Volunteers of America have been given the OK to build up to 75 apartments in West Juneau.
The Planning Commission Tuesday night approved a conditional use permit for the two-phase project on Vista Drive. It includes 40 apartments in the first phase, with site work to begin next spring.
CBJ Community Development Director Hal Hart says Volunteers of America must still raise funds for the second phase of 35 units, scheduled to start in 2015.
While the non-profit organization is one of the largest providers of affordable housing in the U.S., more than a third of the Juneau units will rent at market rates. Some units will be set aside for people making less than $50,000 a year.
“There are definitely going to be units that are set aside at 50 percent of the area median income, but there are 15 in this first phase of 40 set aside for market rate,” he says.
Hart says the Volunteers of America development is the first this year to be directed at residents having difficulty finding a house or apartment that is reasonably priced for their income.
“The folks I’m talking about are working but at less than what the median income for Juneau is, so they’re spending more of their income on housing than others are, and it may require a second job for the housing, or two incomes to qualify for housing,” he says.
Hart calls the VOA project very important for a town short on affordable housing. So far in 2013, the city has received 132 applications for housing permits. But most of the proposed condominiums, homes or apartments will be rented or sold at what the market will bear.
Volunteers of America with Alaska Development Partners have been building multi-family housing projects across the state, with most units in Anchorage. The Juneau project would be adjacent to Crest Condominiums. The plan preserves about 25 percent of large trees as well as existing vegetation along Vista Drive. Hart says the apartment complex will be managed onsite by VOA.
- Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she needs time to review a health care bill drafted by fellow Republicans to understand its effects.
- Advocacy group Alaska Trails sent a letter to let Gov. Bill Walker know that transportation funds are at risk. Alaska returned $2.6 million to the U.S. Department of Transportation last September.
- The Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association has been trying to move a majority of its net pens in the Tutka Bay Lagoon to the head of Tutka Bay for about four years. The hotly debated issue has led to packed community meetings and questions about the impact of raising fish in the area.
- A lot of science involves happy accidents. A retired scientist from Oregon stepped off the ferry in Sitka late last month, and on a hunch decided to look around the woods for an old friend.