On Tuesday, a conditional use permit will come before the Juneau Planning Commission that is worthy of attention by the public. The original permit that was granted, in my view recklessly, by the planning commission has expired; and thus there is an opportunity for another review.
The permit concerns the property owned by Manuel Hernandez of the Alaska Fur Gallery at 401 S. Franklin St. It is just south of Carrol Way, the staircase across from Timberwolf Gifts. This proposed development threatens not only the attractiveness but the very existence of the lovely little historic community up Carrol Way to the end of Gastineau Avenue.
Not only do Juneauites love this beautiful community, but tourists eager to see a slice of Juneau life come to see us. It is their only quiet refuge in the cruise ship area. It is a treasure of Juneau and needs to be protected.
A large building is proposed for this small site, extremely similar to the two buildings a block north already erected by the Alaska Fur Gallery. Many residents as well as business owners in the area are concerned about the visual blandness that would result from this uniformity; as what has made this area attractive in the past is its diversity.
We are even more concerned about the possibility of dangerous earth movement in this severe hazard zone threatening life and property, as has happened several times in the past, even in 1997 at the neighboring property to the north. A diagonal cut 5 feet below the historic yellow striped house where I live caused a landslide; and this time it is proposed to cut 2 feet straight down from the two also historic little brown houses neighboring mine.
At a meeting about the original permit, Planning Commissioner Marshall Kendziorek urged the commission to reconsider. As the minutes state, ``He said he was not convinced that the permit should be allowed to be issued at all, given the nature of the hazard area, the nature of the problem, the fact that right next door there was a severe problem just recently. He thought there was a reasonable chance that it could occur again.''
I hope that on Tuesday, the planning commissioners, who are reasonable people, will indeed reconsider.
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