Juneau, Alaska (KINY) A joint meeting of the CBJ Assembly and Planning Commission turned into a sounding board for future development in the borough.
Planning Board Chairman Ben Haight said the Commission had fewer applications last year. He reported on accomplishments this past year that include several proposed ordinances. Downtown Housing, the Blueprint Downtown Plan and the Auke Bay Plan are key issues they are currently working on.
CBJ Planning Staff is working on a new zoning district for downtown that could eliminate variances and other regulations. Setbacks, lot coverage and height are among the issues. The CBJ plans to hold several public meetings downtown in the next two months to get feedback from residents.
"These neighborhoods are ones people want to see preserved and zoning is a way to do that."
There could also be zoning change requests for the business district and the waterfront.
Assembly member Michele Bonnet-Hale raised concerns about the Auke Bay Plan. The staff has held several public meetings. One of the main concerns of the public is protection of views of the harbor. 32 people attended the last meeting.
Mayor Beth Weldon said an online survey for the Blueprint Downtown Plan has been down since November. A final public meeting on the visioning process is scheduled for Thursday, January 24. CBJ staff pointed out several public hearings will be held once they begin work on development of the downtown plan.
The Planning Commission has also worked to get input about the CBJ's Capital Improvement Plan earlier in the process.
"I think the planning commission has a vital role so there aren't these blind spots. We tried to be more systematic in raising issues and things we think matters," member Paul Voelkers said.
Urban agriculture and subdivision streets, accessory apartments, and common wall construction will also be looked at this year by the Planning Commission. Another priority is a study on the areas landfill.
"Your priorities match our priorities very well," Mayor Beth Weldon said. She advocated for the comprehensive plan to be reviewed.
Manager Rorie Watt plans to budget for a vendor to help with the comprehensive plan update in the near future. He mentioned $150,000 could be the budget request in the next year.
One issue will be the size of a lot in order to own a rooster.
Assembly member Loren Jones raised concerns about placement of industrial uses in commercial areas like Lemon Creek. He mentioned there is a commitment to plan North Douglas and the west Douglas Road. "I think residents will ask that it be done before we do a lot of development out there."
Bonnet-Hale said development in West Douglas, without a plan on how to provide services, could cause a inordinate burden on other area residents.
Voelkers said development that was self-sufficient with water and sewer is preferred for that area.