The right thing to do

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2001

The beautiful houses on Starr Hill are a joy to look at. But now when I see them, it reminds me that the people in the homes where I live are suffering.

If what were happening to us at the end of Gastineau Avenue were happening on Starr Hill, it would be stopped. No one would be allowed to shake, vibrate and cut the hill away under a lot of houses. But because we on Carrol Way are only three houses and three apartment buildings, we are defenseless.

The Assembly needs to take a look at this community in crisis, intervene and protect us. Because if this hill were to fall - with the attendant loss of life of any disaster in an urban area - Juneau would have its own World Trade Center disaster, in comparison with Juneau's size and Juneau's budget.

I hope that all of Juneau remembers that last winter the hill under the apartments cracked and lost elevation. The hill on the other side of Carrol Way, under the historic Tanaka house where I live, also lost elevation. The apartments and my house were damaged, just as the apartment owner, myself, our engineer and many others warned the CBJ. As inexcusable as that was, worse was the fear that we might have to be evacuated from our homes, or even lose them all together, along with our pets, belongings and maybe even our own lives!

No one may knowingly endanger the lives of others. The project that threatened us last winter was undertaken with a stated recognition - by the developers, the contractor and the CBJ - that there was a risk to our hill.

Now the same contractor is planning an even bigger sheetpile wall closer to the apartments. I would like to ask the public to come down South Franklin and see how insane it would be. To get an accurate idea, one must climb the staircase by the Armadillo. The level of the back of the brown house is where they plan to drive sheetpile and remove the hill.

I hope that those facilitating this project will see that it is in their own best interest to protect the residents of the apartments, and work to that end with the CBJ. The only right thing to do because of the hazard, as supported by our Comprehensive Plan, is to create a garden park there instead. Juneau needs a park near the cruiseship terminal anyway.

Page Bridges


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