Assembly adopts long-sought Title 21 rewrite

Ossiander’s term expires in April


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After a decade of work, the Anchorage Assembly finally approved a rewrite of the Municipality’s land use code.

On a 9-2 vote — with Adam Trombley and Patrick Flynn opposed — the Assembly pass the Title 21 rewrite as its meeting Feb. 26.

Even the flu couldn’t keep Title 21 chair Debbie Ossiander from voting on a rewrite she’s been working on her entire time on the Assembly.

“This is a big thing I wanted to get done,” she said.

The rewrite was Ossiander’s main reason for originally seeking office. The Chugiak assemblywoman attended a Title 21 meeting the first week of her first term and has been working on it since.

All the evidence is in her home.

“You wouldn’t believe how much Title 21 paper is still in my den,” she said. “I have a stack that I swear is 3 feet tall.”

To review every chapter in Title 21, visit www.muni.org/Departments/Assembly/Pages/AssembyTitle21Committee.aspx.

Work began on Title 21 in 2002 to fix several contradictions in the former code. But the first draft, written by national consulting firm Clarion Associates, was not well received — and especially irked Chugiak-Eagle River residents.

So the Consortium of Chugiak-Eagle River Community Councils was created. The group, made up of one representative from each area community council and an at-large member, drafted a chapter for the rewrite specific to Chugiak-Eagle River.

Chapter 10 was adopted in full with minor changes to the original draft.

“The amendments that came weren’t really big,” Ossiander said.

The consortium was pleased with the final outcome, chair Randy McCain said.

“We’re very happy with the way it came out,” he said. “In a lot of ways, Anchorage followed suit with what we were trying to accomplish.”

The consortium’s main goal was to preserve the area’s rural lifestyle.

Chapter 10 retains the R-5 zoning district, which permits mobile homes on lots. The CE-R-5, as it’s called, is a different district than the one trailer parks fall under.

Chapter 10 also created a new zoning district, CE-B-3. This allows rural businesses to avoid unnecessary rules imposed by the Anchorage 2020 Comprehensive Plan.

The Chugiak-Eagle River specific chapter is more lenient on horse owners and offers more flexibility for home-based businesses and on Dumpster regulations.

Chapter 10 also includes the creation of a new advisory board to review area-wide issues. The board will be made up of one representative from each community council and a member from the Native Village of Eklutna.

McCain said all six community councils supported creating the board.

“This is really the beginning of a new process out here,” he said.

Having served three terms, Ossiander’s time on the Assembly will come to an end next month when she is term limited out.

But she hopes her service to the community isn’t ending. Ossiander is on the April 2 ballot for the Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department Board of Supervisors.

“She’s perfect for it,” said Pete Mulcahy, who’s on the CVFD board and running for Ossiander’s assembly seat. “She’ll be a real asset.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727.

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