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Assembly candidates Q&A: How would you address Anchorage's housing shortage?

Anchorage residents will vote on candidates for six open seats on the 11-member Anchorage Assembly in the April 1 municipal election. To give readers a better sense of who they'd be voting for, the Anchorage Daily News asked each of the 13 hopefuls a series of questions on their backgrounds and on key issues facing the city.

Answers by candidates to select questions will be published in daily editions of the Anchorage Daily News leading up to the election. 

Question for the Assembly candidates:

THE HOUSING MARKET IN ANCHORAGE IS VERY TIGHT. WHO SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR FIXING THAT PROBLEM? AND HOW SHOULD IT BE FIXED?

EAST ANCHORAGE

Adam Trombley: The private sector will respond to the demand. However, the Municipality must reduce the regulatory environment which slows the process of permitting.

Mao Tosi: The city can look at ways to make permitting less difficult for those wanting to build in Anchorage. Also look at what incentives can be implemented to motivate property owners to upgrade and develop their property.

Pete Petersen: Fixing the affordable housing crisis requires cooperation between the city, state, builders, and Realtors. I support using the profits from the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. to create a housing trust dedicated to investing in affordable housing projects.


SOUTH ANCHORAGE

Pete Nolan: Private business will solve this problem -- IF we allow business to thrive. Privatizing oversight, streamlining and creating a 'one-stop' permit process, removing burdensome regulation and getting back into the infrastructure business is what government can and should do.

Bill Evans: The private sector should be responsible for the housing market. Government must, however, remove obstacles that slow or prevent the private sector from doing its job. Streamlined permitting processes and sensible land use regulations are vital.

Bruce Dougherty: We have the land and the private developer interest to move forward with new construction, but we need to be conscious of community concerns along the way and ensure we aren't treading on the property values of others by doing things such as building dense housing on the Hillside


WEST ANCHORAGE

Phil Isley: The city made the problem with Title 21 and strict building codes. The State increased the problem by developing the best welfare system in the world. With 12 families a month moving to Anchorage to be on welfare programs, it will be difficult to keep up with housing.

Tim Steele: It would take a combined effort by the municipality, developers, potential customers and funding agencies. There needs to be incentives and (it needs to) be profitable for private developers to take it on. There could be tax incentives or planned development code incentives or even cost sharing.


EAGLE RIVER-CHUGIAK

Bill Starr: The city should place its emphasis on infrastructure development as approved in bonds by voters. Private sector should design and develop as guided by free market demand with minimum government constraint.

Sharon Gibbons: The responsibility is the Assembly's as well as the private sector's. Negotiations could be sought out for land as well as inquiries to sell available land owned by the city. The land could be sold to developers for houses, increasing tax rolls. Increase efficient land use.


MIDTOWN

Elvi Gray-Jackson: The entire community plays a role in fixing the housing market. First, we need to encourage development that includes apartments with affordable rent. Secondly, you can't pay rent or buy a house if you don't have a job. We need to find ways to guarantee employment opportunities.


DOWNTOWN-MOUNTAIN VIEW

Patrick Flynn: We all own this challenge. I am working on legislation that would establish tax credits for redevelopment in East Downtown & Fairview that I hope will contribute to the solution.

Mark Martinson: The city should help to provide job stability and sensible controls, and then let the private sector fill the needs.


Anchorage Daily News / adn.com
Anchorage