Juneau Assembly declines request to reconsider cruise ship dock permit

Cruise ship docks historic downtown waterfront
Photo by Casey Kelly/KTOO.

The Juneau Assembly has declined a request to reconsider its nearly year old decision upholding a Planning Commission permit issued for two floating cruise ship berths on the downtown waterfront.

The Alaska Commercial Fishermen’s Memorial asked the Assembly to reconsider the decision last month, after it came to light that the city does not yet own some of the submerged tidelands where the cruise ship docks will be built.

In 2012, the nonprofit memorial intervened in an appeal of a conditional use permit issued for the project by the Juneau Planning Commission. The memorial’s board of directors believes the floating docks will impact the annual Blessing of the Fleet.

The Assembly upheld the permit in January. On Monday, members decided, without discussion, not to revisit that decision.

City Attorney Amy Mead says conditional use permits are issued for planning purposes, and the city’s Docks and Harbors Department was not required to show ownership of the tidelands before applying for one.

“I don’t believe that there was anything related to the tideland conveyance issue that could have changed or would have changed what the ultimate decision from the Planning Commission was,” Mead said.

She says Docks and Harbors will have to show proof of ownership or get an agreement from the property owner before applying for a construction permit.

The State of Alaska issued a preliminary decision last month approving the transfer of nearly 18 acres of submerged tidelands to the city. Juneau Port Director Carl Uchytil has said he expects a final decision this month or next (click here to read Uchytil’s response to the fishermen’s memorial). The Docks and Harbors Department delayed opening bids for the $54 million project until the matter is settled.

Fishermen’s memorial President Bruce Weyhrauch said via email that the nonprofit will not formally pursue reconsideration of the Assembly’s decision.


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