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Steering committee chosen for Auke Bay plans

Large-scale development plan for area is in the works

Posted: November 14, 2013 - 1:12am
Lori Merritt walks along Glacier Highway in the construction zone of the new roundabout in Auke Bay Wednesday.  Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Lori Merritt walks along Glacier Highway in the construction zone of the new roundabout in Auke Bay Wednesday.

In order to maintain communication with stakeholders during its long-term goals to sync up Auke Bay development projects, the city named 16 people to a steering committee that will help advise the efforts.

City senior planner Ben Lyman presented the list of approved applicants to the Planning Commission at its Tuesday night meeting. Phillip Rolfe, Doug Scudder, Mitch Falk, Ric Iannolino, Nathan Leigh, Gerald Gotschall, Eric Lindegaard, Travis Eckhoff, Mike Noel, Dana Hanselman, David Haas, Dave Klein, Sharyn Augustine, Lawrence Lee Oldaker, H. Caroline Hassler and Michele Grant were chosen to help planners make decisions on the future of Auke Bay.

Lyman acknowledged at the meeting that nobody representing the Auk Tribe had applied to be on the committee. The commission insisted the group include a tribal representative. They also suggested including a youth or UAS student.

“I’ll be soliciting representatives for these seats in the coming week,” Lyman said in a later email.

Planning commissioner Nathan Bishop was named liaison to the steering committee. The Alaska Department of Transportation is sending Pat Carroll as its liaison, Lyman said.

Lyman also presented findings from a survey of 223 City and Borough of Juneau residents that covered everything from bikes to noise to job opportunities. Last month, the city gave a series of public meetings that presented the problem and asked for help finding a solution. Too many different construction projects, operating independently, are happening or will be happening in Auke Bay — at the university, on Glacier Highway, in residential areas and at the harbor, to name a few, Lyman said at the commission meeting. The survey results helped narrow plans to make everything cohesive.

Of the respondents, about 50 percent identified themselves as Auke Bay residents. Seventy-one percent said they see Auke Bay in 20 years as being “a mixed residential and commercial village with a full range of services, including marine support.” Pedestrian safety has proven to be a big talking point throughout the planning process so far. Thirty-one percent of respondents said they feel “unsafe” biking through Auke Bay. Twenty-six percent said the same of walking. Full results of the 10-question survey can be found online at www.juneau.org/aukebayplan/documents/STF_AME13-12.pdf.

Karla Hart, organizer of Friends of Auke Bay, a group that advocates for the neighborhood, said stakeholders want “a plan that (makes) the community a walkable, livable place to live, work, recreate.” She said she had noticed a lot of government entities changing parts of Auke Bay, and decided to help “shape it for us, instead of having organizations do things to us.”

“We want to make it so the community is more than a sum of the parts,” she said.

Although she’s been involved in the efforts to create a cohesive Auke Bay since it was first on the table in 2008, she did not apply to be on the steering committee. However, she’s staying in regular contact with the planners, she said.

“I’m more interested that it’s a good process that involves the community,” Hart said. “I’ll still be involved on my own.”

Hart envisions Auke Bay as a self-contained unit, where everything anyone needs is well within reach.

“I would like Auke Bay to become a place where people from the community want to go spend an afternoon and an evening and take a walk and enjoy,” she said. “I have this vision that it can be this really cool little university neighborhood community town that people like to go to.”

• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com. Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.

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