Anchorage, Free Title 21


  • The Title 21 Rewrite Project was started in 2002 to implement the city's adopted comprehensive plan.
  • There have been five drafts, each of which has been reviewed by the public. Thousands of staff hours and volunteer hours have gone into reviewing
    and amending the various drafts.  The extensive public process has been open to anyone who desired to participate.
  • There have been multiple public hearings at the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Assembly. 
  • With each draft, input from the public, including the development community, has led to changes and improvements.
  •  By the summer of 2010, all but one of the fourteen chapters had been provisionally adopted by the Assembly. (Not counting the separate Chugiak-Eagle River chapter.)
  • Provisionally Adopted  means that the Assembly Title 21 Committee had thoroughly reviewed, discussed, and frequently amended at least two different drafts of the code, and the final draft was found to be generally acceptable by the Assembly.
  • Dan Coffey was a member of the Assembly's Title 21 committee and he voted FOR every single provisionally adopted chapter.
  • On July 25, 2010, the Mayor entered into a sole-source contract with Mr. Coffey (who was no longer on the Assembly) to review the provisionally adopted chapters with an assignment to select the top ten most controversial issues in the rewrite and work with interest groups and municipal staff to resolve the identified issues.  In a political letter in late 2010 urging support for certain Assembly candidates, Mr. Coffey wrote that the mayor asked him to %u201Cre-work%u201D Title 21.
  • In the Fall of 2010, Mr. Coffey held private meetings (planning staff was not allowed to attend and they were closed to the public) with various interest groups.  Instead of identifying and working on the top ten issues, Mr. Coffey submitted to the Planning Department redlined drafts of chapters 1 and 2 of the rewrite.
  • At a meeting with Anchorage Citizens Coalition representatives in November of 2010, Mr. Coffey showed redlined drafts of chapters 1 and 2 of the rewrite.  He made it clear he is rewriting the code following his own personal opinions and biases.  He expressed disdain for planners and discounted studies that did not fit his opinions.
  • In November 2010, the Assembly Title 21 Committee stopped meeting after Mr. Coffey convinced the chair to discontinue the meetings until he finished his work.


       The Mayor wants to weigh in.  Sure, why not?  But the Mayor was in office for over a year before hiring Mr. Coffey to review the draft rewrite.  Why couldn't he
have weighed in during that time?  Now we have to wait another year?  His term is only three years!  Let's get it done.

           *    The Economic Impact Analysis is flawed.  Baloney. A detailed economic evaluation tool was developed by an independent consultant to test the code.  Runs of the model show in the majority of cases, costs are the same or less than development under the current code.

         *        Pre-application design costs and the municipal staff review time/costs wil be too high as the new code is implemented. Okay, sure, there will be a transition period that will exist no matter what changes are enacted.  After everyone is used to the new code, the pre-application design time and the staff review time will be about the same as today.

         *        Some say the new code is a "taking." The new code does not "take" from land owners but rather "gives" to land owners, either by requiring less land to build the same sized building, or allowing them to build a larger building (and thus collect more rent) on the same sized parcel of land.

         *     There are "holes" in the rewrite.  This is incorrect. There are a few sections set aside to be dealt with later but the planning staff has prepared adequate transition code to use until those are ready.

         *     It's the product of planners and they have never built anything! These revisions to our land use laws are hardly recognizable as the ones from the planning staff.  The public process has lead to countless changes large and minute.  As chair of the Assembly's committee for years, the provisionally adopted chapters already bear Mr. Coffey's mark throughout.

         *    It's not perfect yet! That's true. And parts that are great now will probably need to be changed in the future as the city's needs change.  That's the nature of these things.  Even as we've been rewriting the code, we've frequently amended the "Cold" code.  The revision may not be perfect, but i's pretty close and we can continue the pattern of amendments as changes are needed.

         *    The new code will increase bus ridership and that is subsidized! Yep.  A reputable group made this complaint.  Gosh.  Less traffic, less land cleared for parking.  We should hope for more problems like that!


         *    The Assembly will adopt the Title 21 Rewrite immediately, in the form in which it was provisionally adopted.

         *    The Mayor and others will bring the changes forward as amendments to the provisionally adopted chapters.

         *     Amendments are reviewed by the city's professional planners who understand the city's adopted comprehensive plans, and who represent the values expressed by thousands of citizens during the creation of Anchorage 2020.

         *     All Anchorage residents are able to trust that local government operates using an honest and open public process.

         *     Assembly members will take this ball back onto their court.  The legislative branch makes the laws, the executive branch implements the laws.  The Assembly should not let the Mayor outsource their job!

WHEN YOU'VE SIGNED, pass the link around to all of your friends in Anchorage.  Let's see if we can get 1,000 signatures  for the Assembly Meeting. 
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