Anchorage — The rewrite of Title 21 that passed Tuesday night has changed dramatically from the first versions considered ten years ago, when the rewrite began.
We asked city planner Tom Davis to outline a few major changes from the early versions:
1. Residential and commercial design standards are reduced. For example, initially the rewrite said only about half of the width of a new single family house could be garage. Now the section applies only to certain new developments, and two-thirds of the width can be taken up by garage doors.
2. The latest version is more refined and practical to implement. "The earliest drafts were more diamonds in the rough" intended to begin the community discussion.
3. Early versions created new zoning districts that differentiated among different types of commercial zones, just as there are separate residential zones for single-family houses, duplexes, and the like. The early versions called for some mixed use commercial districts, where buildings would have residential and office or retail mixed together, and pedestrian features would be emphasized. Instead, under the current draft the existing B-3 commercial zone prevails almost everywhere.
4. Multi-family standards were less flexible in early versions. For example, a specific amount of the side of an apartment building facing a street had to be windows. Now, "you can get approval to provide less window on the street-side if you can demonstrate the street you're facing is noisy, or you want more windows on the south side to get sunlight access."
5. There was a requirement that developments with multiple dwellings provide some public open space, to provide more neighborhood park space. It's gone.
6. Parking requirements have been reduced for some buildings such as offices based on local parking studies.
Reach Rosemary Shinohara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4340.