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Map amendment appeal to Assembly

Posted: June 24, 2013 - 8:25pm  |  Updated: June 24, 2013 - 11:02pm

The chamber was full during a regular meeting of the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Monday night where the Assembly voted to hear an appeal of a recent Planning Commission decision to deny a Comprehensive Plan Map Amendment in the area of Hosinger Pond.

“I do not see any reason to not accept the appeal,” said outgoing City Attorney John Hartle.

The amendment seeks zoning changes to a parcel of land by the Juneau International Airport. The site is 83 acres and abuts the airport on the east, Egan Drive on the north and south, and the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge on the south and west.

Dangers to aircraft from the fowl population in the area were one of the justifications for the changes. The old gravel pit has become a pond, and could be filled in for other uses.

Assembly Member Randy Wanamaker wanted to know what the next step would be for the appeal if those Assembly chose not to hear it.

“The only means they could pursue it then would be through Superior Court.” said Hartle.

Assembly Member Carlton Smith excused himself over a conflict of interest and the appeal was voted on.

The Assembly accepted the appeal with a motion of 6-2. Mayor Merrill Sanford will preside over the process.

In December 2012, Bicknell, Inc., sought a zoning change to the area known as Hosinger Pond from Resource Development to a mix of Resource Development, General Commercial and Industrial.

More than 60 community members submitted comments opposing the proposed change, prompting the withdrawal of the proposed changes.

In April, another map change request was submitted to the Planning Commission and was denied after 20 community members submitted letters of opposition and six testified against the map adjustment.

When the changes were originally proposed, local photographer Mark Kelly was one of those to testify in defense of the area.

After the Planning Commission adopted findings to support its denial, Bicknell Inc., sought a reversal on the decision earlier this month.

In other business, the Assembly honored Hartle, who is retiring after serving in the Law Department since 1993.

Contact reporter Kenneth Rosen at 523-2250 or at kenneth.rosen@juneauempire.com.

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