CBJ talks about housing plan

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The strategies include tax abatements, a blighted housing ordinance, and disposal strategy for Pederson Hill lots.

    Chief Housing Officer Scott Ciambor said other priorities are improvement of downtown housing, development of affordable housing, and identification of CBJ owned areas for residential development.

    In the past two years the CBJ has worked on a downtown housing inventory, the Juneau Affordable Housing Fund, CBJ Land Development and changes to the Affordable Housing Commission.

    Other goals are to add funding capital through sales taxes, state federal private grants, surcharges on premium homes, business community contributions, sale of CBJ land, a bed tax or Air bed and breakfast tax, voter approved bonds and real estate transfer fees.

    Another priority is new fair market workforce and senior housing.  Incentive grants could be offered homeowners when they add accessory apartments.  The CBJ could also provide mobile home down payment assistance.

    "There is a lot of opinion in the community about what the city's role should be in housing," Manager Rorie Watt said, "At this point we have the topics in the current activities enumerated in the plan.  If we can work on some or most of these goals this year we should feel pretty satisfied."

    Other items in the plan include tougher code enforcement, encourage energy efficiency in existing units, an inventory of buildable land, A Douglas comprehensive plan update this year, and set a goal for residential units downtown.

    Vice Mayor Maria Gladziszewski said getting people to live downtown again would help solve the housing problem. 

    Assembly member Michele Bonnet-Hale said there is dilapidated housing downtown and a need for the city to address problem areas.

    Gladziszewski said many owners of property downtown have not rented them year round and instead saved them for summer time workers.


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