Monday, July 9, 2012

Title 21 effects on Anchorage

near Arctic & 36th
For those following the process that Title 21 is going through with the Planning and Zoning Commission, you have every right to feel despair and hopeless. I know I do. 2012 marks ten frickin' years since the Title 21 rewrite initially got underway. And the goals and ideals outlined have since been filtered out, diminished, and in some cases outright eradicated. I understand that there must be compromise and was fine with the way Title 21 looked like by 2010 even with some of the goals and ideals gone. It was a long process, but in the end the public got what it want as did business. Since then however, Title 21 has again been put through scrutiny, this time from the very dishonest and cold hearted Dan Coffey (I call him cold hearted for what he said of the late Allen Tesche at a Tea-bagger meet some time ago). Coffey's recommendations were so outrageous that most of them didn't even get the rubber stamp of approval from his good buddy, the mayor. The recommendations that did survive however have gone on to be reviewed with seemingly no opposition from the Planning and Zoning. And to top it, the PZC has thrown its own classical-liberal weight to the rewrite as the panel of members discussed eliminating the requirement of sidewalk access to commercial buildings, and eliminating the requirement that sidewalks be on both sides of Anchorage streets. I don't follow the process terribly closely, so I don't know if these latest proposals are now set in stone or not. From what I understand, mixed-use districts have definitely been eliminated.

Anyways, I had meant to write just a brief blurb as a lead in to this editorial published in Sundays ADN which is written by two real estate brokers concerning the PZC's latest recommendations for Title 21. The co-authors end their editorial pondering whether future generations will be able to thank us for making Anchorage the way we thought it could be. I can tell you that nobody thanks the planners who ran Anchorage during the last 50 years. Will we be able to correct this? With Anchorage out of land to expand on, the ad hoc mindset we had toward development will have to shift gears toward renewing what we have now and building over it. We are at a pivotal moment for this almost 100 year old city and we can't afford to mess it up.

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