Planners to review Office Depot permit

Study shows store will not have a significant effect on traffic in Lemon Creek

Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A land-use permit for an Office Depot planned in Lemon Creek is back for review before the Juneau Planning Commission tonight, after a study showed the store will not increase traffic significantly in the area.

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Also on the agenda are a permit for Schuck's Auto Supply, a parts supply chain, and an update on the downtown parking garage.

The Planning Commission had requested a more detailed traffic study from Office Depot while reviewing the store's permit at its August meeting.

The study found that nearby Costco and Home Depot have not generated as much additional traffic as originally expected. Another 561 vehicles were expected to go through the intersection of Anka Street and Glacier Highway at peak times, but a traffic study this September found an increase of only 17 vehicles.

As a condition of its permit, Home Depot widened the intersection to accommodate higher car numbers.

Know and go

What: Planning Commission review of permits for Office Depot, Schuck's Auto Supply, plus update on downtown parking garage plans.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Assembly Chambers.

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The new study found that the intersection can accommodate the additional traffic expected for Office Depot and Schuck's, according to Greg Chaney, a planner with the Community Development Department.

"There was a phenomenal difference between the forecast and the actual in terms of increase in vehicle trips," Chaney said, adding that the original traffic study was based on national models that predict traffic from other areas, something that just doesn't happen in Juneau.

"There's not a magnet for the outlying areas like there would be if you built a Home Depot in Seattle," Chaney said.

People also may be combining trips to the multiple stores in the Lemon Creek commercial area, he said.

It's not clear when Office Depot might open if it gets the necessary approvals. Architect Wayne Jensen, with architectural firm Jensen Yorba Lott, said they "haven't gotten to that point yet."

The store still needs to go through the building permit process if it receives approval from the Planning Commission.

The store would be at the end of Commercial Boulevard, on the right hand side.



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