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Planners OK permit for new apartments

12-unit building proposed for Delta Drive

Posted: July 10, 2013 - 5:35pm  |  Updated: July 11, 2013 - 12:20am

The Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit that would allow for the construction of a 12-unit apartment building on Delta Drive, a City official said Wednesday.

The applicant, Delta Park LLC., proposed the replacement of a single family dwelling at the end of Delta Drive in the valley.

“There’s definitely a need for upgrading some old manufactured homes to more modern manufactured homes,” Hal Hart, City and Borough of Juneau Community Development Director, said. “In this case we have the opportunity to meet a market need of single bedroom and two bedroom [residences].”

The existing parcel sits off of Mendenhall Loop Road at Valley Boulevard and is in an area dominated by mobile homes.

The parcel is zoned for 18 dwellings per acre and the proposed structure is two stories.

Staff recommended that the commission adopt the permit with conditions after reviewing information submitted at the public hearing Tuesday night.

A fire lane and “No Parking” signs for that lane are the conditions submitted with the recommendation.

Recently, a push for more development is swelling throughout Juneau, from housing opportunities in Downtown and Douglas, to future recreational land development out the road.

“Permit statistics are showing an increase in multifamily housing projects, but it’s not huge,” he said. “We’ve seen a significant increase over last year. But last year’s numbers are very small.”

New residential permits issued in comparison to this time last year increased about 82 percent. New commercial permits issued were up about 120 percent. Although the numbers seem impressive, there was less growth in 2012 than prior years.

“We’re all encouraged by the response from the local building community in delivering more units this summer,” said Brian Holst, executive director of the Juneau Economic Development Council. “We see a big increase in permits and it looks like we’re also seeing greater construction as well.”

In May, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation awarded federal grants to a low-income, 40-unit housing project on Vista Drive in Douglas. That development aims to offer affordable housing to young families and those with disabilities.

In June, an event hosted by the Juneau Community Foundation, the Juneau Commission on Aging, Senior Citizens Support Services Inc. and the JEDC sought community feedback on the need for assisted-living. More than 100 attended the meeting.

Hart said that there are even more projects in the pipeline, and they are going through the proper channels before receiving permits.

“We’re seeing the talking stage. We’re seeing the pre-application phase,” Hart said. “Then it goes to submittal. Then it would go to a building permit.”

Juneau resident Jo Ann Lockwood has recently found instances where the commission and the CBJ Assembly didn’t follow procedure regarding public comment, review periods and permitting. Most recently, Lockwood noticed no permits were requested or obtained for the construction of the Downtown Snow Storage Facility Site.

In a meeting of the commission last week, staff and directors said they would review the process in which they accept and grant applications, and the proper notice and public hearing procedures.

“‘What’s the criteria for that?’ Our department and Engineering — ­We’re asking that across the board,” Hart said. “You could have several smaller project and we wouldn’t actually see the full project. I think there are several things in [the works], so staff will sit down and work on that criteria.”

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

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