A Lemon Creek fish-processing plant is expanding and will move its operations to Auke Bay.
The Juneau Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a conditional-use permit allowing Alaska Glacier Seafoods to build a 7,000- to 8,000-square-foot facility on its land near Auke Nu Cove near 11.5 mile Glacier Highway.
The company currently operates from a dock in Harris Harbor and shuttles fish to its warehouse in Lemon Creek.
Mike Erickson, co-owner of Glacier Seafoods, said the owners chose to build in Auke Bay to have direct water access and the space to expand.
"We're a small company that basically started in our garage," said Erickson. "But the demand is so great that we need to expand to be able to keep up with it. In fact we're so busy we can't accept any new customers until this building goes up. It's nice to be wanted."
Erickson said construction is expected to be complete by next fall.
The application for the processing plant has been in the works for the past two years, but was delayed due to objections made by the state departments of Transportation and Natural Resources, according to a staff report by city planner Teri Camery.
According to the report, the project originally included the lot approved for development, plus a quarter-acre of tidelands leased from DNR.
DOT had been interested in the property to expand the nearby ferry terminal and DNR denied the applicant's proposal for leasing the acreage because of that potential expansion, the report said.
The new proposal includes only tidelands owned by Erickson and does not require a DNR lease. Camery also said in her report that DOT has not made Erickson an offer to purchase the land for ferry terminal expansion. She said she did not receive comments from DOT on possible conflicts with its operations in Auke Bay.
A spokesman for DOT's planning division was in a meeting and unavailable for comment by the Empire's midday deadline.
The report also said developers addressed the issue of ground fish parts from the processing plant having a detrimental impact on nearby shallow water habitats.
Erickson said though it's standard operating procedure to dump fish waste into the water a few hundred feet from a plant, the company will build a small barge and shuttle the waste to deeper water.
Melanie Plenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.