Douglas golf course inches ahead at commission meeting

Developers object to city's demand for more information

Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

The golf course planned for North Douglas made some headway before the Juneau Planning Commission at the panel's Tuesday night meeting. At the same time, the commission called on course backer Totem Creek Inc. to supply more information on its application for a permit to develop the course.

In the third such meeting in recent months - after a years-long process - Totem Creek opened its presentation with complaints that new restrictions and demands had been placed on it by the city Community Development Department.

Countering a call by commissioner Mike Bavard for a less-adversarial proceeding than has gone on in the past, Totem Creek attorney Tom Findley said the communication was adversarial because of the new demands, including requests for soil samples from alluvial fans on the proposed golf course site; more representation of vegetation such as landmark trees and other features on the base map; and representation of intermittent streams.

"My read is that Totem Creek viewed the (department's) requests as a giant list of things they had to do," said commissioner Maria Gladziszewski this morning. "But I think the department was saying, 'We're trying to help.'"

The six commissioners present allowed for some adjustment in the department requests, including nixing the representation on the base map of "other constraints" - which the department had not further identified.

The commissioners also approved the representation on the site plan of 66-foot tree buffers along streams, in addition to the 100-foot buffers originally requested.

"We should show both 100-foot and 66-foot (buffers)," Findley said. "More information is better than less information."

Buffers are not usual with golf courses, said Totem Creek President John Barnett. "The buffer concept in relationship to golf courses is somewhat new."

The city's original request had been for 66 feet, Barnett said, which eventually grew to 100 feet. Streams running through the site will have 100-foot buffers except where Totem Creek can demonstrate to the commission that 66 feet is satisfactory, he said.

Totem Creek also agreed to provide the commission an integrated pest management plan that includes specific identification of anticipated pests and methods of dealing with them, including the application of pesticides.

And the developers were asked to submit a detailed wildlife and habitat management plan, including an assessment and map of the site's habitats, and an identification of wildlife corridors and core habitat areas.

Commissioner Marshal Kendziorek objected that Totem Creek's current wildlife plan was "based on a two-day reconnaissance during the winter."

"Our findings have identified there's no obvious wildlife corridors," Totem Creek President Barnett said, which could be due to hunting pressure. "We're not finding any red flags."

Barnett said "over a period of time, golf courses become a haven for wildlife."

The Planning Commission will again take up Totem Creek's application at its meeting on April 10.

Fernand Chandonnet can be reached at fchandonnet@juneauempire.com.



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