City hears Spuhn appeal

Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Juneau Assembly will announce its decision on Spuhn Island development in early February, Mayor Bruce Botelho said after a two-hour hearing Wednesday evening.

The Assembly met for the first time to hear the appeal of the development that the Planning Commission granted last June. Members decided the issue Wednesday in executive session but will not announce the decision until notifying developers, neighbors and the Planning Commission.

Owners Karla and Steve Allwine plan to develop 38 recreational and residential lots and three large parcels on the uninhabited island off the end of Fritz Cove Road.

But the Smugglers Cove Neighborhood Association, which consists of the 12 households at the end of the Fritz Cove Road, said the development would clog the already congested road. The association filed an appeal with the city July 9, challenging the Planning Commission's approval and requesting the Assembly to send the project back to city staff.

"There are already a lot of uses" of the Smugglers Cove, said Loren Domke, who represents the neighborhood association. "When you put a lot of people on the island, it is going to increase the traffic because Fritz Cove Road is the most logical point for them to get to the road system."

The neighborhood association was disappointed that the Planning Commission didn't identify parking or a marina that future residents of Spuhn Island would use.

The developers said they don't encourage people to use Fritz Cove Road for access.

"That the future residents of the island would use Fritz Cove Road for access is only the speculation of the neighborhood association," said Robert Spitzfaden, who represents the Allwines.

Karla Allwine said they would encourage people using motor vehicles to go to Auke Bay or North Douglas. "I offered to the Planning Commission that I would restrict future residents of the island from using Fritz Cove Road," Allwine said. "But they said I couldn't do it because it is a public access road."

City Planner Nathan Bishop said the Planning Commission didn't specify where the developers should place the parking spaces because it wants to retain some flexibility.

"As the Docks and Harbors (Board) wants to acquire the DeHarts Marina, it might be more convenient for the developers to lease parking spaces from the city," Bishop said.

Botelho said the Assembly went into executive session because it acts as a quasi-judicial body when hearing appeals. "The jury and judges can express their opinions without fears," he said.

The Assembly will formally approve its decision at its Feb. 7 meeting.

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