DATE: June 5, 2001
TO: Planning Commission
FROM: Gary Gillette, Planner
Community Development Department
FILE NO.: VAR2001-00009

PROPOSAL: A variance to allow parking to be greater than 100 feet from a residential use.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant: Steve Landvik

Property Owner: H & H Management

Property Address: Building: 401 South Franklin

Parking: 345 Gastineau Avenue

Legal Description: Building: Lot 5A, Block 1L, 7A Addition

Parking: Lot 8A & 10, Block 2, Pacific Coast Addition

Parcel Code Number: Building: 1-C07-0-I01-006-1

Parking: 1-C07-0-H02-008-1; -010-0

Site Size: Building: 2,709.49 Square Feet

Parking: 16,402.00 Square Feet

Zoning: Building & Parking: MU, Mixed Use

Utilities: CBJ Water & Sewer

Access: Building: S. Franklin Street

Parking: Gastineau Avenue

Existing Land Use: Building: Retail/Residential

Parking: Vacant

Surrounding Land Use: North Residential

South South Franklin Street

East - Retail/Residential

West - Retail/Residential

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant is currently constructing a two-story retail and residential building on South Franklin Street.

 BACKGROUND

Parking for the retail use will be provided at the Rock Dump served by a shuttle van pursuant to a variance (VAR1998-00016) previously approved by the Board of Adjustment. The Board did not approve the parking for the residential use to be located at the Rock Dump.

The applicant has made arrangements to provide parking on a lot accessed from Gastineau Avenue and approximately 450 feet from the residential use. This distance is measured along a pedestrian route of public sidewalks and stairs. The Land Use Code requires parking to be within 100 feet of multi-family residential units. Thus the variance request.

The proposed residential use features two two-bedroom apartments. The parking requirement is 1.5 parking spaces per apartment equaling 3 parking spaces. The project received a variance (VAR1998-00016) to reduce the parking to the Parking District-1 standard. Therefore the 3 residential parking spaces may be reduced by 60% thus requiring only one parking space for the residential use.

ANALYSIS

Variance Requirements

Under CBJ'49.20.250 where hardship and practical difficulties result from an extraordinary situation or unique physical feature affecting only a specific parcel of property or structures lawfully existing thereon and render it difficult to carry out the provisions of Title 49, the Board of Adjustment may grant a variance in harmony with the general purpose and intent of Title 49. A variance may vary any requirement or regulation of Title 49 concerning dimensional and other design standards, but not those concerning the use of land or structures, housing density, lot coverage, or those establishing construction standards. A variance may be granted after the prescribed hearing and after the Board of Adjustment has determined:

1. That the relaxation applied for or a lesser relaxation specified by the Board of Adjustment would give substantial relief to the owner of the property involved and be more consistent with justice to other property owners.

The proposed residential use would be located on the second floor of a mixed use building located on South Franklin Street. There is no space on the parcel to accommodate the required parking. The applicant has made arrangements to provide the one parking space required on a separate lot greater than 100 feet from the apartments. If the relaxation requested were not granted the apartments could not be built. There is no lessor relaxation than that requested which would provide substantial relief to the owner and be more consistent with justice to other property owners. Thus this criterion is met.

2. That relief can be granted in such a fashion that the intent of this title will be observed and the public safety and welfare be preserved.

The intent of Title 49 is found in Section 49.05.100. this section describes several concepts as the intent of the title: to ensure that future growth and development in the city and borough is in accord with the values of its residents, to identify and secure, for present and future residents, the beneficial impacts of growth while minimizing the negative impacts, to provide open space for light and air, Title 49 considers the values of the resident, both current and future.

The Land Use Code allows off site parking if it is within 100 feet of a multi-family residential use. The lot proposed for providing parking for this facility is approximately 450 feet from the residential use.

The downtown area is a compact neighborhood with residential, retail and office uses. The density of development does not always allow parking to be located immediately adjacent to the uses it serves. Many residents in downtown rent spaces in the downtown parking garage or private lots. A short walk from parking to businesses, offices, or residences is a way of life in downtown. The parking lot proposed to serve the subject residences is located at a reasonable walking distance. Thus this criterion is met.

3. That the authorization of the variance will not injure nearby property.

There has been no evidence presented to date that would indicate that granting the variance as requested would injure nearby property. Thus this criterion is met.

4. That the variance does not authorize uses not allowed in the district involved.

The granting of the requested variance would authorize uses not allowed in the MU zoning district. Thus this criterion is met.

5. That compliance with the existing standards would:

(A) Unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property for a permissible principal use;

The applicant has permits and variances that allow the construction of a retail building with parking provided at the Rock Dump served by a shuttle van. This retail use is a permissible principal use allowed in the MU zoning district. Denial of the variance request would not prevent the owner from using the property. Thus this sub-criterion is not met.

(B) Unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property in a manner which is consistent as to scale, amenities, appearance or features, with existing development in the neighborhood of the subject property;

Most of the commercial/residential developments along South Franklin Street do not have on-site parking. Many are grand fathered based on their date of construction and the parking ordinances in place during that time. Most newer developments have provided parking off-site often receiving variances to distance from the use. Compliance with the existing standards would prevent the applicant from developing the property in a manner which is consistent as to scale, amenities, appearances, and uses of others in the downtown area. Thus this sub-criterion is met.

(C) Be unnecessarily burdensome because unique physical features of the property render compliance with the standards unreasonably expensive;

The property on which the proposed building is located has access onto South Franklin Street only. The property is steep and relatively small. While in theory one could construct parking on the first level and building above, this particular site is not wide enough to accommodate parking that would not back out onto the street. Therefore the only reasonable alternative would be to place parking on a lot in the vicinity of the use. Thus this sub-criterion is met.

or

(D) Because of pre-existing nonconforming conditions on the subject parcel the grant of the variance would not result in a net decrease in overall compliance with the Land Use Code, CBJ Title 49, or the Building Code, CBJ Title 19, or both.

There are no preexisting nonconforming conditions on the subject property. Thus this sub-criterion does not apply.

Criterion 5 is met because sub-criteria (B) and (C) are met.

6. That a grant of the variance would result in more benefits than detriments to the neighborhood.

There are no apparent detriments to the neighborhood as a result of granting the requested variance. The benefit to the neighborhood and downtown in general is that two residences would be created that may improve the vitality of the downtown community. Thus this criterion is met.

 

JUNEAU COASTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM (JCMP)

The JCMP was reviewed relative to the variance request. It was found that no enforceable policies of the JCMP apply to the project as a result of the granting the variance as requested.

FINDINGS

CBJ'49.20.240, Board of Adjustment Action, states that the Board of Adjustment shall hear all variance requests and shall either approve, conditionally approve, modify or deny the request based on the criteria in CBJ'49.20.250.

Under CBJ '49.20.220, Scheduling and Fee, the director makes the following determination:

1. Is the application for the requested variance complete?

Yes. The application contains the information necessary to conduct a full review of the proposed operations. The application submittal by the applicant, including the appropriate fees, substantially conform to the requirements of CBJ code Chapters 49.15. Additionally, notice was provided in the Juneau Empire under Your Municipality which ran on (Insert date). Notice was mailed to owners of record of all property within 500 feet of the subject property.

Under CBJ'49.70.900 (b)(3), General Provisions, the director makes the following Juneau Coastal Management Program consistency determination:

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

Not Applicable. The JCMP was reviewed relative to the variance request. It was found that no enforceable policies of the JCMP apply to the project as a result of the granting the variance as requested.

3. Does the variance as requested, meet the criteria of Section 49.20.250 Grounds for Variances?

Yes. The requested variance meets the six criteria as contained in Section 49.20.250, Grounds for Variances.

 

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that the Board of Adjustment adopt the director's findings and staff analysis which concludes that the grounds for variances, as identified above, are met and therefore the variance be granted subject to the following condition.

1. Prior to issuance of a temporary or final certificate of occupancy, the applicant shall provide to CDD a lease agreement between the owners of the H&H Building and the Channel View Apartment Building for one parking space for a minimum of 30 years.