Assembly denies Spuhn Island appeal

Smugglers' Cove group has 30 days to appeal decision

Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Juneau Assembly rejected neighbors' appeal against a planned Spuhn Island development, the city announced Wednesday.

Developers Steve and Karla Allwine proposed creating a subdivision comprising 156 acres on Spuhn Island, which lies off the end of Fritz Cove Road. Last June 15, the Juneau Planning Commission granted a preliminary plat for three large parcels and 38 lots.

The Smugglers' Cove Neighborhood Association, consisting of 12 households at the end of Fritz Cove Road, appealed the commission's decision July 9, requesting that the Assembly send the proposal back to the city staff. The neighborhood association said the new subdivision would affect traffic and parking on Fritz Cove Road, especially near the Smugglers' Cove.

"The end of Fritz Cove will become the staging area for travel to Spuhn Island," the neighborhood association said to the Assembly.

The Assembly heard the appeal Jan. 19.

Karla Allwine said the Assembly's decision was fair.

"We will bring utilities in this spring," Allwine said.

The neighborhood association has 30 days to appeal the Assembly's decision to the Juneau Superior Court.

Loren Domke, who represents the neighborhood association, said the group will hold a meeting to decide whether to pursue the case.

The Assembly said the Planning Commission had addressed the neighbors' parking and access concerns by adding several conditions.

The commission requires the developers to provide five parking spaces for the owners of the lots before the city approves the final plat. The parking spaces need to be located within a reasonable walking distance of marine access within five nautical miles of the island. An additional 25 parking spaces would be added within 15 years of final plat recording.

The developers are also required to build a dock on the island with capacity for 30 vessels at least 20 feet in length.

The neighborhood association said the developers should lease some private land for parking at the end of Fritz Cove Road to address a possible parking shortage. But the Assembly disagreed.

"Adding parking and other facilities at the end of Fritz Cove Road would only serve to exacerbate the present congestion by encouraging additional use of the area," the Assembly said in its ruling.

Phil Schempf, who lives at the end of Fritz Cove Road, said he was disappointed with the Assembly's decision.

"I anticipate that conflicts will begin with the first construction activity and continue until adequate provisions are made for reasonable access," he said in a letter to the Assembly.

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