Assembly hears testimony on Title 21, tax cap proposals

The Anchorage Assembly is preparing for public testimony on two controversial measures at its Tuesday meeting.

Up for discussion is a proposal that tinkers with pieces of Title 21, the city building code; specifically residential design standards like building heights, daylight requirements, set-backs from the street–generally the ingredients that give houses and neighborhoods their flavor. The measure, AO-100, came from the Community and Economic Development Department, and is a blend of the two earlier proposals. All summer long, a cluster of measures connected to residential construction–AO-59 and AO-76– have been advancing with starts and stops through government offices. Essentially, there were two competing measures with a lot of overlap, but representing different perspectives and interest groups.

AO-100, according to CED Director Chris Schutte, attempts to merge areas of overlap in the two prior measures, while replacing highly specific, technical architectural requirements with intent language drawn from urban design policy. The proposal also gives Planning and Zoning Department staff more discretion on determining when a standard is being met by developers.

Another item up for public testimony is a highly technical tweak to the tax cap. Specifically, modifying language in the municipal code to give the Assembly more flexibility adjusting the tax rates. The measure’s sponsor, Elvi Gray-Jackson, says it’ll help budgeting local services when state assistance fluctuates. The proposal reverses a 2011 measure put into affect by Mayor Dan Sullivan.

Public testimony starts after 6pm in Assembly Chambers at the Loussac Library.