I was left rather perplexed after reading Gordon Jackson's letter, titled "Affordable Housing," in Friday's Juneau Empire.
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As a partner in the development of the 7.5-acre parcel, I am compelled to set the record straight. Projects such as this one are scrutinized by many agencies, such as city planning and zoning, city engineering, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Army Corps of Engineers. We also held three public meetings in which we could address neighbors' concerns as we worked through the project's design. We have voluntarily incorporated several suggestions from people who have chosen to work with us instead of spreading misconceptions through the newspaper.
Jackson has claimed that this area is home to one of the last big stands of spruce and hemlock trees in the valley near Jordan Creek. A hike up Jordan Creek would prove that this is not true. We will not cut a single tree or any brush within the 50-foot setback to the creek. In fact, we will be rehabilitating habitat that is damaged and is being used to store large quantities of snow.
Jackson also stated we will be clearcutting our 7.5 acres. Not true. It is our intention to leave all large trees that do not conflict with the road and sidewalks. We also plan to include in the covenants that all large trees not conflicting with parking and buildings are to remain uncut. The storage facility, which is on only one of eight lots in the subdivision, was strategically placed where it is because it will require very few trees to be removed, as it is already a cleared area.
Many of the neighbors I have talked to are glad that this land is not going to become a high-density, low-cost housing project, which would have a much greater affect on the area. Fortunately, the Assembly has not gotten into the business of dictating what private property owners can and cannot do with their land other than what has been zoned by the comprehensive plan. In this case, the land is zoned light commercial.
If Jackson wants to see "his backyard" developed into low-cost housing or left as is, he can contact me and discuss the purchase of any of the remaining lots which will be on the market next week.