The Anchorage Assembly unanimously approved a request from the Rustic Goat restaurant to build a 28-space parking lot in Turnagain Tuesday night.
The land to be paved over is across the road from the restaurant and is used by some locals as a park – though it’s not officially designated as parkland.
Other locals are tired of having their streets blocked by cars, which city officials say is a safety hazard.
The ordinance approved Tuesday allows the owners of the restaurant to lease 11,000 square feet of public land for around $666 a month and turn it into a parking, with conditions such as making sure mature trees and vegetation are not destroyed.
This is the second time the Assembly approved the measure – last month it was determined that residents weren’t given enough warning about the public hearing, so the process had to be repeated.
Before voting, Assemblywoman Amy Demboski said she has a responsibility to ensure public safety, adding that the approval of the parking lot is not a “freebie,” but a good way of managing public assets for public safety.
“When we started this project we had no idea it would be this busy,” said Rustic Goat co-owner Tim Gravel, testifying before the vote.
Assemblyman Bill Evans questioned why this problem wasn’t addressed when the restaurant was in the proposal stage, putting the onus back on the Assembly and not the restaurant’s owners.