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Planning Commission to hear about changes to growing city

Posted: March 13, 2012 - 12:01am

Density limits and transportation corridors are on the docket at Juneau’s Planning Commission meeting today.

Juneau is being encouraged to grow. The draft Willoughby District Plan calls for an additional 350 to 400 housing units in the next 20 years.

“This ambitious goal will require an infusion of development capital in infrastructure and residential projects, but will be impossible under regulations that do not support this type of residential density,” according to Ben Lyman, Community Development Department planner.

Lyman recommends the Planning Commission raise the height limit for structures in the area to 45 feet with a bonus height of 55 feet to allow for up to 60 residential units per acre and an increase in the number of units per acre in certain areas.

Juneau’s growing population is also the impetus behind a Community Development report on the city’s public transit system.

The report looks at the use of Transit Oriented Nodes for Juneau’s well-served transit stops. It defines the transit nodes and assesses each potential node for “becoming the center of a walkable neighborhood.”

The network would have local circulators connecting to the trunk route at the Downtown Transportation Center, Federal Building, Bartlett Hospital, Walmart, the Mendenhall Mall and DeHart’s Marina, according to the report. The walkability of the neighborhood “is of critical importance.”

Find a simple tool to assess the walkability of an area at www.walkscore.com. The site is designed to assists renters and hombuyers determine how sustainable and walkable a potential new home or apartment is.

The Planning Commission meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Assembly Chambers.

For more information, visit the Planning Commission at bit.ly/z7ECZz.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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