City denies appeal to block housing plan

Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2008

JUNEAU - The Assembly denied an appeal Monday by developers to block construction of high-density homes in the Mendenhall Valley.

The appeal, filed on behalf of Kelly Corrigan and Mary Kay Pusich, held that the proposed 22 units of so-called "cottage housing" in the Back Loop area violated the city's land use code.

In February, the Planning Commission granted three permits to Bicknell Inc. for the project. Corrigan and Pusich argued that the entire project should be considered one project instead, which would violate the city's zoning law for cottage housing.

The larger issue, they said, was that the cottage housing project as proposed would diminish surrounding property values.

Corrigan and Pusich have 30 days to appeal the Assembly's decision to Juneau Superior Court. Their lawyer, Robert Spitzfaden, said an appeal was "always a possibility" but that his clients had not made up their mind about any future action.

The Bicknell development is the first cottage housing development approved by the city, which first passed a cottage housing code in 2005. The purpose of the code, according to the city, was to "provide additional opportunity for housing development" that "responds to changing demographics and smaller-sized households."

Bicknell said the houses will be listed for about $300,000 each.

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