same time.

    39. At the CBJ Engineer’s discretion, the grading/excavation work may be halted during periods of very wet soil conditions.

    40. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit a detailed site grading plan which shows how excavation and exposure of disturbed soil would be minimized and how the effects thereof would be mitigated.

    41. If any material is moved and stockpiled on the project site, the applicant shall identify such locations and develop appropriate measures for soil erosion/sediment controls which shall be reviewed and approved by the CBJ Engineering Department.

    42. The applicant shall place soil matting or hydro mulching on all cut and fill slopes immediately after slopes are exposed or graded. All soil matting and hydro mulching shall be left in place until permanent vegetation has been established.

    43. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, a bond in the amount of $25,000 shall be submitted to CDD to guarantee maintenance of erosion control devices.

    44. Prior to issuance of grading permit, a bond in the amount of $5,000 shall be submitted to CDD to guarantee the replanting of vegetation as necessary to fill in any bare spots that might occur one year after a full growing season.

    45. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit to CDD a guarantee bond of $100,000 to insure the roadway and required improvements are completed as designed and approved.

    46. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit to CDD an inspection fee deposit of $10,000. Any unused funds from this deposit shall be returned to the applicant upon completion of the project.

    47. All mulching and planting shall be in accordance with CBJ Standard Construction Specifications.

    48. Prior to the commencement of operations, the applicant shall post the speed limit of 35 miles per hour along the roadway and at 15 miles per hour at the curves and/or hills which require reduced speeds. Signs shall be posted in accordance with AASHTO standards for appropriate distance to reduced speed areas.

    CONSTRUCTION PHASE

    49. Clearing and grubbing shall be limited to between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

    50. Prior to the commencement of construction of the course, the applicant shall submit to the department a traffic plan for the hauling debris from the site and sand to the site for approval by the department and DOT. The plan shall include, but not be limited to, signage, assignment and location of flaggers, road cleaning and truck wash down facilities, and the coordination of the routing and timing of construction traffic to school and peak hour periods.

    51. In the event that any prehistoric, historic, or archaeological evidence is discovered during course construction, the operator shall stop work promptly in the immediate area and notify the CBJ Community Development Department and the Alaska State Historic Preservation Officer.

    52. For course construction, the applicant shall employ only a qualified contractor who is experienced in golf course construction.

    53. The applicant shall make at least weekly inspections of all erosion control measures, and shall also inspect all erosion and sedimentation control measures before and after each rain event. Any deficiencies shall be immediately corrected to the satisfaction of the CBJ Engineering Department or designee.

    54. The applicant shall retain a qualified golf course superintendent as soon as possible after financing is secured and prior to construction to oversee implementation of sustainable practices in the development of the course as reflected in the approved plans.

    55. Prior to the burning of stumps or other clearing debris, the applicant shall obtain a burn permit from the CBJ Fire Department.

    56. Construction activities shall be phased and sequenced to ensure efficient and environmentally sound development of the site and shall be completed pursuant to a construction plan approved by CBJ Engineering.

    57. Soils exposed after grubbing and grading shall be stabilized immediately by hydromulching or as otherwise stipulated by the Engineering Department.

    58. A qualified inspector, approved by the Engineering Department, shall be present at pre-grading conferences and during any grading operations that are in or adjacent to areas where natural vegetation is to be preserved, and periodically during construction, to ensure that sensitive resources designated for preservation are properly protected.

    59. During construction, wetlands, stream buffers and other natural that are adjacent to grading areas shall be temporarily fenced with stakes and plastic or otherwise protected to prevent grading or storage of heavy equipment or building materials in these habitats.

    60. Entry into stream buffers and wetlands shall be prohibited except for necessary construction or management related activities, such as surveying or staking.

    OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE PHASE

    61. Prior to operation, the applicant shall obtain a sign permit for all golf course signage.

    62. The parking lot shall be chip sealed or surfaced similarly to the access road.

    63. Should power lines be installed, they shall be located underground.

    64. Stationary mechanical equipment shall be housed in enclosures designed to attenuate noise so as to avoid causing disturbance to adjacent property owners.

    65. Prior to operation, the Water Quality and Conservation Management Plan shall be submitted to the department for review and approval.

    66. The applicant shall ensure that any proposed trails on the site have specified access points and shall include interpretive signs. The signposts on the trails shall educate users about the species to be observed on the trails and their value to a balanced ecology.

    67. Human intrusion into the habitat protection areas shall be restricted/controlled through measures to be specified in the detailed Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan.

    68. Quarterly, or as specified in specific plans, the Golf Course Superintendent shall file with the department a record of implementation of the IPM, the Wildlife and Habitat program, the wetland preservation program, and water quality monitoring program. After two years of operation, this condition may be modified by staff to reduce or eliminate reporting requirements.

    BONDING

    69. Prior to issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall post a bond, cash deposit, or other City approved security to provide for site reclamation if the applicant is unable to complete the project. The amount shall be sufficient to enable the CBJ to complete the necessary work. The department reserves the right to seek forfeiture of the financial warranty in whole or in part in the interest of protecting the environmental, health, and general welfare requirements of the CBJ if it determines that the applicant has violated the obligations or requirements of the conditional use permit. The amount of the warranty shall be established by the Planning Commission prior to issuance of a grading permit.

    70. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall post a bond or other City approved security, in the amount of $100,000, to guarantee implementation and maintenance of erosion control devices and the replanting of vegetation as required. This performance bond may be reduced based on percent completion as requested by the applicant and approved by the City Engineer, but not to an amount less than 25% of the initial amount. This 25% shall be retained as a maintenance bond for a period of two (2) years from the date of completion.

    CBJ RESPONSIBILITY

    1. The Planning Commission will recommend to the Assembly that consideration of the extension of the Douglas Highway be given careful consideration in the land negotiations. Specifically, the Assembly should consider retaining an easement to accommodate future alignment of the extension.

    2. The Planning Commission will recommend that the Assembly consider the winter use of this property. TCI has noted the difficulties in managing such use and protecting the turf. It may be that, subject to reasonable rules adopted by TCI, residents could use the golf course for the limited purposes of walking and cross county skiing.