DATE: January 12, 2001

TO: Planning Commission

FROM: Sylvia A. Kreel, Planner
Community Development Department

FILE NO.: USE2000-0082- Conditional Use

PROPOSAL: Conditional Use permit to expand a dock used for transportation of freight.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant: Channel Construction

Property Owner: Channel Landfill, Inc.

Property Address: 2681 Channel Drive

Legal Description: ATS 13 & 1503

Parcel Code Number: 7-B09-0-101-005-0

Site Size: 34,107 Square Feet

Zoning: Waterfront Industrial

Utilities: CBJ Water

Access: Channel Drive

Existing Land Use: Cargo transport

Surrounding Land Use: North - Channel Drive

South - Gastineau Channel

East - Waterfront Industrial

West - Waterfront Industrial

PROJECT DESCRIPTION & BACKGROUND

The applicant requests a Conditional Use permit for the expansion of an existing waterfront industrial dock. The proposed expansion will add approximately 1300 square feet of dock space and will provide a 60 foot wide ramp from the water to the dock. In addition to the dock construction, the applicant plans to dredge the area 15 feet below Mean Low Low Water (MLLW).

The site is currently used by Channel construction for cargo transport. The main cargoes transported across the dock in recent years have been exports of scrap metal, imports and exports of logs, export of construction materials, and transfer of construction and logging equipment. The applicant expects these activities to continue after the expansion. The site is operational Monday through Saturday. The hours are typically 6 am to 6 pm, though they are periodically extended to accommodate a project. At peak times, during the summer months, the barge makes 2 trips a month.

The dredge work is intended to allow tugboats with a deep draft to access the dock at all tides. Providing this flexibility in shipment timing is the primary intent of the project. The nature of the business will stay primarily the same as it currently exists with added flexibility. It is the hope of the applicant that this additional flexibility will result in additional business.

The site includes approximately .67 acres of land, which is used for storage of materials to be transferred, as well as circulation and parking. A 60-foot by 70-foot building is located on the site. The ground floor is a shop for heavy equipment repair and maintenance. There is an apartment for the on-site watchman on the second floor. The building has electric, sewer and water hook up.

The primary use of the site is for cargo transfer. Associated with this use is storage of material to be transferred. The proposed expansion is covered under the land use description 9.600, Marine commercial facilities including fisheries support, commercial freight, passenger traffic and similar uses. The use of the dock could be considered commercial freight. This land use is designated as a conditional use in the Waterfront Industrial Zone. The site is also used for the storage of construction equipment and construction trailers. This is an incidental use primarily during the winter months when the equipment is not in use.

ANALYSIS

Project Site & Design-

The site is a fairly typical industrial site. The areas of storage, parking and circulation are not specifically defined allowing the flexibility to accommodate several different storage and maneuvering scenarios depending on the type of cargo. The Proposed extension will expand the dock and ramp to the limits of the seaward property line, increasing the size of the dock by approximately 1300 square feet. The ramp is currently on the southwest corner of the site. The new plan would relocate the ramp on the southeast corner and widen it to 60 feet. The plans submitted show the use of metal fender piles and sheet pile facing for the dock area. The fender piles will be driven into the ground to support the dock. The applicant’s representative has indicated that wood pilings may be used instead of the metal sheet piles. Sheet pile cut off walls, designed by an engineer will be constructed perpendicular to the channel. This will protect the adjacent properties from the dredge work.

The dredged area will be to a depth of –15 MLLW and will extend an average of 215 feet into tidelands currently owned by the state of Alaska. The Department of Natural Resources is in the process of transferring these tidelands over to the city. The extent of the dredged area includes approximately .75 acres and about 7,500 cubic yards of material. The existing piles that support the existing dock are insufficient to support the dock after the dredging occurs. The new piles will be specifically designed to accommodate the dredging. The quality of the dredged material has not yet been determined. The presence of pollutants will determine the method used to dredge and the location of disposal of the dredged material. The applicant is currently working with the Division of Environmental Conservation on testing the material.

Two mooring dolphins are proposed off the dock, in state tidelands, approximately 60 and 120 feet out from the dock. The dolphins will allow barges greater security while loading and unloading.

Traffic – Existing traffic in and out of the site is made up of dump trucks, construction equipment and passenger vehicles. The applicant does not anticipate a significant increase in traffic resulting from the additional dock space nor from the added flexibility. All traffic from the site exits onto Channel Drive and than onto Egan at the traffic light. With the closing of the southern entrance on to Egan, traffic is forced past the businesses along Channel Drive and past the popular fishing spot adjacent to DIPAC. However, use of the traffic light and acceleration lane at the traffic light definitely adds an element of safety that was not present under the previous traffic pattern. The traffic is not routed through any residential neighborhoods at this end of the route.

Parking and Circulation – The building is 4,200 square feet. At one parking space per 1,000 square feet, the applicant is required to provide 4 parking spaces, plus 2 for the apartment. The applicant notes that there are 2 employees assigned to the shop on a permanent basis. However, approximately 4 employees may be present for work on specific projects. Currently, parking is not formally designated. However there is sufficient area on the site to accommodate 6 parking spaces. As with many industrial sites, the use does not attract members of the public to the site. As such, a formally designated parking area may not be necessary. The 6 parking spaces required would not change as a result of the dock expansion. No additional employees are anticipated. Access for passenger vehicles is available both west and east of the building. However, truck traffic use the access on the west side of the building. The circulation will continue in this same fashion after the addition.

Noise – Noise has not been a concern in the past with the existing operation. The surrounding area is industrial in nature. In the past, CBJ has not received any complaints from the residential development across the channel regarding noise at the subject property. It is anticipated that noise will continue at the current level and will not be of significant concern to the neighbors.

In water work, which is part of the construction of this project, must occur during low tides and during certain time windows in order to minimize impact on fish habitat. The applicant anticipates needing about 2 months for construction. However, in order to accommodate the construction windows, the construction may occur in phases over several more months. Title 42 of the CBJ code prohibits excessive noise between the hours of 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM. Should the applicant wish to take advantage of low tide opportunities which fall between these hours for construction purposes, the applicant will need to request an exemption form the city manager.

Landscaping –No landscaping currently exists on the site. Section 49.50 of the land Use Code requires a 5% vegetative cover in the Waterfront Industrial zone. As such, the situation is currently non-conforming. The code notes that a non-conforming situation can not be aggravated. However, the code does not give any clear guidance as to when a non-conforming site should be brought into conformance with the landscaping regulations. Typically, in the expansion of an existing use, staff looks at the scale of the expansion relative to what is existing and looks to see if there are any opportunities to provide vegetative cover at a scale appropriate for the expansion. In this instance, the applicant is constructing approximately 1300 square feet of dock area. This is a small expansion relative to the overall site, which measures approximately 29,185 square feet. Five percent of 1300 would equate to 65 square feet of vegetative cover. The area between the electrical box and the right of way measures approximately 96 square feet. While the site will still be non-conforming as far as vegetative cover is concerned, landscaping even this small section will be a move toward compliance. Landscaping in this location would be visible from the road and would help define the entrance into the site.

Exterior Lighting – Currently, lighting for cargo handling and docking operations is provided by lights on the tugboats and barges. The applicant does not have any immediate plans for additional lighting. However, the applicant notes that it may be necessary in the future. If it is provided in the future it should be shielded and used only during docking and cargo handling. This will minimize the impacts of lights on residences across the channel. The applicant is working with the National Coast Guard on providing appropriate navigation lighting on the 2 dolphins. These are necessary to ensure navigational safety for both the applicant’s operation and neighboring businesses. There are security lights presently on the building. These will remain as they currently exist.

Public Health or Safety – There is no evidence to suggest that public health and safety will be impacted by the proposed dock expansion.

Property Value or Neighborhood Harmony - There is no evidence to suggest that property values or neighborhood harmony will be impacted by the proposed dock expansion. As noted previously, the properties on either side of the site are industrial in nature. Engineered cut off walls on east and west sides of the property will protect adjoining properties from the dredging activity. Traffic in the area is minimal and noise generated at the site has not been sufficient to generate complaints.

Conformity With Adopted Plans –The proposed project is an expansion of an existing waterfront commercial/industrial use in the Waterfront Industrial zoning district. This use is supported in this location in the following sections of the Comprehensive Plan.

Policy 2.14:

  • It is the policy of CBJ to facilitate availability of sufficient and suitable acreage for port facilities and to work closely with the public and private sectors to facilitate commerce and enjoyment of the waterfront through development of well designated port facilities.
  • Implementation Action 2.14.5:

  • Over the near term, encourage in filling and completion of existing port facilities prior to the establishment of new sites.
  • Implementation Action 2.14.7:

  • Protect from land use conflict and /or displacement, potential new or expanded port and water dependent and water related industrial, commercial, governmental, and recreational facilities.
  • Subarea Map 5 shows the site with a designated land use category of Waterfront Commercial/ Industrial. This designation is defined as follows:

  • Waterfront Commercial/Industrial. Land to be used primarily for water-dependant and water related commercial and industrial uses such as marine transportation terminals, small boat marinas, marine freight handling areas, fish buying and processing plants and maritime parks.
  • Juneau Coastal Management Program –

    The proposed development has not yet gone through the state's ACMP review. The applicant has submitted the proposal to the US Army Corps of Engineers. However, ACMP review will not occur until after test results of the dredge material are complete. In addition to the construction of the dock, the ACMP review will include review of methods used to dredge and the location the dredged material is to be deposited. The CBJ, as the local Coastal District, will review these aspects of the project for compliance with the JCMP through the ACMP process. At this point, for purposes of the Conditional Use permit, the scope of the JCMP review will be limited only to the dock, as it is the expansion of the dock which necessitates the Conditional Use Permit, not the dredging. The proposed dock expansion was reviewed for compliance with CBJ 49.70.900, the Juneau Coastal Management Plan. The analysis reveals that enforceable policies of the JCMP found at 49.70.960 Special Waterfront Areas apply to the project. The project site is located within the Special Waterfront District shown on Map 3J entitled: 3.5 Mile Egan Drive - South. The enforceable policies of JCMP Section 49.70.960 (a) and (b) apply. The proposed structure would be used for a commercial industrial use which specifically needs water access for cargo transfer. Section 49.70.960(b)(1)(B) specifically allows for floats, docks, jetties, groins, bulkheads, ramps, shore defense works, piers, wharfs, dolphins and other structures needed to provide access between shore and water body or to protect and stabilize the shoreline. Section 49.70.960(b)(1)(C) specifically allows for all forms and structures related to handling and storage of cargo which arrived by water and / or is intended to depart by water, including storage yards, warehouses, cranes and similar machinery, and marine railways.

    The CBJ has previously determined that the habitat values within the Special Waterfront Districts are low and that the tidelands are relatively unproductive and are more suitable for coastal development than other areas. As such, a determination of consistency with Section 49.70.950 (Habitat) of the JCMP can be made provided the following stipulations are met.

    Section 49.70.960(a)(4) allows that uses identified as permissible in this article may be conditioned, through the coastal management consistency review process, to be consistent with, or conform to, the habitat standards contained in subsections (b) and (c) of Section 49.70.950 Habitats. The following stipulations are intended to address this portion of the applicable enforceable policies of the JCMP.

    1. Non-creosote Pilings. No pentachlorophenol preservatives may be used on pilings and wooden structures in marine waters. Any other preservative on pilings and wooden structures must be applied by pressure injection.

    2. Disturbance of tidelands must be kept to the minimum necessary to practicably accomplish the work. Operation of machinery and equipment on tidelands must be limited to the smallest area practicable. Entry of fines and suspendable material into the ocean must be kept to the minimum practicable.

    3. Reasonable precautions and controls must be used to prevent incidental and accidental discharge of petroleum products.

    4. Material such as absorbent pads and booms must be available on-site, and must be used to contain and cleanup any petroleum product spilled as a result of construction activity.

    1. FINDINGS

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

      1. Whether the application is complete; and,

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

      3. Whether the development as proposed will comply with the other requirements of this chapter.

      The commission shall adopt the director's determination on the three items above unless it finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the director's determination was in error, and states its reasoning for each finding with particularity.

      CBJ '49.15.330 (f), Commission Determinations, states that even if the commission adopts the director's determination, it may nonetheless deny or condition the permit if it concludes, based upon its own independent review of the information submitted at the public hearing, that the development will more probably than not:

      1. Materially endanger the public health or safety;

      2. Substantially decrease the value of or be out of harmony with property in the neighboring area; or,

      3. Not be in general conformity with the comprehensive plan, thoroughfare plan, or other officially adopted plans.

      Per CBJ '49.15.330 (e)(1)(A through C), Review of Director's Determinations, the director makes the following findings on the proposed development:

      1. Is the application for the requested Conditional Use permit complete?

      Yes. We find the application contains the information necessary to conduct a full review of the proposed operations. The application submittal by the applicant, including the appropriate fees, substantially conform to the requirements of CBJ code Chapters 49.15.

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

      Yes. The proposed expansion is covered under the land use described in Section 9.600 of the Table of Permissible Uses: Marine commercial facilities including fisheries support, commercial freight, passenger traffic and similar uses. Specifically, the use of the dock is related to commercial freight. 9.600 is designated as a conditional use in the Table of Permissible Uses.

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

      Yes. The proposed development complies with the other requirements of this chapter.

      Notice was provided in the Juneau Empire under Your Municipality, which ran on January 12, 2001. A public notice sign was posted on the site at least 14 days prior to the meeting and notice was mailed to owners of record of all property within 500 feet of the subject property.

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

      No. There is no evidence to suggest that the dock expansion will endanger the public health or safety.

    2. Will the proposed development substantially decrease the value of or be out of harmony with property in the neighboring area?
  • No. As discussed in the analysis section of this report, there is no evidence to suggest that the dock expansion will decrease the value of or be out of harmony with property in the neighboring area.

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

    Yes. As discussed above, the proposal will be in general conformity with the Comprehensive

    Plan, which supports the development of waterfront commercial industrial sites in
    appropriate locations.

    As discussed above, the site is currently not in conformance with the code requirement for 5% vegetative cover. The addition of landscaping between the electrical box and the road will provide a minimal amount of vegetative cover, which is appropriate for the scale of the proposed expansion.

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

    Yes. The proposed dock expansion does comply with the JCMP subject to conditions.

  • RECOMMENDATION

    We recommend that the Planning Commission adopt the director's analysis and findings and grant the requested Conditional Use permit allowing the expansion of a dock, which is used, for cargo transfer.

    We recommend this approval be made subject to the following conditions:

     

    1. Non-creosote Pilings. No pentachlorophenol preservatives may be used on pilings and wooden structures in marine waters. Any other preservative on pilings and wooden structures, including creosote, must be applied by pressure injection.

    2. Disturbance of tidelands must be kept to the minimum necessary to practicably accomplish the work. Operation of machinery and equipment on tidelands must be limited to the smallest area practicable. Entry of fines and suspendable material into the ocean must be kept to the minimum practicable.

    3. Reasonable precautions and controls must be used to prevent incidental and accidental discharge of petroleum products.

    4. Material such as absorbent pads and booms must be available on-site, and must be used to contain and cleanup any petroleum product spilled.

    5. Lighting shall be mounted and shielded so as to not project across the channel or onto Egan Express. Lights shall only be used during active use of the dock.

    6. The area between the electrical box and the right of way shall be landscaped.