- Associated Press - Saturday, May 27, 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The city and borough of Juneau is considering relaxing zoning rules on historic homes.

Juneau and Douglas homeowners who want to remodel or rebuild historic homes are faced with zoning laws that complicate the process, KTOO-FM reported (http://bit.ly/2qmQXz8) Friday. That’s because many of the rules did not exist when the historic neighborhoods were built.

“We didn’t have lot sizes,” City Senior Planner Jill Maclean said. “For people to do any renovations or expansion of their building or new residential development, they now are required to meet the current zoning, which doesn’t reflect the character of the neighborhoods.”

Efforts to adjust zoning laws came after the Planning Commission denied an Alaska couple’s already limited plans for remodeling or rebuilding their crumbling home, according to the report.

Erica and Don Andrew Roguska bought their home last summer. They wanted to repair it after the previous owner left the outside timbers exposed and the windows boarded up.

“It’s pretty disheartening to come up against so many roadblocks, when we’re just trying to rebuild a home in a neighborhood so that we don’t have this derelict building here,” Don Andrew Roguska said.

The planning commission board members have said it was hard to deny the Roguskas.

Juneau officials have temporarily put in place an initiative known as the Alternative Development Overlay Districts that would allow the Planning Commission to have greater discretion to bend rules and take a more flexible approach on historic homes while they continues to review zoning rules.

“Projects will have to meet the height requirements,” Maclean said. “They’ll still have to meet the use requirements, and this doesn’t also address density.”

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Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org

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