07/15/2020 5:00 PM Do it again, neighbors

07/14/2020 Assembly Meeting
We drove the Assembly out of time and obtained a continuance to tonight, Wednesday 07/15/2020, 5:00 – Midnight. Come testify with us at Loussac Library. We need to fill the chambers with our voices again. Six minutes to speak if you speak on both ordinances. The ordinances fundamentally change Anchorage and nobody seems to have had any idea they were coming, nothing in our mailboxes from the city, you had to know to go looking for them.That is a big fail on government transparency. Whether you agree with what the ordinances are trying to do or not, you will surely agree that something of this magnitude deserves an effort by the city to make sure we know about it.You can read them on muni.org under the Assembly section. AO 2020-58 and 2020-66.

You can listen to what you neighbors said Tuesday night from the link below. In the link, testimony on these matters starts at in earnest at 3:30:52. There was one speaker before this point, then a long discussion about procedure.Rabbi Yosef Greenberg is a powerful speaker. https://anchorageak.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=14&clip_id=7698

Monday 07/13/2020 Mayor on Radio

Forwarded to me with request to share:
You can listen to the Mayor’s interview with Bob Rock at
https://www.kwhl.com/alaskas-morning-show-ondemand/
It is in the second half when he talks about purchasing property.Ethan says: “This has community support. This is a good solid plan. Let’s proceed along that pathway.“ He also states he is following the process and the protest is “a lot of bluster.” His proof of that is that there hasn’t been any lawsuits.

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Added – The segment with Ethan is the 4rth link down with a picture of Ethan.

Action: 07/10/2020

Informative and productive community meeting tonight. More later. Contact Jenny at jenny@twogeeksandadog.com or (907)250-1723 to help.
–added–

I also need help looping in our Spenard Neighbors. If you know how the folks in Spenard are communicating please let me know. We need as much help as can be mustered and will benefit from coordinating efforts with Spenard.
—-added—
I posted information about our community efforts on this matter to NextDoor.

URGENT MEETING TONIGHT Friday, 10 July at 5:30 p.m. at City Center Mall 4230 Old Seward Highway (corner of Old Seward and Tudor)

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: Ordinance AO 2020-58 and AO 2020-66
From: “Allard, Jamie” jamie.allard@anchorageak.gov
Date: Fri, July 10, 2020 1:47 pm

Ms. Anderson,

Could you please share the below email.

Urgent: We have a community meeting tonight;
Friday, 10 July at 5:30 p.m. at
City Center Mall
4230 Old Seward Highway
https://www.google.com/maps/search/4230+Old+Seward+Highway+/@61.1850567,-149.8715678,16z/data=!3m1!4b1
in Anchorage. If you live in Anchorage, I hope to see you there. We are bringing in all members of the community, where these locations may affect residents.

Ordinance No. AO 2020-58, an ordinance of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly amending Anchorage Municipal Code Table 21.05-1: Table of Allowed Uses, to allow homeless and transient shelters in the B3 Zoning District by conditional use; and waiving Planning and Zoning Commission Review. Put forth by Assembly Members Weddleton, Zalatel and Mayor Berkowitz.

https://www.muni.org/PublicNotice/Pages/NOTICE-OF-MUNICIPAL-ASSEMBLY-PUBLIC-HEARINGS-Ordinance-No.-AO-2020-58.aspx

V/R

Jamie Allard
Assembly Woman Chugiak-Eagle River
(907) 854-5349
Jamie.Allard@anchorageak.gov

07/10/2020 10:00 AM Response to my testimony

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: Ordinance AO 2020-58 and AO 2020-66
From: “Quinn-Davidson, Austin” austin.quinn-davidson@anchorageak.gov

Date: Fri, July 10, 2020 10:00 am

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for reaching out. I’m sorry to hear about some of the challenges you’re experiencing in the area. My understanding from the Mayor’s office is that this building would be used in the short term as a social services site, which is defined here:
Definition of the Proposed (Short-Term) Use: A facility operated by a government or a non-profit social service agency which provides services or undertakes activities to advance the welfare of citizens in need, such as food or clothing distribution, job or life skills counseling or training, and the like. This use does not include retail facilities, medical care, behavioral health counseling, or overnight accommodations. This use may include supporting offices, but stand-alone offices of a social service agency are not considered a social service facility.
In the long term the building might be used to provide shelter services.
Generally, I am supportive of getting more facilities and services spread throughout the city so that we can make progress on homelessness in our city. Until we have multiple treatment, day shelter, and transitional housing facilities, we will continue to see folks on the streets and in our parks and trails. I think this proposal gets us close to where we want to be – to have folks off the street and getting well. There is still more to learn about timelines and specific services that would be provided in the short term. This decision will not be made without input from the public, and in my opinion whatever we do should reflect the geographic diversity of our residents.
Next Wednesday, the Coalition to End Homelessness will be doing a presentation on services in the Assembly’s Homelessness Committee, which you might be interested in. It’s a public meeting, of course, and you can find the details on the Assembly’s website.
Take care,
Austin
Austin Quinn-Davidson
Assembly Member, District 3 (West Anchorage)
Municipality of Anchorage
632 W. 6th Avenue, Suite 250, Anchorage, Alaska 99501
907.343.4116
www.muni.org/assembly
Preferred pronoun: she
Dena’inaq ełnen’aq’ gheshtnu ch’q’u yeshdu
(I live and work on Dena’ina land)

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: Ordinance AO 2020-58 and AO 2020-66
From: “Weddleton, John” <john.weddleton@anchorageak.gov>
Date: Fri, July 10, 2020 11:18 am
To: Jenny Anderson <jenny@twogeeksandadog.com>

Jennifer,
You and others have made a point regarding skipping the Planning and Zoning Commission.  Skipping the PZC is not skipping public process. AO 2020-58 has a public process at the Assembly.  The ordinance was introduced on June 2 for public hearing 6 weeks later, on July 14.  Should it pass, any site selected for a homeless or transient center would require a Conditional Use permit that would have another public process.  

This ordinance is a change to Title 21.  Changes to Title 21 typically go through the Planning and Zoning Commission but not always.  When they involve something that is not in the PZC area of expertise, the Assembly has skipped the PZC.  Marijuana issues related to Title 21 do not go to the PZC for example.  For changes to Title 21, the PZC is advisory to the Assembly.  Were AO 2020-58 to go to the PZC, they would be faced with grappling with the implications of homelessness in Anchorage which is a new topic to them.  That is a main topic at the Assembly.  If this were to go to the PZC, there would be public testimony.  Then it would go to the Assembly where that public testimony would be repeated.  There really is not a clear benefit of going through the PZC for this.   I say this as someone who was on the Planning and Zoning Commission for 2 1/2 years.
Will a homeless sheter wreck your neighbohood?  One drive by Brother Francis Shelter should make any normal person fear that in their backyard.  Or anywhere in our city.

If we are going to decrease the horrific situation with homeless in Anchorage, we have to get to the core reason people are living those tragic lives.  A lack of addiction recovery and mental health services are two big components of the problem.  This is not new. In 1964 API had 225 beds for mentally ill.  API now has 80 beds but funding for only 40.   It is most common for state governments to tackle these things but that is not how it is working in Alaska now.  Anchorage has to solve our own problems.

We may set up another homeless shelter at the old Alaska Club.  That is part of the solution.  Not all homeless shelters/campuses are ghettos like we have at BFS.   I went to Boston’s Pine Street Inn two years ago.  They were building million dollar condos next to it.  The neighborhood was gentrifying.  There was a farmers market next to it.  There was no indication it was a shelter that houses 500 people.  When I was in Omaha last year, I visited two campuses that had multiple services all together. That included job training and placement with the ultimate goal being a self supporting independent life. The campuses blended with the area. No campers around the perimeter.  They have effective help right where those that need it are.  Anchorage’s shelter is so far above its design capacity it becomes a ghetto.  With no daytime hang out place, the crowd hits the streets.  It can be done better.  Omaha is 20 years ahead of us. We are heading that way.

The proposal to purchase four buildings is expensive and frightening for anyone who imagines something like Brother Francis Shelter in their neighborhood.  No neighborhood deserves that.  We are committed to doing better than BFS and with these steps, fixing the overload at BFS.  We are working on a list of conditions required for any homeless shelter and will likely create a special permit or license that can be revoked if the various conditions are not met.  

Note that there are two ordinances that have drawn concern in this area.  AO 2020-66 proposes to purchase 4 buildings.  AO 2020-58 is a separate action that would allow homeless and transient centers in B-3 (general business) districts.  I expect action on AO 2020-58 which would allow a homeless shelter at the old Alaska Club on Tudor will be postponed until we get the new conditions in code.

There will be a worksession on the proposal to allow homeless shelters in B-3 (general business) zones:

WORKSESSION 7/10 2-3pm

Ordinance No. AO 2020-58, an ordinance of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly amending Anchorage Municipal Code Table 21.05-1: Table of Allowed Uses, to allow homeless and transient shelters in the B3 Zoning District by conditional use; and waiving Planning and Zoning Commission Review.

To participate telephonically, please call the Cloud Conference Bridge

Anchorage     907 273 5190

Participant code – 721227

 That will be followed by a worksession on AO 2020-66 the possible purchase of 4 buildings

Thanks for your participation,

Imagine Anchorage without a few hundred homeless defining the city.  

John Weddleton
Anchorage Assembly
South Anchorage, Girdwood and Turnagain Arm
770-0685

07/09/2020 7:00 PM Neighborhood Walk

Tonight, six of us from Heather Meadows subdivision knocked on doors on the circle end of E 45th, both sides E 46th Pl, Eagle from Tudor to 48th, Egavik, Denali, the businesses on 48th down to Gambell (we did not hit Gambell or the car dealers). Tomorrow night several of us will hit Cordova as well as the section of E 45th between Cordova and Eagle.

We passed out and tucked into door jambs many business cards with ‘call to action’ to speak up and the website www.heathermeadowsanchorage.com so people could find the ordinance easily.

If you can call  in to tomorrows work session please do. That is what my family are going to attempt. Follow the link for the Friday 07/10/2020 Worksession to find instructions from the Assembly on how to do that.

Many of the folks tonight were just becoming aware of the ordinance. One person was loading their truck and in the middle of moving. They stated that this ordinance was the final straw and they were leaving Anchorage for (-redacted-) immediately.

Please voice your opinion on this immediately. Our Assembly needs to be aware of our concerns right away.

Speak Up Before Tuesday July 14 2020, 2:00 PM

Zoning Changes Allowing a Homeless Shelter by our Homes

Ordinance AO 2020-58 will ‘allow homeless and transient shelters in the B3 Zoning District by conditional use; waiving Planning and Zoning Commission Review…’

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ADDED 07/10/2020 11:00 PM: ORDINANCE AO 2020-66 AUTHORIZES THE PURCHASE OF 4 PROPERTIES, INCLUDING THE FORMER ALASKA CLUB BY HEATHER MEADOWS. IT IS ALSO ON THE ASSEMBLY AGENDA 07/14/2020. Both AO 2020-58 and  AO 2020-66 were introduced by our own representatives on the Anchorage Assembly, Assembly Members Mr. Rivera and Ms. Zalatel. Read more about AO 2020-66 as item number 14b here: Assembly Agenda 07/14/2020
—–original post continued below——————–

Heather Meadows subdivision is within 1/2 mile of one of the buildings targeted by this ordinance.

‘The former Alaska Club building near the Old Seward Highway could accommodate up to 125 people in an overnight shelter in addition to serving as a daytime engagement center’

  • Will abandoning this review process lead to abuses of community involvement
  • Will the residents of the shelter spill into our neighborhood
  • Will our property values decline
  • Will we see an increase in crime
  • Will our quality of life decline
Speak up FAST:
testimony@anchorageak.gov
Subject: Ordinance AO 2020-58
Tuesday 07/14/2020 2:00 PM is the Deadline to testify via email testimony@anchorageak.gov


You can call in to participate in tomorrow’s worksession – this link has information:
Read More About Friday 07/10/2020 2:00 PM Worksession re: AO 2020-58, Amending Anchorage Municipal Code Table 21.05-1: Table of Allowed Uses, to allow homeless and transient shelters in the B3 Zoning District.


You can comment via e-mail. You -might- be able to testify by phone. This link has information on how to comment and greater detail about the proposed ordinance that would allow the homeless shelter.
Read More About Tuesday 07/14/2020 6:00 PM NOTICE OF MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY PUBLIC HEARINGS Ordinance No. AO 2020-58


Additional Contact Points and Resources
Midtown Community Council
Anchorage Assembly District F, Section 4

Felix Rivera
Felix.Rivera@AnchorageAK.gov
(907) 764-0841

Meg Zaletel
Meg.Zaletel@AnchorageAK.gov
(907) 343-4117

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz
mayor@muni.org

News Articles and other links

Geneva Woods Home Owners Association is fighting also
06/02/2020 Assembly Meeting – Scroll down to 10.G.8 Ordinance No. AO 2020-58
06/16/2020 Midtown up in arms over homeless shelter proposal
06/19/2020 Berkowitz tries to skirt public process, gets caught