Assembly: 4th Avenue Theatre public hearing to continue Thursday
The Anchorage Assembly voted to continue meeting on Thursday after a more than 5-hour gathering Tuesday.
They were in the middle of hearing public testimony on a proposed plan to revitalize downtown’s 4th Avenue Theatre. The $150 million plan would turn the theatre into condos, retail and office space while preserving the historic sign outside.
Peach Investments, the firm behind the project, is seeking a 10-year property tax abatement to make it more affordable. As part of the deal, they would also demolish the derelict Northern Lights Inn, allowing for more development.
On Tuesday night, however, dozens of community members stood in line to testify in front of the Assembly. Most of them wanted the old the theatre to stay a theatre. Peach Investments says they looked into that option when they bought the property, but determined the old theatre is in very bad condition and says it would cost too much to restore it.
The Assembly will meet on Thursday at 1 p.m. to continue their meeting and hear the rest of public testimony about the proposed project.
Earlier in the evening, the Assembly passed a resolution outlining a structure for the sale of Solid Waste Services. Assembly member Paul Honeman says he doesn’t want to sell the city-owned garbage service, but wants to prevent Mayor Dan Sullivan from accepting a bid without their approval.
Public comment lasted for about an hour and included many garbage workers who stood up in protest to the idea of the city selling Solid Waste Services. SWS picks up just a fraction of the city’s garbage, mostly in the downtown, Turnagain and Spenard neighborhoods.
The mayor says he started looking into a sale after he was approached by private buyers. Anchorage Assembly members believe he may be able to sell SWS without consulting them. The structure of the Assembly’s resolution requires the mayor to have Assembly approval before accepting a bid.
Also on the agenda, Assembly members decided that vendors at a cannabis trade show in Anchorage this weekend will be able to bring marijuana. The Assembly voted to allow the Northwest Cannabis Classic to have and display weed. Event organizers argued that having pot on hand would allow them to educate people about the cannabis industry at the Dena’ina Center, where people will not be allowed to smoke marijuana. The trade show starts on Friday and wraps up Sunday.
After another vote, it looks like Uber won’t be coming to Anchorage anytime soon. Every Assembly member voted to postpone an ordinance allowing them to operate in the municipality. The ride-sharing company and the city have been trying to strike a compromise since last year. The city wants Uber to drug test and fingerprint drivers, just like taxi drivers, but Uber has said it already does extensive background checks.
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