Waldron Lake parking lot remains locked in the midst of neighborhood dispute
Waldron Lake Park off Tudor Road may be a city-owned park, but people who want to go there will find the parking lot gate locked, even during the day.
Chris Schutte, Anchorage’s Economic and Community Development Director, said the city learned recently that part of the parking lot is located on private property. The owner, he said, has the legal right to lock it up.
“Unfortunately, the driveway access to the Waldron Lake parking lot is on private property and the legal owner has the ability to preclude access to it because there is no shared parking agreement or shared access agreement with that property owner,” Schutte said.
Sandy Traini, head of the Campbell Park Community Council, said neighbors are frustrated with the situation. She said an agreement with a prior owner stipulated that access to the parking lot would always be granted.
But, for some reason, both Schutte and Traini say no agreement was ever recorded with the city.
Traini said neighbors have a bigger issue than the fact that the parking lot gates are locked, it’s what the current owner of the property wants to do.
Mark Rowley said he is happy to grant access to the lot if the city will make a zoning change that allows him to use the driveway to connect with an adjoining property he owns. A building occupied by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency sits on the property and Rowley wants the ability to let agents enter and exit through the driveway that leads to a neighborhood street.
Traini said neighbors are against the change because it will increase traffic in their neighborhood. She said the neighborhood supported a zoning change years ago that allowed the property to be developed under a previous owner, but only if the plat included language prohibiting access to the parcel off Shelikof, the neighborhood street.
It’s that language that Rowley wants removed. According to Schutte, the city supports the change and is willing to work with Rowley.
“In fact, it was the property owner who came forward first and said let’s work this out," Schutte said. "So I think if anything the property owner has been very proactive in trying to resolve the issue and we look forward to working with him and the neighborhood to try and do that."
Rowley has promised to make improvements to the parking at his own expense if the restrictive language is removed, which Schutte said would also be a good deal for the city.
Traini said that isn’t likely to make neighbors support the change.
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