Friday, December 14, 2012

Anchorage 2020, Title 21, Smart Growth and UN Local Agenda 21

How Local is Anchorage 2020 Comprehensive Bowl Plan?

Putting together some new research for the local resistance to Agenda 21. This is the first draft.

The future "vision" for Anchorage was written by a private Denver Real Estate firm and the Anchorage Citizen's Coalition. The planners insist this vision is what the residents of Anchorage want. The ACC claims everyone in the "community" agreed on the plan. The 2020 plan itself says the community wants the plan.
"Anchorage's comprehensive plan, "Anchorage 2020," was adopted in 2001. As part of the groundwork for "Anchorage 2020," a survey of 1,500 residents was conducted, asking about the most important attributes of their city. Three of the highest ranked attributes related to the natural setting of the city: trails/parks/greenbelts/open space, outdoor and recreational opportunities, and accessibility to the wilderness. Clearly, Anchorage residents highly value the scenic assets of the region. Reflecting these values, the "Anchorage 2020 Community Vision" states that Anchorage is a "northern community built in harmony with our natural resources and majestic setting." The plan directs a shift toward more concentrated land-use patterns with clusters of higher density employment centers." Integrating Context Sensitive Solutions in Transportation Planning, Anchorage Bowl 2025 Long Range Transportation Plan
The truth is, most Anchorage residents have never heard of their 2020 plan, or the laws that will enforce it.

As the Alaska Commons recently wrote: "If you haven’t heard of Title 21, you are in good company."
So what is Title 21?

"Title 21 is the city’s land use code; the legal framework we use to figure out how to build our city for the foreseeable future. The code that we end up with has very real consequences when it comes to our property value, our quality of life, as well as how both of those transfer to future generations."
Leading the efforts to create a new legal framework for everyone living in Anchorage are city planners and attorneys with decades of experience, who understand the complexity of global communitarian law:         
Don Elliott, FAICP Senior Consultant, is a director in Clarion's Denver office. Mr. Elliott is a land use lawyer and city planner with 28 years of related experience. He has worked on a diverse array of projects in his career at Clarion, including:
          •Complex development codes,  •Hybrid and unified development codes  •Sustainability  
           implementation strategies. •Transferable development rights systems,  •Affordable/fair housing
           analyses •Design standards and guidelines, •Urban redevelopment evaluations, and 
          •International land use and governance systems.
Mr. Elliott has served as project director for major zoning and development code revisions in Detroit, Philadelphia, Winnipeg, Duluth, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Bainbridge Island, Lake Oswego, and Cedar Rapids, as well as numerous other cities and counties throughout the country. He has drafted award-winning land use regulations for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Denver and Aurora, Colorado, Routt County, Colorado, and Pima County, Arizona, and has spoken and written extensively on a wide variety of land use and legal topics. Mr. Elliott has served as the Democracy and Governance Advisor for USAID/Uganda for two years, and has completed land use reform consultancies in India, Russia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Liberia. He is the author of A Better Way to Zone (Island Press 2008), co-author of The Rules that Shape Urban Form (APA 2012) and The Citizen’s Guide to Planning (APA 2009), and the editor of Colorado Land Planning and Development Law. Prior to joining Clarion Associates, Mr. Elliott served as Project Director for the Denver Planning and Community Development Office and was responsible for the Gateway Zoning and Downtown Zoning Projects. He began his career practicing real estate law for the Denver law firm of Davis, Graham & Stubbs. Mr. Elliott holds a master's degree in city and regional planning from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a law degree from Harvard Law School, and a Bachelor of Science degree in urban and regional planning from Yale University. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a past president of the Colorado Chapter of the American Planning Association, a past national chairman of the Planning and Law Division of APA, and a member of the American, Colorado, and Denver Bar Associations.
The Anchorage Citizen's Coalition promotes smart transportation alongside the main Regional Organizations in the Northwest, including 1,000 Friends of Oregon, Alaska Center for Public Policy, Anchorage Citizens Coalition (AK), Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage (AK), City of Portland (OR), Trimet (OR)

The ACC Expert Speaker Series features facilitators from two of the first communitarian pilot test cities in the United States, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. Two of the three "experts" have direct affiliation with the environmental law firm 1000 Friends of Oregon, whose affiliates in Washington were the lawyers seeking to abolish the WA state right to bring an initiative before the voters.

Lynn Peterson
Safe Walking - the foundation of healthy communities”
PAST: February 5, Noon - 1:30pm, 5TH Floor Conference Room, City Hall
Anchorage Citizens Coalition brought Lynn Peterson to Anchorage to speak about the health effects of balanced transportation systems. Lynn is a highway designer and urban planner who chairs the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners. She lives in Lake Oswego and has worked with 1000 Friends of Oregon (environmental legal firm co-founded in 1973 by Tom McCall, former Republican Governor). Fregonese and Calthorpe, as well as Portland's TriMet transit system. Her March 2009 presentation can be found at

          Robert Liberty
          Beyond Freeways - How to Link Land Use and Transportation”
PAST: June 26, 2009, noon to 1pm, City Hall, 8th Floor Conference Room.
Robert Liberty, elected councilor for Metro, Portland Oregon’s regional elected government, wrote the original proposal for 1000 Friends of Oregon to conduct Portland’s groundbreaking “Land Use, Transportation and Air Quality Study”in the late 1980’s. Mr. Liberty presented “Beyond Freeways – How to Link Land Use and Transportation” in June 2009 at City Hall. The heart of Robert’s message? Look for public and private investments that build Anchorage for easier walking and more frequent, more convenient public transportation. Look towards more compact and sustainable development to achieve mobility rather than relying on expensive high-speed freeways that promote sprawl.

Anchorage 2020 calls for a diverse, northern community with a thriving, sustainable, broad-based economy, a safe, healthy, active learning community.Federal policies are moving strongly in this direction. Housing, environmental and transportation agencies are working together to build “sustainable communities.” Transit officials will consider “livability” and the environment when financing public transportation projects. Proposed transportation law sets goals for reducing climate change and other air pollutants, increasing walking and biking and promoting infill and redevelopment.

Grace Crunican

Building a Sustainable Transportation System"
PAST: October 2008, Featured Speaker Annual Meeting, Loussac Library
Grace Crunican In October 2008, the Anchorage Citizens Coalition celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a presentation by Grace Crunican, expert in building sustainable transportation systems and currently director of Seattle's Department of Transportation. Ms. Crunican spoke to coalition members about "Building a Sustainable Transportation System."  ("Mayor Nickels charged the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) with making Seattle the most walkable city in the nation. The Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan lays out the path to get us there." Grace has had a distinguished career, including five years as Oregon's Director of Transportation and three years with the Federal Transit Administration.

Connecting the Global to the Local

ACC member John Weddleton laughed and assured his audience on Nov 26, 2012, that Title 21 is not Agenda 21. Was he being honest? Does Anchorage 2020 advocate the same changes to our government structure based on recommendations inside UN Agenda 21? In the Future We Want - Outcome document, we easily find the answer.

Here's the UN Agenda 21 plan update:
The General Assembly, Recalling its resolution 64/236 of 24 December 2009, in which it decided to organize the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development at the highest possible level in 2012, as well as its resolution 66/197 of 22 December 2011,
The Anchorage Citizens Coalition is a nonprofit membership organization that works for:
                 {with direct quotes from Future We Want in RED}:

Affordable homes near jobs
{134. we recognize the need for a holistic approach to urban development and human settlements that provides for affordable housing and infrastructure and prioritizes slum upgrading and urban regeneration}

Plentiful parks and open spaces
{135. protection and restoration of safe and green urban spaces}

Safe, balanced, economical transportation .. for all users
{136.  We recognize the important role of municipal governments in setting a vision for sustainable cities, from the initiation of city planning through to revitalization of older cities and neighbourhoods, including by adopting energy efficiency programmes in building management and developing sustainable, locally appropriate transport systems}

Healthy, attractive neighborhoods
{135. a safe and healthy living environment for all}

A strong, sustainable economy
(199.  We acknowledge the role of access and benefit-sharing arising from the utilization of genetic resources in contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability. }

Clean, healthful air and water
{135. safe and clean drinking water and sanitation; healthy air quality; generation of decent jobs; and improved urban planning and slum upgrading}

Meaningful public participation in government
{43. We underscore that broad public participation and access to information and judicial and administrative proceedings are essential to the promotion of sustainable development.}

We actively participate in comprehensive plan implementation, promote local and regional land use and transportation planning, publish a newsletter for members and sponsor events.
{22. We recognize examples of progress in sustainable development at the regional, national, subnational and local levels. We note that efforts to achieve sustainable development have been reflected in regional, national and subnational policies and plans, and that Governments have strengthened their commitment to sustainable development since the adoption of Agenda 21 through legislation and institutions, and the development and implementation of international, regional and subregional agreements and commitments. }

Supporting our causes is largely a volunteer effort of the Board and other members.
It's a huge task and we rely on contributions by individuals as well larger organizations.
Click here to make a contribution. For more information about the Anchorage Citizens Coalition, email
Anchorage Citizens Coalition works for Anchorage to become "the most livable city in the nation."
In its first twelve years, ACC

Helped shape the development and adoption of Anchorage 2020, the city's comprehensive plan.

Facilitated public review of Title 21, Anchorage's land use laws, and continued monitoring and advising Title 21 revisions.

Sponsored the advocacy group "Transit Works for Anchorage."

Worked with government and school officials to document pedestrian safety needs and build projects such as school crossing zones for Hanshew Middle and Springhill Elementary Schools.

Watch-dogged major road construction projects such as the Highway to Highway freeway proposal.

Enlisted the expertise of numerous land development and transportation experts to advise local government.

Advocated for meaningful citizen participation in government decision-making.

Coalition president Michael Howard says:
In the ten years since Anchorage Citizens Coalition was organized at an old-fashioned town meeting, our volunteers have made Anchorage a better place. ACC informs citizens about the decisions that affect our homes, businesses and neighborhoods. Our volunteers were vigilant when Anchorage 2020 was developed and adopted, for the re-write of Title 21 our land use code, and for changes that balance our highway, trail, transit and pedestrian systems.
Compare ACC's mission and accomplishments and Anchorage 2020 goals to 1000 Friends of Oregon. There are many other documents that say basically the same things about what Anchorage needs to do. Some go so far as to claim that Anchorage is "ground zero for climate change". Other amazing scientific observations are in the University of Alaska, Anchorage Climate Change Report 2010.

          Creating Healthier Communities
Cool Communities can provide significant health benefits to Oregonians by creating better opportunities to safely walk, bike or take transit. More active transportation options translate to increased physical activity and better health for residents, as well as less air pollution and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Making it easier to walk and bike

Land use policies, development patterns and our transportation systems affect how we commute to work, run errands and other activities. Oregonians want to live in communities where people of all ages have many options to get where they need to go, without having to get in a car, including walking, biking, or using public transit. Increasing evidence is showing that this is a particular priority for younger Millennials and aging Baby Boomers, two generations that will drive real estate trendsfor decades to come.

Changes to our neighborhoods that make it easier to not rely on the automobile will have positive health benefits: increased physical activity, decreased air pollution, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. It will take action at every level (local, state, national) to effectively meet that challenge.

In 2007, the state of Oregon adopted greenhouse gas reduction goals to help reduce global warming. In 2009, the state Legislature directed the Portland Metro region to begin planning to reduce climate impacts, and encouraged the state's other metropolitan regions to do so as well.

Better coordination of transportation and land use planning in Oregon's largest cities will help meet the challenge, particularly when over one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. Fortunately, Oregon has begun to take steps to make this coordination happen.

Click here to find out more about Oregon's efforts to reduce grenhouse gas emissions from transportation, a process in which we are actively participating to ensure successful results for Oregon communities.

Making our air cleaner

We can reduce air pollution by making it easier for Oregonians to walk or bike rather than relying on the car for every trip. Less driving equals less air pollution. Even short auto trips that involve a 'cold start' (where the engine has cooled for an hour) can generate as much air pollution as a longer trip.

Ultimately, creating healthier neighborhoods starts with good street connectivity, a diversity of land uses, and creating jobs closer to where people live. 1000 Friends is dedicated to encouraging such patterns throughout Oregon.

Title 21: A Presentation on the Future of Anchorage

by John Weddleton

November 26, 2012

Alaska, Anchorage, Class & Economics, Issues, Video

Among the speakers at this year’s State of Our City Forum, put on by Anchorage’s Community Councils and Community Patrols, was John Weddleton – a businessman and a Title 21 advocate.

If you haven’t heard of Title 21, you are in good company. However, your ranks will soon be dwindling.

Title 21 is the city’s land use code; the legal framework we use to figure out how to build our city for the foreseeable future. The code that we end up with has very real consequences when it comes to our property value, our quality of life, as well as how both of those transfer to future generations.

Weddleton delivered a ten minute primer to bring the forum’s attendees up to speed on one of the most important issues immediately facing the Anchorage community. The full video of the presentation is below the following transcription of his introduction. More information can be found at the Anchorage Citizens Coalition and the muni website.

The state of the city is remarkable. It’s very good. That’s now, but change is coming. The city has grown since I’ve been here and it will continue to grow. And our Comprehensive Plan was written in 2001 and thought we’d have twenty or thirty thousand more people in twenty years, and that won’t happen. But we just did another housing market study earlier this year, and it figured around the next twenty or thirty years, we’ll have twenty or thirty thousand people show up. And the interesting part of that is that if we develop like we’ve been developing in that time, we will be nine thousand housing units short of what we need to house these people.

So, things are going to change. We’re going to get a little more crowded. And something that is going to be very different from the previous change is [in the past] we could kind of spread out and just go to the next empty lot. But that’s not going to happen so much because we’ve kind of bumped into the boundaries.

The change will be coming to your neighborhood. And what we’ll be doing is tearing down the old building and building in the vacant lots and it will be a very different kind of growth than we’ve seen in the last many decades. So how are we going to handle it?

Redefining Anchorage: A Title 21 Primer

by John Aronno
December 6, 2012 Alaska, Anchorage, Class & Economics, Editorials, Issues

At the turn of the century, residents of the largest city in the 49th state recognized that the city was changing around them. The population had tripled since statehood. In the final decade of the twentieth century alone, the municipality added over thirty-thousand residents. Thus, in 2001, Anchorage residents turned to the pioneer spirit that built a city from tents spread over a couple city blocks on 4th Avenue, and sought to devise a strategy for the future of their city on the move.

The municipal assembly, the mayor, and an engaged citizenry, developed that strategy into a plan for development going into the future. It was called “Anchorage 2020: Anchorage Bowl Comprehensive Plan.”

Then-Mayor George Wuerch touted the process that led to it’s passage through the assembly: “The plan was produced over a five-year period through the collective efforts of many individuals and groups throughout the community,” he said in an introduction, also adding that the community process had produced “a better understanding of the many factors that contribute to the quality of life we enjoy in Anchorage.” He viewed the effort as something that should serve as a “guide for elected and appointed officials as they deliberate community development issues.”

The effort won a Public Education award from the American Planning Association, because of how the process that culminated in its existence “enlisted hundreds of citizens, published numerous clip-and-send surveys in local newspapers, and held well-publicized focus groups, workshops, organized task forces and community meetings” which clearly outlined the “future goals for the municipality as prescribed by the desires of its residents, who made educated decisions and selected preferences from clearly illustrated scenarios.”

A decade and change later, however, a new administration lead by Mayor Dan Sullivan – who voted for the plan as a member of the assembly in 2001 – has scheduled “Anchorage 2020” for a face-lift.

Some people aren’t too happy about that.

One of them is John Weddleton. Weddleton is a 25-year Anchorage resident, a businessman, and a self-described “Title 21 advocate.” Over the past handful of months, Weddleton has been on a tour around the city, addressing community councils and forums, giving voice to concerns regarding the “Title 21 Rewrite” as both a private citizen and as part of the Anchorage Citizens Coalition. The Coalition’s website states that their goal is to make Anchorage “the most livable city in America… [through] broad-based public involvement and implementation of Anchorage 2020….”

Weddleton appeared at last month’s “State of Our City” forum at Romig Middle School, and expressed concern over new things emerging in the rewrite which run counter to the 2001 plan. Some small aesthetic differences – for instance requiring that the architecture of new box stores blend in with the neighborhoods around them – can noticeably alter how a part of town feels. Conversely, it’s hard to get people excited about moving in next to giant cement shoe boxes. Seemingly small and uncontroversial protections put in to the “2020” plan via community input have legitimate multiplier effects, and can affect property values over extended periods of time. They were painstakingly put in the comprehensive plan for a reason. And many are being taken out, without the same clarity in reasoning.

“You need to ask yourself: What makes you happy to live in Anchorage?” Weddleton challenged the audience in West Anchorage in late November. “Where do you want to end up here?”

Well, how did any of us end up here? Title 21 has quite the timeline.

In 2011, Mayor Sullivan hired former Assemblyman Dan Coffey to a $30,000 contract as a consultant to make recommendations on a rewrite. Coffey’s history and knowledge of Title 21 is not lacking: he described himself to the Anchorage Press that year as a “land use and government regulatory attorney for over thirty years.” He served on the Planning and Zoning Commission during the Wuerch administration, when the Anchorage 2020 plan was adopted, and went on to join the assembly where he served two terms. Part of that job entailed him serving on the Title 21 committee.

But there is also a healthy dose of controversy, given Coffey’s prevalent ties to the Anchorage business community. Do Coffey’s business dealings and professional relationships represent a conflict of interest?

In June of last year, political strategist and pollster Ivan Moore coined an editorial for the Press that alleged Coffey had “only been allowing input from developer interests.”

Current Assemblywomen Elvi Gray Jackson narrowly lost to Dan Coffey in the 2007 municipal election before picking up the seat the following year. During that first run, her campaign published a website that aimed to raise questions as to who Coffey worked for as an elected official: special interests or the constituents who vote for him to represent them.

The anti-Coffey website, still online as of this writing, pointed out that between April 2004 and January 2007, assembly members had to either recuse themselves, were ordered to abstain from voting on 141 occasions, due to some sort of conflict of interest. Of the 141 total incidents, Coffey was the subject on 128 occasions (though on 8 accounts, he was still permitted to vote). These cases included his dealings with liquor stores, restaurants, hotels, clubs, quickie marts, car rental services, restaurants, and a singles’ club.

Coffey’s heavy entanglements with business ventures could constitute a conflict of interest as a consultant hired to make recommendations on the future land use code for the city. It certainly did on over a hundred occasions during his tenure on the Assembly.

But the former assemblyman countered, in a published response to Moore, that: “the emphasis should be on the words ‘make recommendations.’ Like me, the Commission has no authority to create or impose laws. It makes recommendations on land use law to the assembly. Our Charter gave the assembly, and no one else, the authority to adopt our laws.”

The assembly, however, is not a static body. And 2010 was a drastically different political landscape than today. At that time, the mayor faced a slim 6-5 margin that often opposed him. Two years later, Adam Trombley has replaced Mike Gutierrez in East Anchorage and Harriet Drummond has been elected to the state house. The assembly will appoint her replacement, who we can fairly safely assume will an ally of the mayor. Ernie Hall, since assuming the chairmanship, has generally supported the administration’s positions. The body’s current makeup (after Drummond’s appointment is seated) could rubber stamp any changes made by Coffey to the tune of an 8-3 split.

This shouldn’t come as much a surprise. Coffey used his involvement in the Title 21 rewrite in a 2011 campaign letter he sent out to the Anchorage Home Builders Association. In the letter, he stated that the coming municipal election offered “another clear choice between those who want to see our city grow and develop economically and those who want to impose costly and unnecessary government regulations on development.” He specifically endorsed candidates who would vote for his “re-work” of the legislation. One of the three, Adam Trombley, won.

Dianne Holmes, also a member of the Anchorage Citizens Coalition, testified before the Assembly two weeks after Coffey’s letter surfaced and objected. She felt that efforts for public involvement were “barely given lip service,” and elaborated: “The process has been stalled with sole source contracts…. Moreover, how can the public trust that their input is worth anything when the same contractor writes a political campaign letter saying that Title 21 is anti-development and that it is being reworked, not merely edited?”

There has been no public outcry. But Holmes’ assertion that this was by design doesn’t seem conspiratorial. Not when acknowledging that the assembly was expected to pass, in its entirety, the 2020 plan – which was already passed over ten years ago – two years ago.

Either way, the assembly will once more take up the issue on January 15. It will be under-reported. It won’t be understood with the necessity it demands. And its effects will change Anchorage over generations.

[John Aronno serves as staff to Patrick Flynn on the Assembly. His views are irreparably his own.]

an interesting somewhat related article:
Focus on Agenda 21 Should Not Divert Attention from Homegrown Anti-Growth Policies
By Wendell Cox , Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D. and Brett D. Schaefer December 1, 2011


Anonymous said...

I don't understand.

A Denver Real Estate firm knows what the citizens of Anchorage really want? Nobody in Anchorage could figure it out?

Anchorage Citizen's Council claims the community agreed to the plan after conducting a survey of 1500 people?

Who were these 1500 people? Where is a copy of the survey for others to see if this was just another push-poll?

Why is this title 21 and not 23 or 76? Isn't this just some bizarre coincidence that Title 21 looks like Local Agenda 21?

Who decided that these planners are experts? Is there a test, a correspondence course or maybe it comes in a glass of Kool-ade?

Why does a city need planning? Why does it need planners. Would the city die without planners and managers?

I can see it now. Eliminate organic growth in all the communities within the Municipality in favor of a design based upon a statistical analysis of a supposedly unbiased survey of 1500 unidentified citizens.

Did you ever notice that facilitators facilitate their own plan and claim it was yours?

How much did the people of Anchorage pay for this?

Not sure why I'm bothering with Anchorage after the way rural Alaska is treated by Anchorage. Maybe I'll just leave it to ACC to make Anchorage a better place. Obviously they speak for everyone! They have worked so tirelessly for the community without any regard for personal profit.


Anonymous said...

The more I think about this 1500 person survey and its effect on planning, the more I just shake my head.

There is no doubt that local activities affect the people of a community more than activities in the state legislature. If a statistical analysis is sufficient to make these proposed changes locally, why do we bother voting for state or federal offices?

Why not a just a survey of 1500 or 15,000? We can save a bunch of money and use it to hire planning experts.

robrob said...

actually the community did approve it, that is the legal community not the one your thinking of, ever look into a older legal dictionary? I read two fo them the 1910 blacks law and this other one I got at the thrift, a community is defined as a corporation, or husband and wife (which legally are considered a partnership corporation) so yes the corporations agreed, you didn't think they meant you did you?
i read the description and reason for this smart growht (to increase profits for the corporations and decrease cost akawages, benefits etc and use of machines) and it sounded absolutly dreadful i would rather be dead then live like that. it sounds like a slave labor camp, or concentration camp just not called that. creeps, these people behind it the wealthy ones the owners of corporations are beyond evil they are demonic. to want to do this to your fellow man is beyond comprehension.

robrob said...

I read the description on postsustainable institute of smart growth and the real purpose of it and it was absolutly dreadful, to want to do this to ones' fellow man with a profit motive and no concern for rights, welfare of happiness of humans is beyond evil, it is demonic, you can't get more evil then that!
amazing there are people like that in this world but what do you expect from a world owned and controled by satan himself.
I did want to mention the community did agree to it, community is not what you think in older legal dictonaries a community is husband and wife (as a legal partnership) and corporations, it has nothing to do with the group of people in a city or town. they are running ranshod over people, not surprised, but I am confindent it will backfire on them history is repeating itself. Jehovah has a nasty little surprise for this wicked world. the united nation is going to be forced to do something Jehovah wants done and they won't like it. they will think they are coming up with the idea but it will be Jehovahs idea they will carry out, they will turn on the very part of themselves required to control the people, turning on false religion aka babylon the great (all relgions including paganism, hindusim, christendom etc) thought you would like to know.