Anchorage may raise building height restrictions that would block precious winter sunlight

Controversial measure is part of plan to spur development.

October 16, 2015 |

Anchorage, Alaska, is considering the relaxation of parking and landscaping requirements and the height limits of tall buildings. Photo: Frank K./Wikimedia Commons.

Anchorage, Alaska is considering updates of land use ordinances aimed at encouraging redevelopment.

One controversial measure would raise the allowable height of residential buildings from 45 feet to 70 feet and change a rule that limits construction of tall buildings next to shorter ones. This proposal concerns some residents who fear more shadows cast by structures would block the sun, which shines just seven hours a day during the depths of winter.

Also under consideration are a relaxation of parking and landscaping requirements. Developers and architects have complained that recent code changes concerning new apartments, townhouses, and condos are too burdensome and expensive.

"It's premature to put six-story buildings in two-story residential neighborhoods," Cheryl Richardson, director of the Anchorage Citizens Coalition, told the Alaska Dispatch News.

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