Assemblyman Chris Constant slams Muni Planning Dept: ‘You’re lying and I no longer trust you’

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During Tuesday’s Anchorage Assembly meeting, an ordinance pertaining to residential zoning came up before the Assembly and ruffled some feathers.

Assembly Chairman Chris Constant begged his fellow members to vote down an amendment on the ordinance, but the amendment passed 8-4.

The next thing that Constant was supposed to do was return to the main motion, but instead, he shocked the room and, evidently, most of the Assembly.

In a fit of pique because he did not get his way, Constant went on a diatribe against the Planning Department. Without even handing over the gavel to Vice Chairwoman Meg Zaletel, he said:

“To the Planning Department, I believe you are lying to the public and I no longer trust you. So that is the condition that now exists. Because you have presented to communities one message, and you had another move in your hands. That move is now before us, as we heard it was brought on behalf of the Planning Department,” Constant started.

“And we saw this with Town Square Park, and this is now the new pattern. And I’m sad, because I’ve been an ally with the Planning Department since I joined the body and before, when I worked on neighborhood planning to achieve harmonious neighborhoods. I believe you are now agents of disharmony. And it’s fine, you want to be disruptive, and it’s fine that members of this body are all about ‘let’s just get rid of all residential zones, let’s just do radical change right now without contemplating the impacts and without telling the public,'” he continued.

“So for my part, my takeaway on this is that you can’t trust the Planning Department anymore,” Constant concluded.

The amendment had been offered by Assembly members Meg Zaletel and Felix Rivera, and it removed some restrictions on heights for some properties that are zoned for multi-family, or apartments and condos. The aim is to get more affordable housing built in Anchorage in properties are zoned R-4A.

Assemblyman Kevin Cross said he didn’t see it the same way as Constant.

“And I think we ought to be real careful when we make statements like that, Mr. Constant, because many times we’ve brought actions before us to do public hearings, and then make radical amendments. We used to have an open session of [public comments] from 5:30 to 6 pm … and we told people we were bringing forward an action to adjust the time, and during that, we amended it [the public hearing time slot] to completely remove it. And the public said the same thing about us.”

Cross went on to defend the integrity of the Planning Department. He was joined by Assemblywoman Anna Brawley, who said that “as a planner, I also feel compelled to defend the Planning Department.”

Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel then said the amendment had been brought the first day the item was available for a public hearing “and so it’s been around. It wasn’t brought at the last minute. It wasn’t brought today. It has ridden with this item through its prior postponement.” She called the change a minor drop in the bucket compared to all the other changes to zoning that need to take place to ensure there is more housing in Anchorage.

Zaletel said, “I’m all for big bold moves because until we do it we don’t actually move the ball forward.”

Assemblywoman Karen Bronga said the area that the zoning change would affect is relatively small, and that height of buildings restricting sunlight for existing buildings is minor compared with the need to build more housing in Anchorage.

Assemblyman Randy Sulte also cautioned against disparaging the Planning Department, reminding Constant that it’s hard to get people to even work these days, “and if it’s not a welcoming environment where they feel valued they’re not going to want and come work for us.”

Sulte added that Anchorage is out of really easily buildable land, “and the only way to go is up.”

Constant violated the rules more than once, by not formally handing the gavel to Vice Chairwoman Zaletel, but simply by arguing with members of the Assembly who disagreed with him and besmirching the integrity and impugning the motives of the Planning Department, without following Roberts Rules of Order. No member called him out for his transgressions.

Mayor Dave Bronson objected to throwing “the Planning Department under the bus,” and said that he is impressed with the quality of the people in the department.

“I know sometimes in the heat of emotions when we lose we get that way but I’ve got to agree with some folks here….These are great people, and I think they need our support,” Bronson said.

In the end, Constant was the only one on the Assembly to vote against the main ordinance, which passed 11-1.

41 COMMENTS

    • that’s becasue she is runing for the mayor seat and is hoping that people will forget how she acted during covid

  1. So what exactly was the tantrum over? Best I could figure out, it’s to do with the height of residential buildings.

  2. Wasn’t Ms. Zaletel was taking a leave of absence to deal with physical, emotional and mental damage? Lots of destruction going on here. Can she be gone longer? Please?

  3. “it’s fine, you want to be disruptive, and it’s fine that members of this body are all about ‘let’s just get rid of all residential zones, let’s just do radical change right now without contemplating the impacts and without telling the public,’”

    this seems very hypocritical after all his lock down , forced masks and no property rights stances of 2020-2022

  4. Drama Queen. In the most literal sense.

    Otherwise, I thought Meg allegedly was too sick to work.

  5. His complaint is the same one we all have. The planners live in jargonland. They defeat communication. Their communication is substandard. They avoid misunderstandings and understandings. They are not sacred cows. They work for the assembly who absolutely attempt to do the same thing. The worst offenders are the “representatives” of West Anchorage. Let me tell you something young lady the future residents of Anchorage are not paying your stipend today. You are not available to talk to disagreeable West Anchoragites and I did not vote for you. And will not ever. You refuse to represent the people in your district who have been paying taxes for forty and more years.

  6. Why do I have the feeling this has something to do with his job with that high-end real estate agent?

  7. If you look at the history of the left, they always turn on each other once they have the power. Destruction and the accumulation of power is all they know. It’s in their nature.

  8. It’s simple – this clowns objection and tirade occurred because, in his district there are probably hard hitting, wealthy campaign donors who are his true constituents that have skin in this game. Unbeknownst to them, they hired a whiny, self righteous idiot that has no idea how to be a true politician; you know, the kind that gets others to agree with them after they’ve convinced them it was their idea.

    May I offer my apologies to those that invested in Constant as he was a poor choice.

  9. Good he got some of what he dishes out. How’s it feel to be told what to do constant? I hope you have many more days like that.

  10. CONSTANTly whining. CONSTANTly bitter. CONSTANTly arrogant. CONSTANTly throwing temper tantrums. CONSTANTly violating meeting and assembly rules. CONSTANTLy grandstanding. CONSTANTly a narcissist.

  11. With him doing a real estate gig on the side I am quite sure there is a collection of dollars somewhere in there for him to be throwing a tantrum with name calling and making false accusations. It would be beneficial to his “supporters” if they could witness his inability to get along with his gang who I cant believe didnt jump on his clown float and piss and moan wasting other valuable professionals time during an expensive meeting. If he wants to grandstand dont they have a “Queen for a day” show regularly at Mad Myrnas where they can slip bills in his panties to keep him coming?

    With all the name calling and degrading of all the decent people working together at the muni to help solve one of the most important issues facing the city I cant believe more of these professionals havent quit and gone to work for the private sector where their efforts are rewarded with appreciation. I certainly could never work in a hostile backstabbing environment the assembly has created with their back door closed meetings.

    I honestly cant believe people actually voted for this constantly whining misfit or was it all the flowers he delivered to Barb Jones during the vote counting that made the vote counters heart flutter with ecstasy? We will never know until we go back to real elections instead of selections.

  12. What do toddlers do when they do not get their way?
    Throw a tantrum. Then demand that others comply with their wants.

  13. “let’s just do radical change right now without contemplating the impacts and without telling the public,’” he continued.”
    Holy S#*T he truly does not comprehend irony or hypocrisy!
    This mad person is one of the biggest plandemic culprits around. The assembly silenced the public, threatened the public, forced masks, inappropriately used funds, stiffened the emergency election to replace Berkowitz, and destroyed multiple small business with nothing but a smirk, shoulder shrug and a glass of Zinfandel. Let’s not forget the whole “Tom Sconce” fiasco which constant still hasn’t answered to. Incredulous lout.
    God I hope this tool gets what’s coming to him.

  14. The next comprehensive plan update should address daylight impacts from increased height development. When the 5th Avenue Mall and JC Penneys skybridges were planned in the 1980’s blocking daylight and views was extensively reviewed. The recent ADU ordinance allowed increased heights on garages takes views and daylight from adjacent properties without consideration. This is an unreasonable take of private property value and should be re-evaluated, in other cities ADU orinances have primarily helped the AirBnBs and has driven up housing costs. Increased heights do not neccessarily result in lower costs when traffic impacts and other environmental factors are considered. Politicians do not get re-elected by taxing the Air BnB’s and using the revenue for lower income housing which has been proven to work

    • “This is an unreasonable take of private property value and should be re-evaluated, ”
      .
      Make sure that you have the Assembly do the same thing for the “sanctioned” homeless camps, as well as purchase of any property to house the homeless. If they cannot be bothered to do it for those actions, frankly, why bother for this one.

      • Tents do not block light to adjoining properties, mixing apples and oranges. Not sure why any resonable person would not want housing for everyone.

        • And yet they still have a significant impact on property value. Not sure why any reasonable person would not want housing for bums to be kept near the facilities for bums and away from our schools, parks and playgrounds.
          Some engineer,Cripes.

        • Yet… property values drop.
          Significantly.
          Just because it is not because of blocking light is nothing but a red herring, tossed out there to distract.
          .
          Now, please actually answer the question.

  15. Code of Federal Regulation 49 which regulates governmint work and directs to exacting federal standards or the DOT can punish states ignoring property rights (all of them) causing federal funds to be returned by the end of the month. This. actually has happened before in wayward Alaska just at the start up of the pipeline right here in Anchorage though it kindly never hit the media. The state was put in a scarey financial situation. The state straightened up about property rights temporarily and agreed to even teach the trainable Muncipality to also act in accord with unyielding federal requirements for federal “participation” in projects. This headline sets the stage nicely. Just buy the book and study it privately. The law library will tell you where you can purchase it.

  16. How high do residential buildings go in ANC? ….. 4 – 5 stories? (but usually 3 or less)
    Maybe we need some high rise residential housing, just like other big cities have.

    Sounds lie Mr. Constant had a fit because Connie Yoshimura didn’t get what she wants (again)

  17. You should not trust anyone in government. They are mostly stupid or have a racket going. Chris Constant really needs to stop acting like a little bitch and go sit in the corner!

  18. Building tall here is abad idea due to seismic activity unless you build special and expensive!. I’m thinking that while poor dear Meg is on vacation, her lawn could host a few tents and latrines they could greet her on her unawaited return. A fine welcome home party, with s bonfire!!

    • The homeless can just move in as it takes years to settle the dispute of who is the legal owner. I will testify that she gave them a key.

  19. Interesting dynamic with the newly installed Assembly majority. One of the first times in recent memory that Constant ends up on the losing end of a vote. Is this a one time good deal or new trend? Time will tell. Cheers –

    • That eventually the humanists grow tired of one another and covet one anothers power. Zalatel chased away all her humanist friends at homeless job and constant couldn’t find a friend in that room on tuesday. What does this tell city conservatives and christians, ‘continue grinding at the jobs set before them whatever God calls them in addition to keeping their money-making employment making themselves ready or another more conservative generation (an older gen z) take the helm because todays conservatives or christians did neighborhoodcouncil work or did gospel
      work to impact the community specifically next generation.
      Its just as proverbs speaks ‘ whoever works his land will have plenty
      of bread (success), but he who follows worthless pursuits (running away or inconsistent -sporadic- giving as some churches done during Impact Alaska sunday while kids at mclaughin sit on their hands staring at the walls- it was just brought to attention), will have plenty of Poverty (like conservativesnot winning races because of not laboring/investing where it matters most)

  20. Maybe we can just do away with that statement at the beginning of the meetings about maintaining a climate of respect and no personal attacks. Or does that just apply to residents who attend the meetings and not to the Assembly members or chair?

  21. Chris Constant is the poster child for who never to vote for, EVER! He has an agenda all right and it has nothing to do with the people he is supposed to represent. The man is a lunatic.

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