City-hired experts produced new hazard maps for avalanches and landslides — how should the city balance responsible development with the needs of community members already living there?

  • District 1 Assembly

    • Troy Wuyts-Smith

      Candidate for District 1 Assembly

      First of all, I think that it’s a great idea that we hired these experts and I think that we do need to trust these experts and development team because safety is key here. I believe that the community involvement is important as well, we need to bring in the community members and discuss their concerns and the issues that they think would result from this project. And I think that that is key right there, is to listen to the feedback and then sit down with the developers and the people and see if we can come up with a solution that works well for everybody. And I think safety is the main focus.

    • Barbara 'Wáahlaal Gíidaak Blake

      Candidate for District 1 Assembly

      I think in terms of safety, we really have to think about the second crossing, you know, as as an alternative route for folks to be able to escape something, a huge catastrophe that could impact a lot of our community members. I think, in terms of economic growth, housing shortages and just public safety at large, when it comes to catastrophes the second crossing is an excellent solution to help with a lot of mitigating of those, those factors in Juneau. 

    • Paul Kelly

      Candidate for District 1 Assembly

      So I’m still developing my position on this. This question is actually very timely, because I recently had an inquiry come into my campaign inbox. And so I’m putting some thought into it. My first priority, of course, is going to be safety. And my second priority is going to be not to increase the burden on the landowners already living there. I think it’s already difficult enough to find affordable housing in Juneau. So as I form my position and decide what I’m going to do going forward, those will be my priorities I consider. 

  • District 2 Assembly

    • Kelly Fishler

      Candidate for District 2 Assembly

      You know, those residents who already live there have lived there for as long as they have, and their houses are still standing. And so it’s definitely something that you have to know about and you have to be aware of. Living anywhere has risks, whether you live in New York City or along the giant fault line in California or you live in Alaska. So we want to make sure that we have plans in place to take care of anything that does happen. But we’re also working towards avoiding anything happening in the first place.

    • Michelle Bonnet Hale

      Candidate for District 2 Assembly

      I think we don’t want to do what Sitka did, which is pass an ordinance and then have to repeal it. I think we need to think really carefully about this. We also need to think really carefully about which are the highest hazard areas and try to address those. There have been people that have suggested to me that the city explore buyout of those really high hazard areas. I think it’s worth looking at, actually, we need to think about this. Take our time.

  • Mayor

    • Beth Weldon

      Candidate for Mayor

      The assembly is just on informational phase of dealing with the maps for the avalanche and landslides. So we still have a bit to learn. It’s gonna be a tough balance because these properties are on private properties. And hopefully we’ll be able to help them come up with ideas for mitigation, challenges, but we’re probably not going to be able to do much for liability. As far as newer development, we should look twice at whether we allow any further developments in some of these severe or  high zones.