City Worries Housing Insufficient for Increasing Population
Planners look to downsize
ANCHORAGE - A report from the city planning office says Anchorage is going down the wrong path when it comes to housing development.
"We project that over the next 20 years the Anchorage Bowl will not have a sufficient amount of land to meet the demand for housing, if we continue to develop at the existing densities we are seeing today," said Karen Iverson, senior planner with the Municipality of Anchorage.
City planners are proposing to decrease the minimum 6,000 square feet requirement for a single-family lot. They are also looking at reducing parking requirements.
Another solution is a redevelopment strategy for specific neighborhoods in town for high-density housing.
“We're talking about building townhouse style development and we could also be looking at stacked multi-family development three or four stories high,” said Iverson.
Some real estate experts think it's a good opportunity for Anchorage to build better designed communities.
"If you look at these buildings here in Midtown, they are all one story; look at the folks who work around here: If there was a condo or neat little townhouses around $200,000 they'd just go like that,” said Mike McLean, an associate broker with Jack White Vista Real Estate.
But there's a small problem.
“Mid-rise residential housing, meaning three or four stories high, is not financially feasible in the current market,” said Iverson.
So the city is looking at making it cheaper for developers by offering low interest loans and expediting the permitting process.
“We currently have on the books to waive certain municipal fees for housing development projects,” said Iverson.
McLean says the next generation of homeowners won’t all want big houses on big pieces of land.
"We need to be really forward thinking, green construction, it's about creating quality of life, the younger generation don't want to have cars they want to walk,” said McLean.
"A livable city where the more density we have, the more interesting shops we'll have, greater places to eat, entertainment.”