December 2022 Update:
The land sale/transfer (disposal) of parcels containing “Holtan Hills,” a 60-acre development of CY Investments located in Girdwood, is scheduled for vote at the Anchorage Assembly on December 6, 2022. The regular assembly meeting will begin at 5:00 PM. The public hearing portion is scheduled to begin at 6:00 PM. As of now, the disposal is the 2nd hearing item on the agenda. We encourage all those in the community with an opinion on the matter to come testify in front of Anchorage Assembly decision makers.
Girdwood Inc believes this disposal is relevant, as it represents a large portion of developable lands in Girdwood. As of this time, all lots are set to be market-rate, with no community housing or lots set aside for workforce housing, which we believe is a top priority for our community.
What does GBOS say?
The GBOS subcommittee, Holtan Hills Housing Advisory Committee (HHHAC) on October 24th sent a letter to Girdwood Board of Supervisors stating “In conclusion the HHHAC does not support the Holtan Hills Development in its current form.” After hearing from HHHAC, Girdwood Board of Supervisors passed a Resolution of Support for Revision or Revocation of the Development Agreement between Heritage Land Bank (HLB) and CY Investments to address Girdwood community housing needs.” The resolution ended with “THEREFORE, GBOS cannot support the disposal of land under the Holtan Hills Development Agreement, to which the Girdwood community has consistently voiced their objection; ALSO, the GBOS and the Holtan Hills Housing Advisory Committee see tremendous value in developing the Holtan Hills lands in a way that benefits the Girdwood community as well as the MOA and requests that the HLB and MOA engage in open dialog to address Girdwood’s concerns and needs.”
Many Girdwood residents testified in opposition to the project at the September Heritage Land Bank Advisory Committee (HLBAC) Public Hearing. On October 27th, despite non-support of the Girdwood community, HLBAC voted in favor of the disposal 5-1, with several suggested amendments to the Development Agreement. The vote was done by private ballot. After an ombudsman complaint was filed for violation of Open Meetings Act, the HLBAC was required to re-vote in November. This time, the item was passed, again with amendments proposed incorporated into the Anchorage Assembly Ordinance with 3 in favor, 1 no, 1 abstention and 2 absent.
Girdwood Board of Supervisors voted to send a formal letter of objection regarding the development agreement on November 21, 2022.
Girdwood Inc agrees with Girdwood Board of Supervisors, which has repeatedly stated identified community concerns regarding the RFP/Holtan Hills Project including process, infrastructure & impact study, indirect link to housing and housing affordability.
To learn more about this project, please visit www.girdwoodinc.org and read Newsletters Issue I-V. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com. Also, please keep your eye on Girdwood Inc. Facebook page in the event of changes to the Assembly Meeting Agenda, etc.
Assembly Members held their first worksession on 11-4-2022. View the recording here.
Assembly Members held their second worksession 12-2-2022. View the recording here. The current S version, which is the document going to vote on December 6th is available for your review at the Assembly Member Worksession Page or available here.
HLBAC Recordings and Amendments:
Girdwood community members testified at the Heritage Land Bank Advisory Committee (HLBAC) on September 22, 2022. View the recording here.
HLBAC held a special meeting on October 13, 2022. View the recording here.
HLBAC needed to re-vote on the disposal at their November 17, 2022 meeting, as the first one did not account for commissioners individual votes. Recording (Note from HLB website: Res 2022-09 Passed, with a 3-1 vote, however it was misstated in the recording that it did not pass) HLB added the following amendments, which they only recommended disposal if these amendments were included:
1. All developers must submit applications for land use entitlements to the Girdwood Board of Supervisors (GBOS) for review prior to seeking official action by the designated decisionmaking body.
2. CY Investments LLC will restrict the use of any property in Holtan Hills, Phase I, to not
include short-term rentals less than 30 days in duration, with a sunset provision eliminating
this restriction when local ordinance is adopted otherwise regulating short term rentals.
3. Construction access through Hightower Road is prohibited.
4. CY Investments LLC will restrict twenty-five percent (25%) of the developed multi-family
units to be identified and set apart for rental development and not sold individually.
5. The Developer continues to engage with the Girdwood Holtan Hills Housing Advisory
Committee as the project progresses. You can read the full resolution here.
Holtan Hills Housing Advisory Committee Communications:
Girdwood Board of Supervisors Communications Regarding Holtan Hills:
GBOS Letter to MOA RE Holtan Hills 6.22.22
2022-14 Holtan Hills – Resolution in Support of Amendment of the Development Agreement between Heritage Land Bank and CY Investments to Address Girdwood Community Housing Needs 7.22.2022
Letter of Objecting: 2022-23 Amendment or revocation of Holtan Hills Development Agreement 11.28.2022
Summary previously published (June 2022):
Many people say, “I don’t know enough about what is going on.” We hope this summary will catch you up to speed on the series of events that have transpired and respective dates. Read the full resolution here.
In April 2021, without consulting the Girdwood community, Heritage Land Bank released an RFP to develop 150 acres. The RFP did not appear on their annual work plan, which was adopted by assembly only 43 days prior to RFP release.
Initially, the RFP had a response time of about 38 days. Due to complaints from members of the public to assembly members regarding the rushed nature, the timeline was pushed back another 23 days. This is a total of 61 days from the RFP being published, to the time responses were due. Given the magnitude of project, and its affect and impacts on the surrounding community, this RFP seemed to move forward without public consultation with the Girdwood community.
Two responses were submitted. The winning RFP response was determined with a “Selection Committee.” This committee was chosen by HLB staff. It consisted of 9 members. 7 of the 9 were/are municipal employees or contractors. The selection committee received the proposals via email on Tuesday, June 15. The memo released June 29 includes “All members were able to join a call on June 22, except Mr. Romerdahl who received a verbal summary of questions and discussion immediately following the call from HLB Land Management Officer Shelley Rowton. Each member then provided their final scoresheets before Noon on June 23.” This means no individual who is not a municipal employee and lives in Girdwood Valley Service Area participated on the call. One member on the call had been a long-time resident of Upper Crow Creek and also been employed by Pomeroy (a proposal submitter), which should have been declared a conflict of interest, but was apparently not.
“All members of the Selection Committee ranked Pomeroy Property Development, Ltd and partners Seth Anderson, P.E. and CY Investments, LLC as the superior proposal. Both respondents to the RFP have been notified of the results, and negotiation with the Pomeroy partnership group will begin at the conclusion of the appeal window.” (Appeals were required prior to the submissions, or by the other applicant within days.)
A factor that has come up repeatedly, is the question if the development entity receiving disposal of land is different than who was awarded as winner per the memo. To the public, it appeared Pomeroy, Seth Anderson and CY Investments were partners, but as the project is proposed today, Pomeroy and Anderson are not involved. It appears CY Investments is the only entity involved with Holtan Hills, which is fundamentally different than having a vested business and stakeholder in the community no longer involved (Pomeroy) in the (now publicly known to be) around 60 acre development.
Per Anchorage Muncipal Code “The disposal responsibility of the Heritage Land Bank is, at the direction of the mayor and assembly, to convey from municipal ownership Heritage Land Bank land or interests in land which is not needed for specific public facilities or purposes. Each disposal shall be in the municipal interest, and based at or above appraised fair market value or for other equivalent municipal values or objectives, under the procedures specified in section 25.40.025.” All of the above events had been done under an Acting Mayor, who was most likely unaware of the lack of HLB’s community engagement with Girdwood, scale and potential impacts.
Days after holding the selection committee, head of HLB and the Real Estate Department, Robin Ward, retires. A new director for Heritage Land Bank steps in 7/1/2021.
The Girdwood Community struggled to understand what was happening. The winning RFP had many redactions, and it was difficult to discern basic information about the project. These included more than personal finances of the partners. Redactions included the entire concept site plan (page 50 & 51) among many other examples. HLB had developers sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), thereby veiling the project from the public further.
In August of 2021, Girdwood Housing Working Group, followed by Land Use and GBOS votes passed this Resolution, asking that attainable housing be included in the development agreement for the 3 parcels being offered for disposal.
September 16, a new Real Estate Director and head of HLB is named: Jim Winegarner.
After Winegarner is not confirmed, assembly member asks who is in charge of Heritage Land Bank during an assembly meeting, the administration responds it is Adam Trombley. Trombley begins to oversee HLB and Real Estate Department.
In December of 2021, at the same moment that Girdwood Fire Department chauffeured Santa Claus around Girdwood, HLB held a public meeting about Holtan Hills. Depite the conflict of time, 100+ residents tuned in to the meeting. Many concerns came forward and the evening’s questions were eventually cut short. (Click here to watch recording of this.)
Disposal of Holtan Hills appeared on the published January 2022 HLB agenda. Six of the seven commissioners were brand new. Prior to the meeting, the agenda item was pulled, but concerned residents of Girdwood still showed up and spoke during public comment.
Residents of Girdwood formed a grass-roots Town Hall at Girdwood Chapel to address the social impacts that Holtan Hills development would create. This meeting had 80 attendees, which included Randy Sulte and John Weddleton, as well as GBOS members present or listening online. This Town Hall was held February 12th 2022.
Another staff change at HLB. HLB Cancels April Meeting.
Heritage Land Bank and CY Investments sign Holtan Hills Development Agreement dated April 29, 2022. It appears HLB Advisory Committee did not participate in negotiations or possibly evening viewing the document until after it had been signed (or at all).
HLB Cancels May meeting.
In April/May 2022, the Girdwood Chamber of Commerce Resolution underwent 2 meetings with their membership and voted to put forward a resolution to amend the development agreement to include workforce housing or should be cancelled.
In May/June 2022 this resolution was presented at Girdwood Land Use Committee and Girdwood Board of Supervisors meetings.
At it’s second Land Use Committee meeting in June (where residents are entitled to 1 person 1 vote) on June 13 , it passed with a vote of 42-1.
The following day was a LUC/GBOS Town Hall regarding Holtan Hills. It was very well attended with at least 150 participants in person and online. It’s been described as “spirited.” The first hour is presentation from the CY Investments development team. The remainder is questions and comments from the public.
At the June 20 2022 GBOS meeting, Supervisors discussed the Holtan Hills Town Hall. During the Town Hall, it was suggested creating a group of 5 residents to work with the developers. The following notice was issued:
“The Girdwood Board of Supervisors is assembling a Housing Advisory Committee of
approximately 5 members. The Committee will be responsible for representing the
community interests with the developer and HLB who are developing Holtan Hills for
residential housing. Nominations for individuals to be considered for appointment to the Holtan Hills Housing Advisory Committee should email their resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nominees must be eighteen (18) years of age or older and
a) a current resident and/or property owner, business owner or designated representative of a non-profit association, and;
b) who has resided in, owned property in, owned a business located in, or operated as a non-profit association for the preceding ninety (90) days or longer in Girdwood Valley.
Or via mail: GBOS – PO Box 390 Girdwood, AK 99587
Applications to be received by 5PM on Friday, July 1, 2022.”
GBOS tabled the Chamber’s resolution until next month to work through language edits. Instead, GBOS wrote a letter summarizing the various issued raised by the community at Town Hall and provided the letter to HLB and the administration.
Many Girdwood residents raised concerns to HLB on their meeting held 6-23-2022. One HLB Commissioner asked for the development agreement to be emailed to him because he had not seen it. Commissioner Wilbanks requested a work session on Holtan Hills. This worksession would eventually be held on October 13, 2022. Recording
Other relevant information and links:
Worksession No. 2 re Holtan Hills, AO 2022-103 Competitive Disposal of HLB Parcels to CY Investments Documents – December 2, 2022:
- AO 2022-103
- AO 2022-103(S)
- AM on 2022-103(S)
- 2022-1202 HLB Holtan Hills RFP and Project Timeline
- 2022-1202 Summary of Public Comments on Holtan Hills Project
- 2022-1202 MOA Presentation on HoltanHills for worksession
- Website link: Holton Hills documents presented to the HLB Advisory Commission
- Website link: HLB information on the MOA Real Estate website
- 2022-1013 Holtan Hills Planning Memo
- 2022-1221 Holtan Hills Presentation on rezone
- 2022-1102 HoltanHillsPresentation to HLBAC
DRAFT Concept Plan Phases I-III (This will change throughout the Planning/Platting process.) Source: HLB website 6/2022.
10/26/20 – Public Review Period for 2021 Work Plan begins
12/11/20 – End of 45 day public review period for 2021 Work Plan
2/23/21 – HLB 2021 Work Plan Approved by Assembly via Resolution 2021-25
4/7/21 – HLB Posts RFP (RFP was not mentioned on work plan, approved just 6 weeks prior)
4/20/21 – HLB Holds Meeting to Discuss RFP
5/14/21 – Original deadline to submit response to RFP
6/7/21 – Extended due date for submissions
6/29/21 – MOA Posts Selection Committee Results Memo (No elected officials on selection committee. HLB chose committee.)
7/15/21 – Approximate Date Negotiations Begin
12/22/2022 – HLB Presents to Girdwood
4/29/2022 – Date Development Agreement was signed
9/22/2022 – Heritage Land Bank Advisory Committee Public Hearing
10/27/2022 – HLBAC Votes to Dispose with amendments
11/4/2022 – Assembly worksession #1
11/17/2022 – HLBAC re-votes to dispose, again with amendments
12/2/2022 – Assembly worksession #2
12/6/2022 – UPCOMING – Assembly Public Hearing on Disposal