Welcome to issue eleven of Girdwood Inc.’s newsletter. Planning in Girdwood is really ramping up and the output of the planning is being shared with the community. This newsletter hopes to summarize the events which have occurred and direct you to resources for more information.
Alyeska Open House
Alyeska Resort held an open house the evening of September 21st. At the Sitzmark, the room filled up with attendees interested to hear about the new development plan being unveiled. Ryan Pomeroy spoke of their future vision for the resort and invited members of their development team to speak. He introduced Chris Cushing of SE Group, who specializes in Mountain Planning. He turned over time to Jeff Korvel of Skylab Architecture, who showed many examples of his work in mountain communities. He then directed attendees to move around and visit the various stations with large posters and presenters. The vision boards included: Alyeska Development, Workforce Housing Community, Recreation Center and Daycare, Glacier Creek Community, Mountain Improvements and Sustainability.
The Alyeska Development station displayed an overview of the entire area showing concept buildings rendered and proposed new parking. The development plan contained 3 distinct areas:
“Alyeska Village” is located near the Nordic Spa on Tract A. This area includes a plaza with public event space, commercial units available to tenants, saleable condominiums, new ski school, a conference center and additional parking. All buildings are sited to be on currently owned Alyeska land, with parking extending onto State land.
“Moose Meadow Community” would be located on Tract B, near Our Lady of the Snows Chapel and the new employee housing building. The area is slated to be workforce housing, park space, mixed use commercial and residential, with an area defined for a Recreation Center, covered hockey rink and the new childcare facility, which will be owned and operated by Little Bears Playhouse. The architect described the design aesthetic for the area as “Frontier Modern.” The childcare facility is furthest along in design and development. Phase I will include components of the above areas.
“Glacier Creek Community” is in an area off the existing resort property on public land and currently managed by Heritage Land Bank. This area is proposed to be residential housing, smaller commercial uses, and a warming hut for winter activities. This area is furthest out for development.
See additional information below.
Imagine! Girdwood Open House
Imagine! Girdwood is the committee spearheading the new Girdwood Area Plan. The current area plan was completed in 1995 and has long needed an update. Huddle AK is the contractor in place to research relevant information, compile public comment and write the draft plan. Two “draft maps” were introduced the evening of October 11 as Scenario A and Scenario B. It has been reiterated that we are not expected to choose one map or the other, but rather comment on things we like or don’t like depicted on the maps. This map is expected to identify areas which the community is in favor of for new development, as well as areas to be preserved as park space, etc.
Comments should be emailed to email@example.com The due date for comments has been extended to November 5th 2023. View the full presentation clicking here. The next Imagine! Girdwood meetings are scheduled for November 29th and December 20, 2023 at 6 PM. Links to these meetings should be posted at www.imaginegirdwood.org
While some believe that Girdwood is resistant to new development, we view the following as examples that Girdwood is demonstrating to be forward-thinking when it comes to new development and housing in Girdwood:
1) Girdwood Comprehensive Plan. As mentioned above, this plan is being written now. The draft is projected to be completed by February 2024.
2) Girdwood Housing and Economic Committee was created after the April 2023 vote, which established this additional service area power under Girdwood Board of Supervisors. Issues being discussed in the Committee, as well as Land Use and GBOS meetings include:
Lowering Costs – Being able to source gravel from Glacier Creek to lower construction costs, instead of importing gravel from Portage, Anchorage or Mat-Su. After moving through Land Use and GBOS, the committee voted to request a scope of work and pursue a feasibility study. There may be additional benefits to mitigate flooding risk. The Girdwood Service Area Manager noted the need for gravel being an essential resource, for local roads maintenance and operations. Extracted material is proposed for use in local Girdwood projects and community needs.
Create RV Parking Location – Using Heritage Land Bank parcel 6-134 for an RV and community river beach park. This parcel is located behind the Library and Fire Station. The vast majority of this parcel is within a floodplain. This could create a Parks and Recreation revenue source, with caretakers on site. Creating a legal and sanitary location which is intended for camping could help alleviate the park-and-ride area currently being utilized. Advocates suggest building a permanent bathroom facility on this parcel prior to any other development.
Assembly’s new “Anchorage Goes” bond proposal may be helpful with funding a public restroom on the parcel mentioned above. The municipal-wide bond is expected to increase taxes by $2.54 for each $100,000 of assessed taxable property value and will result in up to 30 public restrooms. The public hearing is scheduled for the Regular Assemble Meeting on November 7, 2023. If approved by assembly, the bond proposition will be presented to qualified, registered voters during the Regular Municipal Election in April 2024.
Assembly members Randy Sulte & Meg Zaletel introduced an ordinance to create a new chapter of municipal code in Title 10. It pertains to licensing and regulation of short term rentals operations. Scan the QR code to view the proposed legislation. The public hearing is scheduled for the Regular Assemble Meeting on December 5, 2023.
Additional Info provided by Alyeska Development Team:
Alyeska Village Area
- Connect Resort & Village to Community
- Bring Saleable Condos to the Village
- Bring Public Amenities to the Space – this may include potential new grocery store / hardware store but can also be in Workforce Housing Area.
- Provide New Commercial Opportunities – new commercial space open for public leasing opportunities.
- Build New Conference Center – focusing on bringing more events to Girdwood.
- Construct Additional Parking Areas – major focus point of the development, building for future needs.
- Promote Walkable Village Setting
- Create New Public Event Space
- Build an Engaging Skier Village
Workforce Housing Community
- Create Sense of Community
- Bring Workforce Housing to Girdwood – Not only for resort workers but for other businesses in Girdwood.
- Provide Diverse Rental Housing – studio to townhomes. Trying to promote not only individuals living here but if someone wanted to move in with a family, they could.
- Create Work-live space for Small Business
- Provide New Park Space
- Build New Local Commercial Space – more commercial space available.
- Construct Recreational Facility
- Ensure Resilience of Future Housing Need
- Partner with On-Site Daycare
Recreation Center & Daycare
- Build New Recreation Center – fitness center and pool which would operate similar to other rec facilities in anchorage (open to public).
- Provide Space for Little Bears Daycare
- Construct Open Air Ice Rink
- Include Aquatic Center
- Build Extensive Fitness Center
- New Community Rooms Space
- Additional Playground Area
- Promote Easy Access to Girdwood Town
- Build Sense of Community
Glacier Creek Community
- Residential Housing Community
- New Diverse Housing Stock
We sincerely hope you appreciate our newsletters! Until next time!