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Assembly powers through brief meeting

Posted: June 26, 2012 - 12:02am  |  Updated: June 26, 2012 - 8:47am

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly adopted resolutions Monday evening bringing Eaglecrest Ski Area’s personnel leave policy in line with the rest of the city and keeping Juneau’s two Assembly districts’ boundaries the same, and heard public testimony on an ordinance allowing a commercial development to seek a second driveway on a residential street.

The Assembly meeting was short, with less than an hour elapsing before Mayor Bruce Botelho asked members of the public to leave ahead of a closed-door executive session. Much of its agenda, including the Eaglecrest and redistricting resolutions, were adopted without discussion as part of the “consent agenda,” items on which can be adopted all at once with unanimous approval by Assembly members.

Two speakers addressed a proposed ordinance amending the CBJ official zoning map to allow the Professional Plaza office complex, which has a driveway on Glacier Highway near Juneau International Airport, to apply for a permit to build a second driveway on Berners Avenue. Nathan Young and Janet Thrower, two residents of Berners Avenue, testified against it.

Young said Berners Avenue already experiences higher than usual traffic for a residential street and that a Professional Plaza driveway would only make it worse. He said he was aware of the traffic when he moved to the street.

“What we’re not interested in is additional traffic,” Young said.

Thrower, who said she testified in favor of restricting Professional Plaza’s access to Berners Avenue in 1994, said the “convenience” for the office complex of having a second driveway would be overshadowed by the complications to the community.

“If Professional Plaza is convenienced a couple of times a day when there is heavy traffic … our neighborhood is inconvenienced by a steady stream of commercial traffic all day long,” said Thrower.

Engineering Department director Rorie Watt advised that he typically recommends at least two entrance and exit points for a development of Professional Plaza’s size.

“It’s a fairly sizable complex, and it has a number of visitors,” Watt said.

Watt told the Assembly that staff were already taking action to reduce through traffic on the road, including by putting in stop signs. After Assembly Member Ruth Danner asked whether anything else could be done to reduce through traffic, he replied, “I think you’ve done enough, would be my opinion.”

On a motion by Assembly Member Randy Wanamaker, the Assembly unanimously adopted the ordinance amending the zoning map.

Other items the Assembly considered were also approved by unanimous consent, including a series of budget appropriations for Bartlett Regional Hospital, Juneau International Airport and the Public Works Department.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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