The following is from the Anchorage Citizens Coalition.
Date: Sun, Jul 23, 2023
Comments and testimony due July 25 at the Assembly Public Hearing. wwmas Rabbit Creek and Rogers Park Community Councils are taking the lead, and their work is summarized below, with their submissions attached.
On May 23 this year, Anchorage’s Assembly threw up their hands over homelessness,the tight rental market and lack of new home construction, and introduced AO 2023-66 that seeks to solve a multitude of problems by ‘increasing density’ across the Anchorage bowl.
Anchorage 2020 and 2040 both plan for higher density near employment centers along transit corridors. Why did the Assembly choose to ‘shotgun’ density throughout the bowl? Why did they ignore established law? How involved are municipal planners? Why is the Assembly ignoring Anchorage 2020 and Anchorage 2040?
Yes, we all suffer from this dysfunctional municipal administration, but we deserve competence from our (recently reelected) Assembly.
Thank heavens John Weddleton is paying attention. He has even proposed a legal alternative to AO 2023-66 that is attached.
NOTES FOR SUBMITTING YOUR COMMENTS ON AO 2023-66 (gleaned from Rabbit Creek Community Council’s comments that are attached:)
- Instead of deconstructing Title 21, create a new Anchorage 2050 that will engage citizens in updating Anchorage’s vision and plan.
- Provide real data that establishes the causes of homelessness, low rates of new construction and rising housing costs. ie: look into the cost effects of Short Term Rentals (STR’s)
- In Alaska, simplified zoning codes do not correlate with residential price increases (see Wasilla/Palmer, Soldotna and greater Kenai area.)
- Build new neighborhoods and homes in neglected areas near employment centers and transit corridors. Don’t scatter commercial development and accompanying traffic into more distant neighborhoods.
- Cities without traditional zoning, such as Houston TX also struggle with affordability as 46.7 percent of renters pay over 30% of their income for housing.
- Don’t scapegoat zoning for problems with cost increases in building materials, mortgage rates, transportation supply systems and decline of job availability and education funding.
- Anchorage Land Use Plan 2040 shows current zoning allows for 27% more multifamily housing than projected needs, even before the Assembly allowed universal ADU construction.
- Who benefits and who loses with proposed changes? Why are developers and real estate professionals so supportive?
- Home ownership and long term neighborhood tenure support community cohesion.
- Nationwide there is long-term, accelerating decline in low cost residential units. In Anchorage, older neighborhoods seem to provide more low cost rentals per acre due to smaller and aging housing stock.
- New construction in South Addition is gentrifying the neighborhood with $750,000 – $1,000,000 condo units. Blind support of new construction does not necessarily support diversity of age, income or culture.
- Assembly members need to follow state law and legal decisions that zoning codes will implement comprehensive plans, not override them. A.S. 29.40.040.
- Do not override neighborhood and district plans that guide residential density and scale.
- This proposal creates uncertainty about future land uses, making long term investments more of a gamble.
- Consider transportation/traffic/climate impacts of more scattered residential and commercial density – but then shucks, isn’t it a little late to start worrying about that?
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