Homeless and Transient Shelters: 
Title 21 Proposed Changes

UPDATE: March 24, 2021

The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval of the proposed ordinance to the Assembly during a public hearing held on March 1, 2021. Please review the presentation below for an overview of the proposed Title 21 amendments included in the draft Assembly Ordinance and to learn more about where this project is in the approval process and what are next steps.

Homeless Shelters in B-3_3.22.2021.pdf​

February 22, 2021 

Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing

PZC Case No. 2021-0025, Title 21 Homeless and Transient Shelter Text Amendment:
Review and Recommendation to the Assembly

The Planning Department Staff Report for the March 1, 2021 meeting and the Annotated Draft Assembly Ordinance of the Title 21 Homeless and Transient Shelter Text Amendment are available below:

November 19, 2020

The Municipality of Anchorage, Planning Department, has prepared a community discussion draft of changes amending Anchorage Municipal Code Title 21 - Land Use Planning for homeless and transient shelters. Homeless shelters are facilities designed to provide minimum necessities of life, including overnight accommodation, on a limited, short-term basis for individuals and families during periods of dislocation or emergency pending formulation of longer-term planning.

Conditional Use in the PLI and B-3 Zones

Under current Anchorage Municipal Code, homeless and transient shelters are only allowed within the Public Lands and Institutions (PLI) Zoning District as a conditional use. The limitation to one Zoning District makes it difficult to provide additional beds. In addition, much of the PLI land is designated for parks and institutions or is not located near public transit and other necessary services. The proposed Title 21 amendments would also allow homeless and transient shelters within the General Business (B-3) Zoning District as a conditional use. Conditional uses must meet criteria to obtain a permit prior to operating. The criteria for conditional uses include compatibility with uses on adjacent properties and mitigation for potential impacts of the use.

Use-Specific Standards

In addition, the amendment proposes new use-specific standards for all homeless and transient shelters to protect shelter guests. These use-specific standards are to be 500 feet from other homeless shelters, to provide storage space for personal belongings and bicycles, and to either be located within a quarter mile of a transit route or to provide an alternative mode of transportation.

Community Discussion Draft Ordinance

Below is a link to a pdf document showing proposed Title 21 Code amendments with annotation explaining the changes. After community discussion, the amendments will go before Commissions for a recommendation and then to the Assembly as an ordinance up for adoption.

Community Discussion Draft Annotated Assembly Ordinance

Slideshow Presentation

Planning Staff gave a presentation of the proposed amendments to the Federation of Community Councils (FCC) on November 18, 2020. The link below is a pdf copy of that presentation.

Presentation to Federation of Community Councils, November 18, 2020 


Francis McLaughlin
Current Planning Division
(907) 343-8003


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