Anchorage Assembly public hearing Tuesday on ‘equity’ zoning, creating densely packed neighborhoods

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The Anchorage Assembly has a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, July 25, on an ordinance dismantling the current zoning structure in Anchorage.

The ordinance would create just two zones — housing and not housing. The change has been controversial, in no small part because it states that more tightly packed neighborhoods are better for everyone — and not everyone agrees with that.

Throughout the ordinance, it becomes clear that it’s a “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” initiative, and those “DEI” words are sprinkled throughout the “Whereas” clauses at the beginning of the 17-page ordinance.

The ordinance states that “increasing residential density can contribute to a more walkable and bikeable community, reducing dependence on private vehicles and promoting healthier lifestyles; and higher residential density can support the local economy by attracting businesses and services to areas with a larger population base.” 

It continues to state that “allowing more density in residential areas can create diverse and vibrant neighborhoods with a greater mix of housing types, promoting social  interaction and community cohesion; and increased residential density can support public transit systems by providing a larger customer base, making public transportation more economically viable and accessible.”

The ordinance also says that higher density will give people greater access to parks, schools, healthcare facilities, and shopping centers, “as these amenities can be located closer to where people live.”

There’s also the climate change argument in the ordinance, which says “accommodating increased residential density can help reduce the environmental impact associated with suburban sprawl, including carbon emissions from transportation and the loss of natural habitats.”

The ordinance also says “increasing residential density aligns with the goals of creating a more inclusive and equitable city by providing housing options for people of different income levels and lifestyles; and higher residential density can foster a sense of belonging and community pride, as residents have more opportunities to engage with their neighbors and participate in local activities.”

None of the statements are data-driven but appear to be aspirational by the authors of the ordinance and refer to social goals of the Assembly.

Some of the community councils have opposed the change. The Chugiak Eagle River Advisory Board, for instance, has voted unanimously against the resolution.

Assemblyman Kevin Cross and Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel are spearheading the effort to rewrite Title 21, the current zoning ordinance, which, if they succeed, is likely to result in multifamily units being built in single-family residential zones in every part of the city. A tall apartment building may be constructed right next to someone’s house, under this plan.

The full ordinance being considered is at this link.

The item is 14D on the agenda, and may come later in the meeting, or could be moved to a different part of the agenda, if the Assembly votes to change the order of business. Anchorage Assembly meetings start at 5 pm and are held at the ground floor meeting room of the Loussac Library, on the corner of 36th Avenue and Denali Street. Public members are given just two minutes to provide their testimony to the Assembly during meetings.

54 COMMENTS

  1. The intelligentsia pushing this ridiculous plan need to visit places like the South side of Chicago
    and other similar failures of city planning thruout the lower 48.

    • Chicago? ….. All they have to do is drive to north Muldoon Road & check out the high density housing already built there, along w/ the gangs of kids taking over the beautiful park the MOA built for families to enjoy. That, now overcrowded, neighborhood and the surrounding streets, are crashing rapidly right before our eyes.

      • Usually newly-built, but blighted or dysfunctional, projects are those by government. Private investors do not have the luxury of doing that; therefore, rezoning a neighborhood for apartments near single-family will unlikely result in such developments. Developers seldom undertake projects that makes no sense.

        • You must not be familiar with that Auschwitzian private condo/apartment development on the Old Glenn Highway in Eagle River, almost kitty-corner to Fred Meyer. It depresses me every time I drive by it.

  2. This entire ordinance is based on something Anchorage does not have: a growing population.

    What are the unspoken financial interests of Assembly persons who are involved in real estate development, who undoubtedly have friends and colleagues in real estate?

    What do they stand to gain?

    • To NotAnymore, who benefits?
      .
      Mr. Cross: “In his professional career he has served as 2012 President of The Anchorage Board of Realtors, is Vice Chair of the Anchorage Platting Board, and President of The Real Estate Exchange (REX), Alaska’s largest network of Real Estate Investors. He is currently President and Broker of Real Estate Brokers of Alaska, one of Alaska’s largest Real Estate Brokerages. Kevin has been featured on many Real Estate Investing national pod casts and is a paid professional speaker teaching real estate investing principals across the United States.
      .
      Mrs. Cross is a mortgage lender. (linkedin.com/in/kevin-cross-2017b6a)
      .
      Ms. Zalatel: “The Board of Directors is proud to announce Meg Zaletel as Executive Director. Meg Zaletel has guided the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH) as Interim Executive Director since November of 2021. The Board of Directors is proud to announce Meg Zaletel as Executive Director. Meg Zaletel has guided the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH) as Interim Executive Director since November of 2021.” (aceh.org/the-anchorage-coalition-to-end-homelessness-welcomes-meg-zaletel-as-executive-director/)
      .
      “There’s $85 million available for communities that want to relax restrictions on the density and type of housing that can be built in certain neighborhoods, especially areas limited to single-family homes. Proponents say the changes could address both affordability and equity concerns.” From “The New Federal Grants to Help Cities Ditch ‘NIMBY’-backed Zoning” (route-fifty.com/infrastructure/2023/01/new-federal-grants-aim-help-cities-ditch-nimby-backed-zoning-laws/381474/)
      .
      “The American Jobs Plan takes important steps to eliminate exclusionary zoning. Specifically, the Unlocking Possibilities Program within the American Jobs Plan is a $5 billion competitive grant program that incentivizes reform of exclusionary zoning. The program awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take concrete steps to eliminate needless barriers to produce affordable housing and expand housing choices for people with low or moderate incomes.” (whitehouse.gov/cea/written-materials/2021/06/17/exclusionary-zoning-its-effect-on-racial-discrimination-in-the-housing-market/)
      .
      $85M… $5B… Seems like Cross, Zalatel, and cronies stand to gain quite a lot.
      .
      Could this be all about public officials intending, under color of law, to abrogate their fiduciary responsibility for personal gain? Is their idea to force property devaluation, condemn properties, force homeowners out, then buy their properties on the cheap for federally subsidized Section 8 housing? Is the idea to tax individual homeowners out of existence, force them out, then buy their properties on the cheap for federally subsidized Section 8 housing?
      .
      Bottom line: Could this be a criminal enterprise in the making; public officials having motive, means, and opportunity to force “equity housing” on residents for the officials’ personal benefit?

        • Yes, Kevin Cross has proven himself to be nothing but a self-serving wolf in sheep’s clothing. He clearly ran for his Assembly seat JUST to push this rezoning measure that will benefit him professionally, as he has shown himself to be unwilling to address a number of local Chugiak/Eagle River matters that any dedicated assembly member normally would, as well as having already publicly stated that he is not interested in running for re-election.

      • Incredible.

        Thanks for the thorough reply.

        I hope those who can will show up for public comment and that those who can’t show up in person will call in. I will certainly try.

      • Howdy Morrigan. Thanks for a Wonderful Comment. One of the best I have ever read. Please continue to post here.

  3. We have zoning laws for a reason with the main one being that of the local utilities. Will there be enough water? What’s the electrical capacity and can it handle the added loads? Then, what I feel most important, can the local treatment plant handle all the additional sewage? In their feel good moments, Leftists never think of the consequences.

    • Zoning laws have nothing to do with utility capacity. All of Anchorage’s (publicly) piped wastewater goes to either the Eagle River, Asplund (Point Wornzof), or Girdwood treatment facilities. For those in more rural or exurban areas (e.g., upper hillside), septic systems are used. This has nothing to do with zoning but is simply related to the existing infrastructure.

      • I notice you did not address the electricity, natural gas, or roads.
        And, your answer to the sewage is basically meaningless without any discussion on whether those facilities have the capacity to handle any additional load.

      • All utilities have a capacity and I see nothing addressed about expanding said capacities. Zoning laws do take into account available utilities, roads, schools, public services which all tie into quality of life. I see a very poor quality of life in this endeavor.

    • They don’t care. They’ll be fine.
      Worked for the French Monarchy for 100s of years.

      • We know That’s why congested city residents start barring their home doors and windows to protect their family and possessions.

    • Democrats have always lived like rats. That’s why San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Detroit, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Atlanta, etc …..are now Rat Holes.

  4. Remember, the progressives see the slums of NYC as worker utopia.

    Impoverished, disarmed, tightly packed people are easier to rule.

    You got what you voted for, Anchorage. For some, you got what you couldn’t be bothered to vote against.

    People get the government they deserve.

  5. Hey, congratulations Anchorage. You are now seeing the fruit of your voting habits. It is called a dictatorship and is unconstitutional. You cannot enforce equity standards based on race, gender or any other ridiculous thing they conjure up. That would be called racism and picking winners and losers. If you do not mobilize and recall these communists running your government, you will end up like the created cesspools of San Francisco or Seattle.

  6. Good grief. A giant step backward in regard to city growth. That is how Mt. View started. It used to be a quiet neighborhood of single family residences on large lots. Good soil and trees. Then the pipeline started and then the multi-resident units crammed into every space. We now see where that ended up.

    There is a place for density and many people do want to live walking distance from amenities and work. That isn’t a bad thing, but forcing everyone into that mold is a ‘bad thing’. Putting large multi residence buildings smack in the middle of single family home neighborhoods is incompatible and disruptive. There needs to be some type of transition to keep an area nice. Nice condo or apartment complexes can be worked in to residential areas but when you have a dense city there needs to be some sort of order with that if ambiance and property value are to be preserved. Granted Anchorage has become over the top regulated and zoned but this sounds like a drastic jump backward. There is certainly not an abundance of common sense with this assembly.

  7. There is no doubt that the only way to grow is either higher density or sprawl. Problem is that Anchorage’s density is so low that mass transit will never pencil. It almost never does but here it will never be close.

  8. I attended the meeting Kevin Cross arranged at the Eagle River library on July 6th. The majority of his constituents who spoke at the meeting (and those who did not speak before the group) were opposed to the change that Cross and Meg Zaletel are promoting. Cross’s consistent response to the objections he heard was to say that his primary goal was “to be a part of the conversation with Zaletel”. Rather than accept the clear opinions of Eagle River voters and oppose this crazy zoning change, Cross implied that he is solidly behind the change. He said he does not care if he is not re-elected to the assembly after his current term. Cross seemed to believe that he is the smartest person in the room and those who disagree with him are simply uninformed.

  9. Kevin Cross is a joke. He stands to make millions off the zoning change.
    Cross lied to the people who voted for him. Cross relishes it and could care less.
    This draconian change to Anchorage Zoning rules is as radical as it gets.
    Eagle Exit cannot come soon enough.
    Everyone I speak to in Chugiak/Eagle River want separation from the Anchorage Crazies.

    • He is a deceiver, however Eagleriver must hold itself accountable putting money and social status ahead of character and integrity. They elected Sen Merrick to House before Allard afterall. Now they elected Cross. I am doubtful Eagleriver can keep itself ‘conservative’ after Eagleriver exit. Appears it is more democrat than it recognizes.

  10. In Congress, July 4, 1776

    The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    Pound sand, wannabe communist tyrants.

  11. I will bet absolutely NONE of the high density housing is planned for any of the Assembly member’s neighborhoods.
    Leftists. They have no problem spending other people’s money, wasting other people’s time, or destroying other people’s quality of life. Just as long as they get the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with “helping”

    • The last time I visited the west half of Government Hill (where Constant lives), people were snapping up older houses just for the lot (with land values exceeding a half million per acre) so they could demolish the house and build something newer, bigger, better. While that’s been a thing on the hill for over 20 years, it appeared to be accelerating. Theoretically, under this ordinance, the only thing stopping development would be subdivision covenants. I doubt they exist in the case of land subdivided by the federal government over a century ago.

      • Not better. Bigger, newer, and uglier. Those whom buy up the land to demolish an anchorage home that stood there for 30 plus years they have no culture, style, and no community. Some American towns homeowners invest in building its heritage and culture by refurbishing, remodeling, and maintaining existing structures 30 to 100 years old. Their towns are charming and picturesque. You know what these homeowners are for while in Alaska, they’re here for money. That’s what everyone came to Alaska for is money since 1890.

  12. Increased crime, decreased property values. All of you in Anchorage that have not been involved politically, it’s time to get off the couch. Attend a school board meeting. Attend an assembly meeting. Get involved with your community counsel.

  13. Our prayers have been answered. A real estate developer posing as an Assembly member who pretends to care about the housing layout framework installed decades ago to maintain the look and feel of an Alaskan city.
    He then teams up with a known fascist dictator style ruler who has proven herself to be a careless self centered grifter whose goal is to feast on the ever growing homeless population centers already in the planning stages.
    The Anchorage Bowl area is filling up with s**t.
    Thats why valley residents will never agree to a Knik bridge.
    They dont want the bowl spilling its ingredients that direction.
    Maybe a “floating city” built in the inlet would be more appropriate. (easier to flush when necessary)

    • That’s why prayers M U S T be specific. Know what one is asking before asking. Know God. Like for example sometimes new Christians ask for patience during difficulty with usually someone. Guess what happens? Their trial (the difficulty) is prolonged until they surrendered all and have understood patience usually after a long period. Eagleriver-Wasilla-Palmer needs to put God first and start reading the Bible and good bible teachers to help itself learn how to discern good character and integrity. Cause I pretty sure merrick and cross were dropping their deceptive red flags left and right before elected but Eagleriver only saw their success and wealth.

  14. Also, the last paragraph of this is indicative of the Assembly’s efforts to limit the public’s participation in their meetings:

    if I have to commit to being in person or on the phone from 5pm-11pm in order not to miss my chance to provide public comment on this particular ordinance because I don’t know when it will come up during the course of the meeting or if it may be moved around on the schedule, well, this comes to mind:

    “He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.”

  15. Has the US Constitution failed? We only do equity processes when the US Constitution fails. Tell me, when did the US Constitution fail? They forgot to put it in the lying sack of poop news for you wokesters. We are not in the equity zone.

  16. We do not consent your innovative ways no matter how many sycophants you put on speed dial to displace our cut off freedom of political speech in that building you should be removed from.

  17. We need a lawsuit to stop it when they vote for it. Two or three people want it for money only. Put it to a city wide vote.

  18. So if you busted your hump for the last 50 years to buy a home with an acre and some privacy, tough bounce. You now get a section 8 housing project next door. This is a move to enrich a few builders, realtors, and criminal conspirators on the assembly. Cross, the wolf in sheeps clothing on the assembly. Conservative he ain’t.

    • You are correct about Kevin Cross, RR.

      And we seem to hear very little from our other assemblyman, Scott Meyers.
      Neither of them is a Jamie Allard, that is for sure.

  19. Zoning laws are for a reason. Some had suggested that this ordinance is to pass and those communities that are concerned should institute C.C.R.’s, which really is another way to say zoning. Kevin Cross was told by all Community Councils in Chugiak and Eagle River to “stand down” on this ordinance. The Community Councils in Chugiak and Eagle River has unanimously voted on a resolution to deny the ordinance. Kevin Cross stated he will move to postpone the discussion in the Assembly until later in the Fall. I am not impressed!!!

  20. Just build a prison. It’s considered high density, living and equity. That’s where this is all headed anyways. this will not solve any problems, but will exacerbate them.

  21. So simple an idea, is it not?

    Create ghettos Citywide, so as to control the masses residing within by their reliance upon the Governmental teat.

    They feign Utopia but offer only Dystopia, whilst lining their own pockets within wealth and control, just as they have done within the aspect of ‘saving the homeless’.

    The dream of the picket fence surrounding a yard replaced by the reality of the security bars upon every window within a given high rise apartment complex.

    The dream of a neighborhood and neighbors protecting each other replaced by the equivalent of the tent next door within a homeless camp, having no idea who or what resides next to you.

    Want to make Anchorage affordable, Assembly?

    Reduce all services unto the very basic necessities and reduce property taxes within the same amount.

    Housing costs shall go down, rents shall go down, and more shall be able to afford the housing available unto them.

    Less Government, more housing opportunities.

    Simple.

    • You hear that Eagleriver-Wasilla-Palmer-Kenai-Nenena-Glennallen-Valdez-Mcarthy-Tok-Kenny Lake-Chitina-Copper Center. Those towns if they don’t want to get like Anchorage they better get their politics tightly organized with a close knit conservative group that controls their town next 40 years. Athena country may seem far away today only because the matsu hasn’t grown the size of Anchorage yet. When it does I can bet population will spill over into Ahtna country.

  22. So the latest social experiment of the Woke left wackos on the assembly once again goes against common sense. Lets crowd every rat in the box as close together as possible and see what happens. All you have to do is look at every inner city section 8 housing block on the country to get the answer. Thank God Alaska is still a quick drive away from Anchorage

  23. The local community councils are being ignored by the Anchorage assembly again. So really, this ruling body is once again guilty of abuse of power for personal gain. We have been seeing this for years now. No amount of public testimony will change their minds. Tyranny is a very appropriate term for this form of ruling. Everyone has commented against this and they will be ignored once again. Without even respect.

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