B-and-B plan riles neighbors

Commission OKs building plan with some restrictions

Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Juneau's Planning Commission has approved a new four-bedroom, 10-person bed-and-breakfast near Auke Lake, but its future neighbors have not.

The commission approved a conditional use permit 6-1 Tuesday night despite pleas and a petition from nearby residents opposing the project.

Roy and Elva Buehler of Atlanta said they plan to build on land they purchased off of Glacier Highway between Hamilton Street and the Emmanuel Baptist Church. But Buehler said he didn't want to start building until issues with the neighbors were settled.

"I'm concerned that the neighbors are concerned. And I don't know what I can do to assuage their worries," he said. "But I don't want a protest with every piece of lumber we bring on the property either."

Buehler, a retired Navy fighter pilot, designed the B-and-B himself. He said the living space will be about 2,700 square feet with an attached garage under the living quarters.

Residents said the B-and-B could increase traffic, lower property values, cause septic system problems and change the color scheme of the neighborhood.

"We are all tans and grays and white," said resident Lynn Gregg. "A nice family house maybe the same as we are, that might be all right. But I'm going to be looking at a big red barn."

Buehler planned to paint the cedar siding of the house red and the metal roof forest green.

"There's no color out there. If you drive through their subdivision it's pretty dull." he said. " But we are willing to make concessions to be a good neighbor."

Resident Duane Gates said the high water table, unstable soil and downhill-tiered positioning of the homes in the area means water often flows through his backyard from his defective septic system.

Buehler said he plans to have the B-and-B's laundry contracted out to not further tax the system, which he may upgrade.

"Frankly since I am at the bottom of the hill I think it may be the neighbor's septic systems causing me a problem. Water doesn't run uphill," he said. "But I think the technology is there to remedy the situation."

While approving the B-and-B's permit, the Planning Commission required the Buehlers to get an engineer's OK for the septic system, to reduce the capacity from the 12 as planned by the Buehlers to 10, install a fence and vegetation around the property, and try, wherever possible, to make the color and look of the building conform to the rest of the neighborhood.

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.

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