City will wait on cruise dock expansions

Assembly will move ahead on issue once it adopts area-wide study or after Jan. 1, 2007

Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2004

Juneau Assembly members say the city will not entertain any cruise ship moorage outside downtown until the Assembly adopts an area-wide study of cruise ship dock alternatives, or Jan. 1, 2007, whichever comes first.

Such a study would occur during a second phase of the city's waterfront plan. That plan, which covers Juneau's waterfront from the Thane Little Rock Dump to Douglas Bridge, will determine Juneau's waterfront development for the next 20 years if adopted after a public hearing Monday.

"There is a desire to make a final decision so there is certainty for people who are anxious to develop the area," said Mayor Bruce Botelho at a Assembly of the Whole meeting Wednesday.

At the meeting, the new Assembly - with the additions of Jeff Bush and Johan Dybdahl - met for the first time to discuss amendments to the plan.

Because cruise ship traffic has been a controversial issue, the Assembly concludes in the proposed amendments that:

• The capacity within the waterfront plan area should not exceed five ships that are greater than 750 feet in length, whether at berth or at anchor.

• Any proposals to develop additional berths within the waterfront plan area should include a design for the dock and address such issues as pedestrian access, environmental impacts and extension of seawalk from downtown to the proposed dock.

The Assembly might reject a proposal from the Alaska Mental Health Trust to incorporate a subport plan in the waterfront plan.

The Alaska Mental Health Trust is the primary land owner of the subport area, lands between Gold Creek and Centennial Hall. In April of 2003, the health trust, the city, Goldbelt Corporation and Alaska Land and Pier Company completed a study to revitalize the area.

Dale Pertula, director of community development, said the subport plan should be adopted separately as a local area plan.

"The waterfront plan is designed to be flexible enough to allow for subsequent adoption of more specific area plans," Pertula said.

"Development of the subport plan included a substantial public process but did not include public opinion surveys, public hearings, or an item-by-item review of the proposal as the waterfront plan did," Pertula said. "Additional public review of the subport plan will be necessary."

• I-Chun Che can be reached at

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