Chugiak council gets update on senior housing, public safety and upcoming Assembly votes
The Chugiak Community Council met on Jan. 18 to discuss numerous issues impacting Chugiak and to hold elections for council seats and officers. Tiffany Briggs from the Municipality of Anchorage’s Real Estate Department and Officer Robin Nave of the Anchorage Police Department informed attendees about pressing local issues.
Rezoning for Chugiak Senior Center
Briggs spoke about rezoning the Chugiak Senior Center on Birchwood Loop Road. If approved, the Senior Center would expand to up to 19 duplex units. The Senior Center’s desired use of the new land does not comply with what the land was zoned for, thus requiring a rezoning.
The Senior Center’s consultant must submit an official application to the MOA Real Estate Department for rezoning. After a public hearing, the proposal will appear before the Anchorage Assembly, which has already agreed to charge no rezoning fees.
Briggs stated that the Real Estate Department is doing all it can to help. She said, “There is a need for senior housing and we want this to happen.”
She was met with warm support from the council.
Additionally, Briggs highlighted that the Alaska Department of Natural Resources is proposing to sell 9.37 acres of land located off Fish Hatchery Road in Eagle River.
APD safety tips
Officer Nave from APD discussed tools available to residents to report suspicious behavior and strategies to prevent crimes. She particularly cautioned drivers to not leave their vehicles running and unattended to reduce the number of stolen vehicles.
“Nine times out of 10,” she said, “when these cars are taken it’s because someone left the car running because it was cold outside.”
Nave urged residents to file formal reports of incidences to ensure APD can analyze trends, report suspicious activity to Crime Stoppers (907-561-7867), and to inform APD’s Traffic Hotline (907-786-8949) about reckless drivers.
Nave also recommended residents brightly light their houses and trim shrubs near their houses to prevent burglaries. Additionally, she strongly recommended becoming acquainted with neighbors’ schedules and calling them if anything appears unusual.
The nearly dozen present CCC members voted for council seats and officer positions, choosing to reelect all but one position. Steve Connelly stepped down from representing seat 4, the East Peters Creek and Mirror Lake area. Gina Parks was elected to the position. The officer positions remained the same with Jake Horazdovsky as president, Blake Merrifield as vice president, Burk Wonnell as treasurer, and Darryl Parks as secretary.
Darryl Parks represents Chugiak on the advisory board and he reported the Anchorage Assembly will vote to place a proposed sale of Anchorage ML&P to Chugach Electric Association on the municipal ballot in April. CEA is proposing to buy ML&P for $1.2 billion.
Parks believes this may eventually impact Chugiak residents because the Matanuska Electric Association, which provides many Chugiak residents with electricity, buys a portion of its power from ML&P.
“The biggest thing I have noticed right now are the taglines saying no one’s rates are going to change and no one is getting laid off (at ML&P) for two years. What they don’t tell you is that after those two years, all bets are off,” Parks said.
The Assembly is also considering a 5 percent alcohol tax which is estimated to raise $40 million. The funds will be used for rehabilitation and education for drug and alcohol abusers.
Ted Carlson made reports from meetings with the road board about a paved trail that will run from Mirror Lake Middle School to Oberg Park in Chugiak. The road board hopes to start work this upcoming summer.
Council vice president Blake Merrifield, who chaired the meeting, was pleased with the council’s ability to facilitate communication. He only wishes more members of the community had attended because of the wealth of knowledge.
He said, “I would love to see more members of the community come to these meetings just so they can have a better idea of what’s happening in their community and they can put their two cents in.”
CCC’s next meeting will be Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. at Elsie Oberg Community Center on Old Glenn Highway.