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Celebrating a Juneau Assembly Diary

Jonathan Anderson is a member of the Juneau Assembly, our local city council equivalent. As far as I know, he is the only assemblymember to have a blog. The blog is called Assembly Diary and it is available at http://assemblydiary.blogspot.com/.

I like Mr. Anderson’s blog for two main reasons. First, it is always civil. He does explain differences he has with other assembly members, but it is always without rancor or negative assumptions about the motives of others.

The other reason I enjoy the blog is that he often explains the inner workings of borough (unified city+county equivalent)  government. This is very helpful to a layman.

Here is an example of this type of explanation from his post of Feb 11, 2010:

Here is a great example of some of the small complex issues that come to the Assembly. At our next meeting we are supposed to hear an ordinance to rezone a small area between JDHS and Evergreen cemetery from D18 to Light Commercial to accommodate a retail establishment that MRV Architects wants to put in their building (former Akiyama office). The Land Use code says you can’t rezone short of 2 acres, so they added a chunk of the cemetery to the proposed rezone. That brought out a lot of objections, particularly from the native community. The neighbors in the condo to the northeast objected – and to accommodate, Staff recommended prohibiting restaurants—but the Commission rejected that protection. It looks like an attempt to spot zone to accommodate one commercial property owner—but their argument is that this follows the revised Comprehensive Plan (it does) which said this should be General Commercial. Throw in that the proposed retail establishment will be partially owned by the Troxels who run the Breakwater and are in a clash with neighbors because of noise and disturbance problems at their bar. What is before the Assembly is just a proposal to rezone – we are not supposed to judge the Planning Commission decision unless there is a formal appeal. But still…….

By the way, I’m not interested in debating the merits of this zoning measure. I use this example to show how Mr. Anderson illustrates how the city code, city plans, the legal relationship between the Assembly and Planning Commission and community feelings interact on a zoning request.

I think this is a great example of a local government blog and hope you will pay it some attention. If you know of other members of the Juneau Assembly who blog, would you leave a comment with the URL? Thanks!

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