Foundation's expansion plans just don't fit

COMPASS: Other points of view

September 24, 2012 

There are two sides to every story and information needs to be accurate. The residents of the area affected by Southcentral Foundations' proposed expansion, the "Friends Against Expansion," appreciate this opportunity to talk about Southcentral Foundation's Family Wellness Warriors Initiative (SCF FWWI).

In 2008 Southcentral Foundations' program moved to two parcels of land located in a residential area on Lark Street. Within a short time, SCF began to acquire five other parcels of land. The city Planning and Zoning Commission found that SCF had a short-term training program that would never evolve into a treatment program with the 2008 conditional use permit allowing only for training of lay counselors.

• I ask readers to take Tudor Road and then drive south on Grumman Street (just east of Piper Road) and when you get to the top of the hill on Grumman, you will see an A-frame on the right. Imagine a 150-seat auditorium at that location. This is the "small" auditorium proposed by Southcentral Foundation. This does not meet the residents' definition of "small."

• The residents of the area applaud SCF's much needed program; however, it does not belong in any residential neighborhood zoned R-2M and R-3. That zoning promotes protecting the residential integrity of the neighborhoods. There is nothing as large as this proposed expansion in any other location with R-2M and R-3 zoning in Anchorage.

• SCF said there would never be perpetrators of sexual abuse, child abuse, or domestic violence at this site. When asked by MOA staff in 2012 "what percentage of the program participants have caused harm or have received harm SCF's answer was : "In the last two years, the percentage of program participants that have caused or received harm has ranged between 63-68%; however, it is important to note that the number that has only received harm is the greater of the two." This is a major violation of SCF's 2008 Conditional Use Permit.

• SCF says they have strong community support. That is simply not accurate. More than 180 residents have signed a petition supporting Planning and Zoning's denial of their expansion and opposing any expansion. This represents more than 85 percent of those people living in the affected area.

• The University Area Community Council has approved a resolution supporting P&Z's denial and opposing expansion of the SCF facilities.

• The Campbell Creek Duplex Townhouse Owners Association, representing 32 families, has approved a resolution supporting P&Z's denial and opposing expansion of the SCF facilities.

• SCF claims they bus and will bus participants to the Lark location; however, one day this summer there were 33 cars at the site and staff could only answer that they had many volunteers ... so the claim that they bus participants in is somewhat moot.

• SCF has indicated they could rent out the facility to other Native groups and they can promote the expanded facility outside of the state. In other words, if the expansion were approved, they could rent out this 150-seat auditorium and, technically, even the 130 beds.

• The entire site was to be fenced. This was not done until a code complaint was filed. Southcentral Foundation was to have a security person at the facility during the hours when no staff was at the site. This still has not been done.

• On June 11, a public hearing was heard on SCF's request for a major expansion. SCF's major expansion was denied by a vote of 6 -3 by the Anchorage Planning and Zoning Commission. One of the commissioners stated that he believed SCF had a training center that needs to be in PLI zoning and is over the top for the neighborhood. The infrastructure is not there, the roads are not there, and it is not compatible with the community.

• Another commissioner noted that SCF has outgrown this particular location and for them to grow any larger they are going to have to redevelop. Neighborhood residents agree with these comments.

Linda Garrison is a licensed real estate broker who has lived in Alaska since 1981. She and Friends Against Expansion invite anyone interested in more information or backup for this Compass to call her at 223-3118 or e-mail at buyers@alaska.net.

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