The Assembly Lands Committee approved a proposal Monday night to change 6 acres of land near Lemon Creek from the rural-reserve and industrial zone to a residential zone, with up to 10 homes per acre.
The property owner, Ralph Horency, plans to build 50 housing units on the piece of land at the end of Davis Avenue. The land faces Lemon Creek to the south, Lemon Creek Correctional Facility to the east and single-family homes to the north and west.
The Juneau Assembly will hear the rezoning proposal in January.
The lands committee's decision upset many residents of the Lemon Creek neighborhood.
"We are very concerned about traffic impact and flooding risk of the development," said Daniel Collison, chairman of the Lemon Creek Neighborhood Association. The neighborhood association represents 350 households.
Lemon Creek does have a potential flooding risk because of sediment deposits and confinement of the stream due to nearby developments.
A 1995 Lemon Creek Recovery Plan by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation recommended no development within 50 feet of the ordinary high-water mark on Lemon Creek. Although the development and right-of-way are not within 50 feet, the base of the road is close to 50 feet, said city planner Nathan Bishop.
Residents also are concerned about traffic from the development.
"Davis will be the only road in and out of the property," Collison said. "That will increase the traffic congestion on Davis."
But the developer cannot start construction until traffic at the intersection of Old Glacier Highway and Davis Avenue is improved - one of the conditions proposed by the Juneau Planning Commission. The Alaska Department of Transportation and the city plan to improve this intersection in 2006.
The developer also has to wait for the city to build sidewalks and install streetlights on Davis Avenue. The city is scheduled to rebuild the street in 2007 as a capital improvement project.
Despite the measures to mitigate the effects of traffic, Collison said the association opposes the rezoning proposal.
"We still favor the city to negotiate land trade with the property owner and not develop the land," Collison said,
I-Chun Che can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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