Opponents appeal Montana Creek Rd. rock crusher permit

Opponents of a rock crusher at a Montana Creek Road gravel pit have appealed a Conditional Use Permit issued to Coogan General, LLC last month by the Juneau Planning Commission.

The appeal was filed Wednesday by Peggy and Richard Mattson, who live in the Montana Creek subdivision. Peggy Mattson says they’re concerned about how the rock crusher could affect health, safety, traffic, and neighborhood aesthetics.

“Over the past twenty years they’ve increased the residential density of the neighborhood. We have over 300 homes, with the Community Garden, recreation area all in this area, the gun club,” says Mattson. “And putting basically an open pit mine in the residential area doesn’t fit into the scheme of things.”

The Mattsons live next to Juneau Assembly member Ruth Danner, whose comments to the Planning Commission about the issue last month drew a threat of censure from Mayor Bruce Botelho. Danner is among more than 40 Juneau residents listed as a concerned parties on the appeal.

The Assembly is typically the appeal board for Planning Commission decisions, and the matter has been scheduled for the May 14th Assembly meeting. But City Attorney John Hartle has recommended a hearing officer decide the case. Hartle says Danner’s comments on the issue to the Planning Commission and during Assembly meetings hurt the Assembly’s chances of hearing the matter fairly and impartially. The attorney estimates a hearing officer could cost the city up to $20,000.

The permit approved by the Planning Commission put more than 20 conditions on Coogan’s proposed operations. They include locating the rock crusher at the far north end of the gravel pit, limiting its hours of operation to weekdays between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., and noise restrictions.

Wayne Coogan of Coogan General declined an interview request at this time.