The Committee of the Whole meets Monday, June 12 to discuss how to proceed with the proposed changes to the mining ordinance. The committee approved Mayor Ken Koelsch’s plan to appoint a three-person subcommittee to look into the effects of changing the ordinance, and Koelsch will reveal his plan in more detail this Monday. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Assembly meeting to address zoning, mining

Monday’s City and Borough of Juneau Assembly meeting could have effects on both sides of Gastineau Channel.

One of the ordinances open for discussion and public comment would change the zoning of downtown Juneau and Douglas in order to make it easier for property owners to add onto their property.

As Senior Planner Jill Maclean explained at the June 12 Committee of the Whole meeting, both Juneau and Douglas were built long before current zoning regulations existed. As a result, the current zoning doesn’t fit well with plans to expand for the future, and makes it difficult for neighborhoods to be walkable and compact as detailed in the 2013 Comprehensive Plan.

“The current zoning districts don’t support the community’s vision that was presented in the Comp. Plan in 2013,” Maclean said at the meeting, “and they don’t really provide sufficient standards for rehabilitation, restoration or expansion of existing homes or the development of new homes on these smaller lots.”

The proposed ordinance would allow property owners more freedom to make changes to their buildings or, as Maclean noted, to even build new buildings. Those looking to make changes would still have to go through the Planning Commission and have the changes up for public comment, but they would have more options, Maclean said.

That ordinance is likely to be the highlight of the portion that’s open for public comment, but there’s plenty more set to happen at the meeting.

Mayor Ken Koelsch is expected to announce a plan for a committee to look into changing Juneau’s mining ordinance. At the June 12 Committee of the Whole meeting, the committee voted 6-3 to form a three-person subcommittee to look into the future of mining in Juneau, spurred by a proposal to change the existing mining ordinance.

[City officials divided on how to proceed with mining ordinance]

This subcommittee will start with three Assembly members and then expand to add other members of the public. At the June 12 meeting, Koelsch said he intended to have a plan for the subcommittee ready in time for the June 26 Assembly meeting. The structure of it was an issue of contention at the meeting, as City Manager Rorie Watt strongly suggested that the entire Assembly be involved in the subcommittee, as did Assembly member Maria Gladziszewski.

“It is a big lift and I don’t see how a three-member committee can do that work for the Assembly,” Gladziszewski said. “If this is gonna happen, it’s work on the Assembly’s part.”

Another minor part of Monday’s meeting will be a vote on whether or not to dissolve the Fisheries Development Committee (FDC). The committee was formed in 1985, but has been in decline for the past decade. Its membership was reduced from nine members to seven in 2007, and then reduced from seven to five members in 2016.

The committee has struggled to consistently gather a quorum over the years and the Assembly Human Resources Committee voted on June 5 to draft a resolution to dissolve the committee. On Monday, the Assembly will vote whether or not to adopt that resolution.



• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at



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