Mayor Dave Bronson, on advice from city attorneys, says the Golden Lion Hotel is not a legal location for a homeless shelter, and even using it for so-called “transitional housing” would need a parking variance and permitting. All of that would take time.
The city’s Department of Law released a memorandum outlining multiple challenges to using the Golden Lion, which the Anchorage Assembly has asked to be used as a homeless shelter. On Friday, the Centennial Campground was closed as a homeless encampment for the winter. Over the summer, the city allowed homeless people to live there without having to pay a fee, and brought in sanitation, safety patrols, clean up crews, and maintenance to keep the place orderly and safe. With winter coming, homeless will be sent back out to fend for themselves, unless something changes. Plans from the mayor’s office and plans from the Assembly have been in conflict for many months and are at what seems to be an impasse.
The challenges of using the Golden Lion include:
- Assembly Ordinance 2020-66(S) as amended, prohibits the Golden Lion from being used as a homeless and transient facility.
- The Anchorage Assembly’s proposed use of the Golden Lion for housing, is not allowable per the Emergency Cold Weather Shelter Plan (Municipal Code 16.120)
- The Golden Lion does not meet municipal zoning and building laws for the use proposed by the Anchorage Assembly.
- The use proposed for the Golden Lion by the Anchorage Assembly puts the Municipality of Anchorage at risk of discrimination and violation of state and federal housing laws.
“I look forward to having further discussions with the Anchorage Assembly,” said Mayor Dave Bronson.
The Department of Law memorandum can be found at this link.