An Auke Nu Cove seafood processing dock gained approval from planning commissioners Tuesday night, with several saying the dock should have been part of plans for the operation they approved in 2002.
"We're just looking to add the dock to our existing permit so we can have an all-tides dock," said Jim Erickson, co-owner of Alaska Glacier Seafoods. "We're not a cannery. We do fresh and frozen seafood."
The Juneau Planning Commission voted 6-0 to approve a conditional-use permit for the addition of the 80-by-110-foot concrete dock on steel pilings, planned to adjoin the previously approved plant, which is under construction. Commissioners Mark Pusich, Marshal Kendziorek and Jacqueline Fowler were absent from the meeting.
Two residents of the area near the construction site spoke against the addition of the dock, questioning its effect on noise and wildlife.
Area resident Sue Conant said she already has problems with the noise in the neighborhood and doesn't want the dock to add any more.
"I can hear the intercom at the (Auke Bay) ferry terminal," she said.
She also said visits from harbor seals, waterfowl and bald eagles would be disrupted by the dock.
After the commission approved the original project in October 2002, neighbors appealed the decision to the Juneau Assembly, which failed to overturn the commission's decision.
Opponents of the plan questioned on Tuesday night whether the Alaska Glacier Seafoods project would have been approved if the original plans included a dock.
City planner Peter Freer told commissioners the original plans were consistent with the Juneau Coastal Management Plan because it addressed a significant public need and there was no feasible alternative site.
Paul Burrill, a local fisherman employed by Alaska Glacier Seafoods, said the noise level the plant would create would be the equivalent of the noise coming from Glacier Highway.
Mark Stopha, a troller, said the dock would be "a Godsend to many Juneau fishermen. We're not exactly making a killing in the salmon industry these days."
Answering a question from Commissioner Maria Gladziszewski, Erickson said it can add four hours or more, one way, to run catches downtown, compared to offloading in the Auke Bay area. Eight hours, he added is "pretty much a full day."
Tony Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.