Commission sees garage as anchor of Capitol complex

Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Planning commissioners see the planned downtown transit center and parking garage as the first phase of a Capitol complex.

The idea was at the top of a list of project recommendations to the Juneau Assembly that commissioners approved at their meeting Tuesday.

"I think it's extremely important to the future of Juneau that we recognize that," said Dan Miller, who called the recommendation a "strong signal" to the Assembly to get moving on Capitol plans.

The Assembly has the final say in whether the project is built and how it will look. The project is planned for a lot at the corner of Main Street and Egan Drive.

The commission also unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the transit center.

"I'm pleased," said city Deputy Engineering Director Rorie Watt, who is in charge of the project and applied for the permit.

Watt said he considered the conditions on the permit reasonable and doable.

The draft permit included conditions on the design of the project that Watt argued against, because he said they were inappropriate for a conditional use permit and would unnecessarily restrict potential good designs.

These included draft conditions of maximizing the number of parking spaces, requiring space for a pedestrian overpass connecting to the waterfront or mandating that the design accommodate future vertical expansion.

Commissioners agreed with planners, however, that certain conditions on design affected the health and safety of the public, which is within the scope of the permit.

These included ensuring the transit center has two exits and entrances and that it has transparent facades so people can see in and out of it.

But commissioners moved the other design-related issues off the permit and onto discussion of recommendations to the Assembly, which are nonbinding.

The complete list of the commission's recommendations will be posted this week on the city Web site at www.juneau.org.

• Contact reporter Kate Goldenat 523-2276 or e-mail kate.golden@juneauempire.com.



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