Assembly committee reviews bear ordinance

It also heard a proposal to simplify subdivision laws

At its Monday work session, the Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole reviewed a change to a city ordinance meant to prevent residents from attracting bears to their properties with improperly stored waste.

The ordinance currently bars residents from storing decomposable materials or dirty diapers in non-bear safe containers. Violating the ordinance can be met with different consequences, depending on intent, according to the ordinance. The proposed amendment would treat each day a violation continues as a separate offense.

Juneau Police Department Lt. Kris Sell said at the meeting that the amendment is not meant to target people who might go out of town, leaving a potential violation on their property for several days without knowing.

“There’s nothing about the ordinance that says we’re required to cite them each day,” Sell said. “It’s intended for the person who will not remedy the situation, not people who are unaware of it.”

The Assembly must approve the amendment before it can take effect.

The committee also reviewed changes to the city’s subdivision policies. Community Development Department senior planner Laura Boyce and Lands and Resources Manager Greg Chaney presented changes that would provide “clarity and predictability” to subdivision laws by putting all pertinent policies in one chapter. Right now, Boyce said, they are scattered among city laws.

Chaney said after the meeting that the change could impact both land developers and Juneau residents by making it less cumbersome to get a subdivision in the works. Clarity in the laws could mean more subdivisions, putting more homes on the market, he said.

City senior planner Ben Lyman presented a packet of changes to the proposed 2013 Comprehensive Plan, ranging from tweaks to wording to the addition of policies. The plan is currently under review by the Assembly. The city’s most recent Comprehensive Plan was approved in 2008.

Earlier Monday, the Lands Committee pulled Landscape Alaska’s lease application from its agenda, Assembly Chairwoman Mary Becker said. The owners of the local greenhouse company recently applied for a conditional use permit to lease land from the city in a D-3 zoned residential area. Becker said the Assembly committee wanted to wait to review the lease application until the Planning Commission makes a decision on the company’s conditional use permit.

• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com.

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