PUBLISHED: 3:56 PM on Wednesday, May 16, 2007
City proposals up for review

  Preliminary alternative routes map are proposed for a Lemon Flats second access road.
Big projects are on the horizon in Juneau's Lemon Creek area. The City and Borough of Juneau is busy this summer handling proposals. Recently, it sent out documents to residents living in the Lemon Creek area.

CBJ Engineering Department is initiating a study to evaluate a second access into the Lemon Flats commercial and industrial district to resolve safety and congestion concerns associated with the existing access at Anka St. and Glacier Hwy, according to CBJ.

"In recognition of the rapid growth of this area and the increasing traffic concerns, the CBJ Area Wide Transportation Plan calls for implementing transportation enhancements and improved access into the Lemon Creek area.

The study will consider traffic, environmental and land use issues to recommend alternative routes.

These routes may include upgrading existing roads or building new roads to meet the needs of the community," said Michele Elfers, project manager at CBJ.

Environmental impacts may include work in wetlands, floodplains and within the coastal zone.

The road would loop behind industrial area's including Costco and the new Home Depot. Recommendations of this study may result in right-of-way acquisition, they said.

Citizens will be able to make comments concerning the second access at a Public Scoping Meeting from 6:30-9 p.m. Monday, May 21, at the Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School Library.

Another proposal submitted is a Conditional Use permit for extracting approximately 200,000 cubic yards of gravel from Lemon Creek, over a period of five years, according to CBJ.

Applicant Ralph Horecny, of Juneau, is using gravel ultimately for business plans.

"We came up with a plan to keep water flowing and salmon coming each year; we worked hard to come up with a solution," said area manager Jackie Timothy, of Department of Natural Resources, office of Habitat Managing and Permitting in Juneau.

The extraction is located is some of the best salmon chum area; the department has made it viable for both mining opportunities and habitat protection.

Concerning Horecny's representative, lawyer Jan Vandort, she said that whatever we have needed to protect the habitat, he's agreed.

"It's going to be a pretty elaborate collaboration to make it work," she said.

Timothy said the plan was approved by the Wetland Review Board.

"The gravel is going to end up as blending sand and gravel for projects," Vandort said.

He said there is so much erosion in the upper valley and by removing the riffraff it exposes the river bottom.

"It's a good thing all the way around," he said.

Opinions vary on the subject.

"I would say it's shocking that in the year 2007 residents even have to be faced with the possibility that Lemon Creek gravels would be mined; we should be trying to return all natural water bodies to their pristine state," said resident Katy McKerney, who lives in the area.

"Allowing the excavation in an active stream sets a precedent to allow it to happen in other streams," McKerney said.

Secon, Inc. is asking for a permit from City Planning Commission concerning 50-foot habitat setback to 28-feet from an anadromous stream to allow the installation of a truck scale for the Sunny Point Overpass project.

"The CBJ Land Use Code requires a 50-foot setback from listed anadromous streams.

Lemon Creek is a listed salmon stream and Secon has installed their truck scales closer than 50 feet from Lemon Creek's ordinary high water mark," said community development planner Greg Chaney, of CBJ.

"They didn't get a permit, they just set up; they're operating huckelty-buck," said Chaney. Secon is vying for a permit, to keep the truck scale there.

City analysis said the situation is challenging because the project has already been installed and operating.

"Sediment retention measures are most effective if they are installed prior to construction. In addition, trucks will deposit fine sediment at the site continuously. Dust, grit and soil will settle on the grounds are the scales.

This fine material will then have the potential to run off the site and into Lemon Creek," according to CBJ.

Secon has proposed several measures including a silt fence installed at the toe of the existing slope to reduce sediment runoff into Lemon Creek, and may be placed prior to the Wetland Review Board meeting.

The public meeting will be held by the Wetland Review Board at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, May 17, in City Hall Room 224.

The Plannning Commission will hold a hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, on May 22, at the Assembly Chambers, to make a firm decision on the proposal. Citizens are invited to attend the public hearing and present oral testimony.

"Public testimony can be taken generally at both," Chaney said.

"The bottom line is everything has to meet state water quality standards," said environmental program specialist Joran Freeman, of the Department of Environmental Conservation.