South Fork council opposes variance for subdivision, gets pitch for school bonds

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - 18:27

The South Fork Community Council met March 1 at Eagle River High School to hear presentations from speakers and made a resolution concerning a developer’s request for a variance on a project near Bernard Road.

Speakers included Jim Anderson, chief financial officer for the Anchorage School District, Nancy Clark, manager of the Chugiak-Eagle River Library, and Jeanna Bowie from Kinney Engineering.

Opposition for development variance

Attendees emphatically opposed the recent proposal by S4 Group, a surveying company working for the Pelenor Subdivision. The subdivision is 23.7 acres and lies north of Highland Rd in Eagle River. S4 Group is requesting a variance from their original plat, asking that they not be required to construct roads prior to developing the subdivision.

Members of the council argued that allowing construction of houses without requiring the subdivision to develop roads to the standards of Title 21 of the Anchorage Municipal Code would be detrimental to the community. Members disagreed with S4’s argument for variance, which states that developing roads would lead to an “economically unfeasible development,” saying that that condition does not justify variance.

Attendees feared that if the developer did not construct the road before developing the subdivision, then members of the community would be forced to pay for it. After deliberation, the council created a resolution stating that they would support S4’s proposal if the road is built in accordance with Title 21 and municipal design standards. They also opposed the request for the vacationing of 20 feet of right-of-way between Track-1 and Track E-1, Block 2 of Plat 72-80.

If the variance is granted at the upcoming Platting Meeting, the developer will not need to appear before the Anchorage Assembly to request further approval. The public hearing, hosted by the Anchorage Planning Department, will take place on April 4 in the Loussac Library Assembly Chambers. Members were urged to attend.

School bond on ballot

Jim Anderson advocated for the $50.6 million school bond on the ballot in the upcoming municipal election for replacing five roofs and improving eight others in the Anchorage School District.

Some buildings also need upgrades for seismic activity. If approved, the bond might increase taxes as high as $5.93 per $100,000 of property valuation.

Upgrading library automation

Nancy Clark spoke about Proposition 7, an area-wide facilities capital improvement project bond, in the upcoming election. The $1.4 million bond would be used for improving the Anchorage and Chugiak Senior Centers, the Anchorage Animal Care &Control, and the Loussac and Chugiak-Eagle River Library. The library in Eagle River would receive $90,000 for installing an Automated Material Handling System, which would boost the library’s ability to process returns and keep pace with the community while reducing staff injuries due to repetitive motions.

Survey for improving the Glenn Highway

Jeanne Bowie from Kinney Engineering urged residents to complete a survey for an Integrated Corridor Management study, funded by Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions.

The data will be used for creating recommendations for improving the efficiency of the movement of people and goods along the highway during non-recurring congestion (such as crashes or inclement weather). The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete and can be found online at dot.alaska.gov/glennstudy.

Council chairman von Luhrte said the meeting’s biggest takeaway was the resolution to oppose the variance for the Pelenor Subdivision.

“We’re going to activate community involvement as much as we can,” he said. “The biggest thing is that they (community members) actually show up on the 4th of April for the public hearing.”

The council’s next meeting will be April 5 at Eagle River High School.

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