Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Proposed Title 21 Rewrite Criticized for Cost to Developers
The rewritten code lays out specific requirements for home design and property layout, and businesses said it comes with a tangible cost.
With more than 600 pages, the Title 21 rewrite has been called one of the most important pieces of legislation in Anchorage history.
The code governs zoning and property design citywide, and its revision has garnered strong opinions from both sides of the political spectrum.
“I don’t believe central planning works,” said former Anchorage Assemblyman Dan Coffey, a vocal opponent of the revised code; Coffey was hired by Mayor Dan Sullivan to review the rewrite and make recommendations. “It didn’t work for the U.S.S.R and it probably won’t work very well for us.”
It’s also generated continued public comment over the years, from chamber of commerce forums to assembly hearings and community debates.
But for local developers, there’s nothing political about it. The rewritten code lays out specific requirements for home design and property layout, and businesses said it comes with a tangible cost.
"Instead of three trees you're gonna have nine trees. There are some added windows, they want the front porch to face the street and be covered,” said Andre Spinelli, design and development manager at Spinell Homes.
According to Spinelli, if you compare a basic 3-bedroom, 2-car garage house on a single-family lot under the old code with the new code, the result would be an additional $7,000 to the cost of an average $250,000 home.
He said it’s a number that could have a profound effect on a first-time home buyer.
Now, the code will be sent to the Anchorage Planning and Zoning Commission for review before it is forwarded to the Anchorage Assembly for final review and a vote.
But at the end of the day, it all comes down to dollars and cents.
"You'll be able to see the trees, but you won't be able to choose whether you have those trees,” Spinelli said. “They're forced on you by the government."