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Assembly reviews Comp Plan changes

Posted: August 5, 2013 - 8:37pm  |  Updated: August 6, 2013 - 12:05am

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole reviewed changes made to the city Comprehensive Plan during a brief presentation Monday.

“It is important to make just a few brief notes, a few brief comments on themes,” said Hal Hart, Community Development Director. Hart was allotted only 15 minutes as the Assembly was moving into an executive session to discuss an investigation into personnel matters (http://goo.gl/ZIjPez) at Bartlett Regional Hospital. “When I have to explain the Comprehensive Plan to investors or people who may think about coming to Juneau, I give them some themes.”

The beginning of the plan breaks the area into two parts: one where roads are, one where roads aren’t.

“Where we currently have roads, that’s the focus of urban development,” Hart said. “Where you don’t have roads, that’s a different kind of development.”

Hart explained how the cumulative effects of a project are outlined and determined by the plan. It also dictates how proposed projects would be measured and considered by the city based on their overall impact to public financial resources, community taxes and overall merits of the proposal.

Of the 18 chapters, Assembly Member Mary Becker wanted to focus on the Housing Element chapter, hoping to hear about major changes from the 2008 plan.

“The intent of that element is to recommend policies that would encourage adequate housing to all residents and to protect the character and livability of all neighborhoods,” Hart said, adding that long-term affordability and historic preservation were some of the main focuses in that chapter.

Assembly Member Karen Crane echoed Becker in that both wanted to see a comparison of what changes were made to the previous plan and its lengthy 135 policies.

Crane asked specifically, in moving forward, “what would be absolutely imperative that we keep, right now, and what could we just leave as 2008 until we rewrote?”

“We may spend more time evaluating the changes,” Hart said, “but I will bring the document that you’ve asked for forward.”

In other business, an ordinance amending the real and personal property tax code to permit deferral of taxes on certain subdivided property was the topic of discussion early in the meeting, along with an ordinance relating to noise and amending the Disturbing of the Peace Code.

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

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