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Rustic Goat parking lot proposal back on Anchorage Assembly agenda

Devin Kelly
Neighbors of the popular Rustic Goat restaurant in Turnagain will be allowed to re-testify on a parking lot proposal after not receiving proper notice the first time around. Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News

A modified version of the proposal for a new parking lot for the Rustic Goat restaurant in Turnagain is on the Anchorage Assembly agenda for next week, in part because neighbors weren’t given proper notice of the proposal the first time around.

On July 8, the Assembly approved plans to lease two acres of municipal land at the southeast corner of Northern Lights Boulevard and Turnagain Street for a new parking lot. The Rustic Goat, which is operated by Kaladi Brothers Coffee Co., has been plagued by parking woes and friction with the neighborhood since it opened in February to popularity that outpaced expectations.

Numerous people testified at the July meeting, voicing concerns about public safety and a desire to retain the land as a green space. The Assembly ultimately voted 9-2 to move the measure forward. 

But those with concerns about the proposal will now have the chance to testify again. After the original measure passed the Assembly, municipal ombudsman Darrel Hess fielded a citizen complaint about a lack of public notice about the proposal. Municipal code requires the community development department to send a mail notice to all property owners within 500 feet of the site at least 21 days before the hearing.

After investigating, Hess found the department mailed out 151 public hearing notices on July 1, just seven days before the Assembly approved the proposal.  

Both Hess and Jerry Weaver, director of the community development department, described the late mailing as a communications mixup between the real estate department and the city planning division.

“From what I could discern, it was a simple communications error,” Hess said. “And this will correct it.”

New notices were mailed out no later than Wednesday of this week, said Erika McConnell, municipal planning section manager. A public hearing has been scheduled for the Assembly meeting on Aug. 26.

“It’s back, and they can re-testify,” Weaver said.

The ordinance has also been modified to include a parcel of land next to Northern Lights Boulevard that would be the future location of a pedestrian walkway.

Assembly Chair Patrick Flynn and Assembly member Dick Traini were the only two “no” votes on the proposal in July.