Work on the new Pederson Hill Subdivision continues on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Work on the new Pederson Hill Subdivision continues on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Public meeting about Pederson Hill draws landowners’ ire

Old objections raised during update on planned subdivision

A public meeting about the Pederson Hill subdivision included some new facts and figures but also old grievances and jeers.

A Thursday night update from City and Borough of Juneau Lands and Resources Division at Mendenhall Valley Public Library about a housing development at the base of a hill between Auke Lake and the Mendenhall River attracted about a dozen landowners who aren’t pleased with city plans to sell land.

“Some of us feel the city has taken complete control of this development market,” said landowner Dave Hanna during the meeting. “When you do this, it makes me stop. It makes me go, ‘My God, how do I compete with the city?’

Similar concerns have been part of discussions surrounding Pederson Hill since the three-phased project that intends to turn about 26 acres of city-owned land into 86 lots to be sold to private buyers came to the public’s attention about three years ago.

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Jim Sidney asked where the city had come up with $7 million to work on the 17 Phase 1 lots.

“A lot of people want to know that,” Sidney said.

Greg Chaney, City and Borough of Juneau lands and resources manager, who led the presentation said after the meeting he did not have an exact total for what had been spent on the project. However, he said the plan is for the total 86-lot development to come out to $100,000 per lot. That works out to $8.6 million.

Chaney said lots sales helped fund some of the work and will continue to help support the project.

“Part of why we’re doing this in smaller bites is we’ll take Phase 1 and put it into Phase 2,” Chaney said. “We’ve been taking leftover money from capital improvement projects, and I don’t know where all of it originated.”

While the objections raised aren’t new, Chaney said they were somewhat surprising.

“I thought we’d have some people looking to build a house,” Chaney said after the meeting.

At least one person in attendance was there because they were interested in the properties that are zoned for single-family residences or small businesses such as a child care service.

Brett Campbell, a self-described small developer, said that’s why he came to the meeting.

“I’m looking for land,” he said afterward.

Campbell said he was curious about when the lots would be for sale.

When he and others will have the opportunity to buy land, and at what price is still up in the air, Chaney said.

Before that’s decided, Phase 1 of the project will need to be substantially completed.

Construction at the site started in spring of 2018, and progress has been slower than anticipated. Chaney said “substantial completion” is expected by mid June. The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly will also need to introduce an ordinance for selling the lots.

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Chaney said right now the lots are expected to be sold at fair market value, but they have not yet been assessed.

An ordinance related to selling the lots is expected to come up during the May 20 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Then, there will need to be a public hearing for the ordinance, a 30-day delay until the ordinance takes effect and 45 days for advertising the sale.

Chaney said a land sale would be expected by late fall or winter.

Even more nebulous are the timelines for Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the process because Chaney said some of that timeline will be at the discretion of the Assembly, and it will likely depend on the sale of lots in the project’s early phases.

“If these don’t sell, we’re not going to build Phase 2,” Chaney said.


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


Greg Chaney, City and Borough of Juneau lands and resources manager, speaks during a meeting at Mendenhall Valley Public Library to provide an update on the planned Pederson Hill subdivision, May 9, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Greg Chaney, City and Borough of Juneau lands and resources manager, speaks during a meeting at Mendenhall Valley Public Library to provide an update on the planned Pederson Hill subdivision, May 9, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

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