Planning Commission postpones Statter Harbor question

The old boat launch at Statter Harbor.

The old boat launch at Statter Harbor. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

The Juneau Planning Commission has postponed reconsideration of the conditional use permit for a new boat launch and parking area at Statter Harbor.

The Planning Commission had planned to take up the second vote at its meeting Tuesday night. But CBJ Community Development Director Hal Hart asked for the delay.

He says he’s been pushing the CBJ Docks and Harbors Department to resolve project issues that resulted in the Planning Commission’s vote last month to reject the permit.

Chairman Mike Satre called for reconsideration, and told Docks and Harbors to  use the time to respond to local homeowners’ concerns about the project.

Port Director Carl Uchytil says he’s done just that.  He’s met with Auke Bay Towers condominium association attorney and plans a meeting with the Statter family.  The harbor is named after Don D. Statter, a former state public works employee and CBJ Docks and Harbors Board member, who advocated for Juneau harbor improvements.

Uchytil says he has “tweaked” the permit application, but believes the project as it is meets environmental and regulatory requirements as well as community needs.

“We’re working diligently with all those concerned that the Auke Bay condo association and others to ensure the project is built that meets the demand of the boating public and we feel the he process have been followed diligently,” Uchytil says.   “And after 4 ½ years we think it will vastly improve the Auke Bay area and provide a benefit to all Juneauites.”

Community Development Director Hart wants to see another draft plan by the end of this week that addresses neighbors’ primary complaints, including the question of green space at the harbor.

“What would the folks who are living in the condominium – what do they see? And then from their perspective, are they just looking at a large parking lot,  fill and a parking lot, or is that going to be broken up with some landscaping?”

Hart says the seawalk also should be attractive as a public place, not just a spot for harbor users, “so  that coming in from the highway you’ll be able to walk down that seawalk and have a progressive view of the shoreline.  You’ll see the stream off to your right as you’re walking and the bay would be in front of you. Ultimately we want that to be a nice public amenity.”

But Hart acknolwedges there’s not much space for both parking and landscaping in the area.

Neighbors also are concerned about lighting, which Port Director Uchytil says is mostly resolved.

Hart says he’s bringing up the design issues at the Planning Commission level because they’re important to the community. The Statter Harbor Master Plan has been in the works for more than four years.  New floats have already been completed.

The Planning Commission will take up the Statter Harbor conditional use permit on June 25th.