Planners reject topsoil business application

Neighbors of existing storage yard complain about noise, vibration

Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Juneau planning commissioners rejected an application Tuesday for a Lemon Creek storage yard, coupled with a topsoil sales and processing business, to resume operations. People living nearby had complained about the noise and vibrations.

"There's nothing you can do with this application to make it work," neighbor Shawn Wille told commissioners.

Marciano Duran of Duran Construction Co. asked for the matter to be postponed at least until the end of November to answer recent objections raised by city planners to the project.

Working with Duran on the application for a conditional-use permit, consultant Murray Walsh questioned if complaints raised by neighbors about the 6225 Alaway Ave. property reflected problems caused by a gravel pit behind the nearby police station.

"To make you believe a toilet ring (in a neighborhood home) has to be replaced once a month because of my trucks is unfair," Duran said, repeating a concern raised during public testimony.

Walsh asked commissioners to look at the application while disregarding the history of the property.

In 1999, the city issued a notice of violation for processing topsoil in a district where it is not allowed and for operating a storage yard without a needed conditional use permit. Duran appealed the rejection to the Juneau Superior Court and later the Alaska Supreme Court, which upheld the city's objections this summer.

Community Development Director Dale Pernula told commissioners that a compliance order to remove equipment from the site was postponed until they had a chance to consider Duran's latest application.

The application included a berm at least five feet high to separate the site from the neighborhood.

Neighbor Stan Jones said the problem was so bad that he sold his house because of the noise.

Joe Samaniego said it was not only the noise and fumes vibrations next to the neighborhood, but the diesel exhaust fumes.

"There's no peace. There's no quiet," he said. "There's no clean air."

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