Heads up, Juneau! There are two tourism development-related opportunities to make your voice heard!

Written by Meredith Trainor

March 28, 2022

Hello, neighbor! I hope you enjoyed the glorious weather this past weekend and our breezy, increasingly light-filled glide into spring!

There are two issues coming up that may pique your interest as a fellow resident of Dzántikʼi Héeni/Juneau. Each offers opportunities for public weigh-in, which we are happy to share below.

First, there is a Public Webinar happening on March 31 (that’s this Thursday) regarding the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Facility Improvements Project.

A draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) — which you may view here along with some accompanying documents and a video — has been published by the Tongass National Forest. The Public Online Webinar offers an opportunity for the public to ask clarifying questions about the expansion project before submitting any comments by April 18, 2022.

Proposed additions include a new Welcome Center complex and a remote glacier visitor area and docks and motorized commercial boat use on Mendenhall Lake, as well as a substantial expansion of parking and access areas.

The Zoom webinar — which you may register for here — will be held this Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Comments will not be taken during the public online webinar. However, comments may be submitted online, faxed to 907-586-8808, and mailed or hand-delivered to 8510 Mendenhall Loop Road, Juneau, Alaska, 99801.

Next, let’s look at talk about recent movement on an additional cruise ship dock along downtown’s waterfront.

The City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ) recently held a comment period regarding the 2004 Long Range Waterfront Plan allowing a new cruise ship dock to be built downtown. Norwegian Cruise Line owns the nearly 3-acre property along Egan Drive near Merchant’s Wharf, although closer to where the newer Tracy’s Crab Shack is located.

At this point, according to CBJ’s tourism webpage under Subport Development:

“Norwegian Cruise Lines’ proposed development at the Subport is currently under review by CBJ and by state and federal agencies. The Long Range Waterfront Plan amendment was approved on March 14, 2022. The next step is Planning Commission review of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) application. If a CUP is approved, CBJ will enter into negotiations on a tidelands lease. The terms of the lease would be evaluated by the Assembly and put to a vote.”

The next few months will provide Juneau residents many opportunities to make our voices heard regarding NCL’s proposed development, including additional meetings or other opportunities to engage in the “Conditional Use Permit” stage of the CBJ process.

As with all development projects, it is critical city leaders and developers hear from members of our community about the centrality and size of the role we want tourism to play, and that we each take time to participate in this process sooner rather than later.

Please make sure to check out the links and join the Public Online Webinar about the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center this Thursday night to learn more!

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