News from Patrick Flynn

The old Native Hospital site – updated

Update: This morning’s paper has a story about the proposed rezone.  In addition to the Downtown Community Council’s opposition, the Mountain View & Fairview Community Councils also passed resolutions against the proposal.  End update.

If you live or work on the east end of Downtown you will want to learn more about the proposed rezone of the old Native Hospital site, which is on Third Avenue at Gambell Street. Rudimentary information about the case, and a mechanism for making comments, is on the Planning & Zoning web site.

This large area was abandoned when the new Alaska Native Medical Center opened in the U-Med district. Currently zoned as PLI, Public Lands & Institutions, the site has been used as a staging area for construction of the new Dena’ina Convention Center, which is legal because the convention center is a public building. The Heritage Land Bank, which manages land owned by the city, proposed rezoning to I-2, Industrial, in order to allow the site to be used as a staging area for private projects, something that would not be legal today.

A few weeks ago I spoke with the HLB Executive Director, Bill Mehner (e-mail address: and he mentioned the proposed rezone. Since then I’ve heard from some neighbors concerned about the project and asked Bill to provide more details. Here’s what he wrote in an e-mail to me:

“. . . I might add that our application does also recommend at least a 30 foot buffer on the South and West sides of the property and we certainly have no desire to put a waste treatment or junk yard on this vacant land. There is no redevelopment plan calling for major construction on this site which has geotechnical challenges and continues to be monitored by EPA for contaminants.”

I spoke with Bill again last week and conveyed that the dust from the site was bothersome to some residents. I suggested that the buffer Bill mentioned might be best as a vegetated berm, which would shield adjacent properties from the dust, noise and activity. He seemed to like the idea.

At this point I expect the Downtown Community Council to discuss the matter at their June 5 meeting and then the Planning & Zoning Commission will consider the proposal at their June 25 meeting.

If you have questions or comments about this process please let me know!



This contribution was made on Sunday, 01. June 2008 at 08:00 and was published under the category Neighborhoods. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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