About 75 residents complain of Spuhn Island subdivision plans

Posted: Friday, April 30, 2004

Creighton Laurent said he may not have any place to park his vehicle if 36 residential waterfront lots are developed on Spuhn Island.

He was one of about 75 people who came to an informational meeting at Auke Bay Elementary School Thursday to voice access, parking and environmental concerns about developing the island.

Laurent parks at a small city-owned parking area at the end of Fritz Cove Road and walks through a wooded area to his house.

"If just one person shows up and takes the parking spot, I'm done," Laurent said.

Owner Karla Allwine wants to develop lots ranging from 1 1/2 to 3 acres on the uninhabited island between Douglas Island and the Fox Farm subdivision, at the end of Fritz Cove Road.

Allwine wants to provide electricity and water to the island, including a couple of fire hydrants, she told residents.

Access to the island could come from Douglas Island, Auke Bay or public or private facilities, she said. She noted that Fisherman's Bend near Auke Bay would have boat slips available in the future.

Residents are worried that most people will try to access the island from the Fritz Cove Road area and not Douglas Island because one can see the island from there.

Motorized boats would likely be the most practical way to travel from the mainland to the island, said Murray Walsh, who is working on the project from Walsh Planning and Development Services. Some residents complained about the noise that will be created by motor boats traveling back and forth from the island.

Allwine, who lives on Fritz Cove Road, said deed restrictions will prevent the operation of businesses on the island, including bed and breakfasts. Junk boats and the clear-cutting of trees will also be prohibited. She is identifying trees used for bald eagle nests and plans to protect them.

"We're trying to approach the development in a very responsible fashion," Allwine said.

But residents questioned whether these deed restrictions could be enforced.

Spuhn Island has the densest concentration of bald eagle nests in the area, said Mark Rorick, who lives near the island on Mendenhall Peninsula Road.

Once trees are cleared for residential housing, eagle nests will be affected, he said.

"I think the tree-cutting is particularly unenforceable," Rorick said. "Good intentions, but I think any homeowner could get around it."

The project will go before the Juneau Planning Commission May 11 for a conditional-use permit.

• Tara Sidor can be reached at tara.sidor@juneauempire.com



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