My Turn: Assembly is doing what it should

Government shouldn't be telling owners how to develop their land

Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Once again, I am forced to take the time to rebut Gordon Jackson (Aug. 7 My Turn, "Assembly not following its plan") on behalf of our development, the Valley Professional Center.

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This is time I would much rather be spending with my family, but his gross misrepresentations, his blatant hypocrisy and his socialist views cannot go unanswered.

First of all, I would like to make some corrections. Jackson wrote that we had logs stacked "about" 10 feet from the creek, and cutting was occurring "about" 15 feet from the creek. Well, we took a tape measure to the closest log and it was exactly 76 feet 4 inches from the creek, and the closest cutting was outside the mandatory 50-foot setback.

I think it is important to note that the process to obtain the permits for this project from all the agencies, which includes the city of Juneau, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Fish and Game, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Environmental Conservation took about a year.

I am not complaining about this, in fact, I think it is necessary. Many great design ideas were put forward by people who actually took the time to review our development proposal. We even incorporated several ideas from neighbors who got involved in the process, which included a voluntary no-cut zone within 20 feet of the shared property on our side and extra plantings in this zone if needed for privacy.

Jackson, who also is a neighbor, could have been more involved during the planning instead of complaining after the fact.

This brings me to my next point. It seems a little hypocritical that Jackson is complaining about tree-cutting when he used to be the CEO of Kake Tribal. Have you been to Kake? That place has been decimated by clear-cutting. I would like to point out that we are cutting trees to build something, such as businesses, people's dreams and their futures. We are not clear-cutting an entire forest just to sell the trees, leaving behind a tangled mess that can only support alders, devil's club and blueberry bushes.

I also would like to point out that the Juneau Assembly and Planning Commission are doing exactly what they should be. They work long and hard to scrutinize projects such as this, applying applicable ordinances and laws and working with developers to help them realize their plans.

Jackson says that the city of Juneau "chose" to go along with our plans instead of forcing us to build affordable housing on our own private property! I say, God help us all if our government starts telling us what we can or cannot build on our own private property beyond what is already zoned.

If anybody wants to make more affordable housing then I suggest they do it. Don't talk about it or complain about it in the Juneau Empire. Risk your own money, expend your own energy and quit being an armchair developer. Let's see what you got.

• Bruce Griggs is a Juneau resident.

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