Land swap could open Pederson Hill to residential development

Pederson Hill
City officials are hoping to get authorization to negotiate a land swap that could open Pederson Hill to housing development. (Photo by Casey Kelly/KTOO)

A proposed land swap between the City and Borough of Juneau and Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church could open up about 150 acres on Pederson Hill to development.

City Lands and Resources Director Greg Chaney says the vision is a single-family residential neighborhood, with more than 100 new homes.

“Generally similar characteristics to traditional downtown layouts like we have in downtown Juneau or in Douglas,” Chaney says. “You know, the ones that date from the turn of the century.”

Last summer, the Juneau Assembly rezoned the city’s Pederson Hill land to allow higher density development. The area is located between the Mendenhall River and Auke Lake, just off Glacier Highway. But there’s one problem.

“There’s a band of private properties between our land and the highway,” Chaney says. “So we need to gain access to that before we can do any kind of proposal for development.”

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church sits on one of those properties. Chaney says the city has had preliminary talks with church officials about a land swap, and even has what he calls “a very tentative agreement.” The city would get a strip of land owned by the church to build a new road. The church would get an equivalent piece of city property just up the hill.

“Kind of buffer between what they have now and the new development,” says Chaney.

Authorization to negotiate the deal is on the Assembly’s agenda tonight. Assembly members have been working to expand the city’s housing stock.

Dean Dawson with the church says the congregation supports the proposed trade.

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