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City closer to gaining 22 new homes

Mendenhall housing development passes Planning Commission

Posted: September 4, 2012 - 11:02pm

Planning Commission approval of a proposed housing development on Mendenhall Loop Road brings Juneau closer to a goal to build hundreds of new dwellings.

The project proposed by Richard Harris owner of RH Development would develop 22 new housing unites at the corner of Atlin Drive and Mendenhall Loop Road.

The City and Borough of Juneau Planning Commission passed Conditional Use Permit 20120010 (goo.gl/7pwPs) unanimously at its regularly scheduled meeting, Aug. 28. The CUP now moves on to the CBJ Assembly for hearing.

Public comment during the Planning Commission meeting brought up concerns of privacy, noise and access to public sidewalks at the site, according to CBJ draft minutes (goo.gl/Kxprf). Linda Wyeth asked for a privacy fence to separate her mother’s nearby property and Ed Quinto requested sidewalk access to the site.

City and Borough of Juneau staff recommended approval of the permit with conditions that mirrored concerns expressed during public comment as well as a request for the developer to provide a plan for on-site lighting and assure all setbacks are accounted for. Staff recommend sidewalk access and a fence of at least six feet in height.

A gravel path would stretch the length of the property, Richard Harris said during testimony at the Aug. 28 meeting.

RH Development is the permit applicant and owner of the parcel at 9050 Atlin Street, located north of St. Paul’s Catholic Church. Harris founded his business in 1992. The development company is responsible for the 3-bedroom Del Rae Condominiums on Del Rae Road in the Mendenhall Valley (goo.gl/5DEXw).

A U-shaped driveway would connect the nearly two dozen 3-bedroom, two and a half bathroom homes to Mendenhall Loop Road, according to CBJ memorandum. The 1,840 square foot residences would include a one-car garage. In addition to the garage space, 44 additional parking spaces would be provided, according to the developer’s plan. All 22 detached units are planned to occupy 2.19 total acres, the maximum density for land zoned Medium Density Residential. The development would comply with a 50-foot anadromous stream setback from Duck Creek Pond.

An adjacent lot contains dated Quonset huts and tall flora, according to CBJ’s memo.

CBJ staff said the housing may attract young families and may help open up more affordable housing in Juneau.

The Assembly’s Housing Commission has described its hope to eventually reach and maintain a 5 percent vacancy rate for all housing types. A recent report shows Juneau to have a vacancy rate for all housing of around 1.4 percent for owned homes and 3.2 percent for rentals, according to the Juneau Economic Development Council.

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

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