DATE: November 8, 2000

TO: Planning Commission

FROM: Tim Maguire, Principal Planner
Community Development Department

FILE NO.: TXT2000-00001

PROPOSAL: Text Amendment to change the Table of Permissible Uses to allow Major
Utility Facilities as a Conditional Use in MU, Mixed Use, Zoning District.


This ordinance considers amending the Land Use Code to allow major utility facilities as a Conditional Use in MU, Mixed Use, and Zoning District. This proposed ordinance amendment came about because of a proposal by AEL&P to locate an electrical substation in the vicinity of the Franklin Dock. The purpose of the substation would be to provide power to cruise ships berthing at this dock. Utilizing this excess hydroelectric power will allow the cruise ships to turn off their own heating and electrical generators and thereby reduce air emissions while in port. A more detailed description of this proposal is included in the attached letter from Cory Hildebrand, VP-Energy Resource Development, AEL&P, dated November 6, 2000 (See Attachment A).

The Table of Permissible Uses in the Land Use Code, CBJ 49.25.300, determines which uses are permitted in a zoning district. At present, the Table of Permissible Uses (TPU) allows this use and similar major utilities in all zoning district except the MU, Mixed Use Zoning District. This ordinance addresses what we what we see as a deficiency in the code.


Mixed Use District

As noted above, electrical substations and similar major utilities are not a permitted use in this MU, mixed-use zoning district. They are, however, allowed in all other zoning districts, even the
MU2, Mixed Use Zoning District.

In a review of land use codes from other communities, utilities are handled in a very similar manner as the CBJ Land Use Code. These codes make a distinction with regard to permitting procedure between major utilities, such as substations, and minor utilities. However, in the two

codes referenced, major utilities are allowed in all zoning districts (See Attachment B & C). The reasoning for allowing these uses in all districts is that uses such as electrical substation or sewer pump stations may be needed in any area of the community depending on how development occurs. It may have been the thought of the crafters of the CBJ Code that the Mixed Use area represents the older fully developed area of Downtown, and that there would be no need for these types of uses in the future. The proposal being presented AEL&P points out there still can be a legitimate need for these type of uses in the MU, Mixed Use Zoning District. Also, there are considerable Mixed Use lands that remain undeveloped. 

Type of Approval

The TPU also establishes the procedures applicable to each use, and whether the use is allowed through department approval, an Allowable Use Permit or a Conditional Use Permit. This proposed amendment to the TPU proposes that these uses be allowed with a Conditional Use Permit in the MU Zone.

 Conditional Use Permits

A conditional use is a use that may or may not be appropriate in a particular zoning district according to the character, intensity or size of that or surrounding uses. The conditional use permit procedure is intended to afford the Commission the flexibility necessary to make determinations appropriate to individual sites. The Commission may attach to the permit those conditions listed in subsection (g) of this section as well as any further conditions necessary to mitigate external adverse impacts. If the Commission determines that these impacts cannot be satisfactorily overcome, the permit will be denied. The Commission may attach conditions to a Conditional Use Permit which addresses a much wider range of concerns including Asuch other conditions as may be reasonably necessary pursuant to the standards listed...@.

Conditional Use Permits are more discretionary than Allowable Use Permits.

Allowable Use Permits

Another option for permitting this use in the MU, Mixed Use District is an Allowable Use Permit. An Allowable Use Permit is established for uses allowed in a particular zoning district but which, due to size, intensity or particular characteristics are reviewed and approved by the commission. To ensure the compatibility of the use with the location, the commission may attach conditions to the permit to help mitigate external impacts (CBJ 49.15.320). Conditions

that may be attached to an Allowable Use Permit are limited to those listed below:

1. Development Schedule

2. Use

3. Owners Association

4. Dedications

5. Performance Bonds

6. Commitment Letter

7. Covenants

8. Revocation of Permits

9. Habitat

(A) Eagle Nest

(B) Wetlands

10. Sound

11. Screening

12. Drainage

The Commission is to approve Allowable Use Permit applications unless it finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one or more of a limited sets of criteria have not been met.

The presumption is that allowable uses will comply with the requirements of the Land Use Code and that they will therefore be approved. This option does not allow the ability to judge the suitability of a site for the use, only to place a limited number of conditions on the proposal.

Conditional Use Preference

In the CBJ Land Use Code, major utilities are permitted with the Conditional Use Permit procedure in all zoning districts except the I, Industrial district. Major utilities in the I, Industrial District, require a Department Approval or Allowable Use permit, dependant on size. The rational for this permitting scheme is that major utilities may have features (i.e. size, noise, odors) that are incompatible with surrounding uses allowed within the zoning districts. A prime example would be location of a major utility within the one remaining vacant lot in an established residential subdivision. This use may be out of harmony with this neighborhood, even with the addition of a number of conditions. However, the use may be compatible on

another vacant parcel in the same vicinity.

The MU, Mixed Use District is a district that allows a mix of commercial and high density residential development. It is located in the Downtown area where development is generally high density and located on relatively small lots. It is reasonable to expect that there would be

sites within this area that would be incompatible for siting major utilities. It is staff opinion that the Planning Commission needs the flexibility of the Conditional Use Permit procedure to approve these type of uses in the MU, Mixed district.




Comprehensive Plan

The Comprehensive Plan addresses this proposal only indirectly in the following policy:



We recommend that the Planning Commission recommend the Assembly to adopt TXT2000-0001, Ordinance Serial No. 2000-46, an ordinance amending the Land Use Code Table of Permissible Uses to allow Major Utility Facilities as a Conditional Use in MU, Mixed Use, Zoning Districts.