Chugiak council renews objection to HLB density proposal

Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 14:12

People in Chugiak really, really don’t like a proposal to allow for higher density housing on a parcel of land located near the McDonald Center in Eagle River.

At its Nov. 16 meeting, the Chugiak Community Council renewed its objection to the much-maligned proposal by the Heritage Land Bank board of directors, which will go before the municipal Planning and Zoning Commission Dec. 11.

“Heritage Land Bank is proceeding along just as they planned,” said Sandy Quimby, who has been an opponent of the proposal since she first learned of it more than a year ago.

The council has already voted to oppose the zoning, but wanted to renew its objection due to the HLB’s continued support for the measure. Although municipal land managers say no development is currently planned for the muni-owned parcel, it wants the land zoned for higher densities just in case.

But Chugiak residents are opposed to any change. Under the current land use plan, the parcel — called “Carol Creek” — is zoned for a maximum 120 residential units. The HLB board wants to increase that number to between 201 to 378 units.

Quimby said tripling the maximum number of units from the 2010 comprehensive plan should not be an option for the 92-acre parcel.

“This is higher density that want you see across the street from Fred Meyer,” she said.

The council unanimously voted to renew its objections to increased density at the site, a step the Chugiak-Eagle River Advisory Board also took earlier this month. The council also voted to send a representative to speak on its behalf at the Planning and Zoning meeting, and discussions took place about the best way to sway commission members.

“Everyone who’s concerned about this needs to go to PNZ and comment,” said council president Jake Horazdovsky.

Rather than submitting written comments, council member Darryl Parks said those opposed to higher density need to go to the meeting.

“It’s really important to show up and testify,” Parks said.

Although opposition to the proposal has been overwhelming in Chugiak-Eagle River, Quimby said she suspects the commission will give its okay to the plan — meaning it would then go before the full Anchorage Assembly.

“I think from talking to them it’s going to the assembly,” she told the council.

Council member Maria Rentz — who joined with other Chugiak residents to help defeat a proposal to locate an industrial recycling monofill in Chugiak several years ago — suggested those opposed to the HLB proposal should coordinate in advance of the meeting.

“Cover all your points but do it as a group and be organized,” she said.

And if the proposal does get forwarded to the assembly, Rentz said, folks should be prepared to go through the whole process all over again.

“Then your testimony to PNZ is going to be a practice session,” she said.

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