More Questions? Contact the Zoning Division at 343-7943
What do I need to apply?
In order for the Planning Department to accept a rezoning petition the following are required:
- Original Application for Zoning Map Amendment with original signatures.
- 35 sets of the following:
- The completed application.
- A map locating the rezoning site on an 8½x11 sheet of paper.
- A Letter of Authorization is required from the property owner if someone else is to represent the owner at the public hearing.
- A draft ordinance amending the Zoning Map.
- The application fee.
The following items are optional but often assist the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Planning Department:
- Site plans depicting the proposed or existing development.
- Building floor plans and elevations.
- Narrative description of the proposed use or development.
Do I need a professional to represent me?
It is not necessary for you to retain a professional to represent you in the rezoning process. Whether you choose to retain a professional will likely depend on the complexity of the rezoning and the future development plan. When representation is used, the professional is usually a planner, attorney, or civil engineer.
How long will it take?
Estimate 3 to 6 months for a rezoning to pass through all the steps, although some rezonings take longer. A rezoning must be heard by the Planning and Zoning Commission first and then the Assembly. Each hearing is a publicly noticed meeting which requires a certain amount of time to prepare.
The Planning Department operates a first come first served system for scheduling Commission public hearings. The minimum amount of time for a petition from acceptance to the public hearing is about 45 days. However, if there are more petitions than the Planning and Zoning Commission can hear in one meeting the Planning Department then fills each scheduled meeting in order. If the Commission's docket is filled for many meetings, the amount of time between turning in a rezoning and its public hearing depends on the number of zoning actions in line ahead of it.
After the Commission completes action an ordinance packet is prepared and sent to the Assembly. The Assembly procedure requires the Assembly to first read the rezoning ordinance, which is the introduction hearing, and then select a public hearing date. The public hearing date is usually 4 weeks after introduction, but can be longer depending on the Assembly schedule. Due to the Assembly workload the actual hearing may be delayed further at the discretion of the Assembly.
What is the likelihood that my rezoning will be approved?
Rezoning proposals that follow the guidelines of the Comprehensive Plan for land use and land use intensity are most likely to succeed. Presenting a well thought out development plan will provide additional support for the rezoning. A rezoning proposal that is counter to the current planning policies and/or is speculative will have a much more difficult time in proving its merit to the community, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Assembly. (Top)
What happens before the Commission public hearing?
To get ready for the public hearing the Planning Department does the following:
- Gives you one or more placards to post on the property. The placards must be posted at least 21 days before the public hearing.
- Assigns a case number to the rezoning for tracking and reference purposes.
- Sends a copy of your petition to a number of public agencies and the local Community Council for comment. The primary public agencies are Public Works Land Use Enforcement and the public utilities. The Community Councils often discuss zoning matters at their monthly meetings. You are encouraged to contact the council for the scheduled time and location and ask to be placed on their agenda to discuss your proposal.
- Mails a "Notice of Public Hearing" to each of your neighbors within a minimum of 500 feet of your property.
- The planner assigned to your rezoning will visit the property and may take photographs.
- A report is written and published to advise the Planning and Zoning Commission of the Planning Department's findings and recommendation. The report is available on the Friday before the hearing or at the public hearing. It is also posted on the Municipal website at Zoning and Platting Cases Online Notification System.
What happens at the Commission public hearing?
The public hearings are held in the Assembly Chambers at Loussac Library. The Planning and Zoning Commission follows a published agenda. The hearing of each petition generally follows these steps:
- The chair will introduce the case and explain the procedure to be followed. The rezoning case number and the name of the applicant are read into the record.
- The chair will give the Planning Department 10 minutes to briefly outline the case.
- You or your representative will then have 10 minutes for his/her presentation. The Commissioners may direct questions to you through the chair. You may reserve a portion of your time for rebuttal.
- The chair opens the hearing for public testimony. Each person may testify for no more than three minutes and may be questioned by the Commission, through the chair, at anytime during such presentation.
- The chair closes the hearing to public testimony.
- The applicant has the right of rebuttal using the time reserved from the presentation.
- The chair will ask for a positive motion from the board.
- The chair and the Commission discuss the motion and facts in support of or in opposition to the rezoning.
- The chair calls for roll call vote on the motion. No matter how many Commissioners are present it takes 5 yes votes to approve the rezoning.
- The chair will advise the applicant of the Commission's action, including findings of fact and conclusions of law.
What do I do if my rezoning is approved by the Commission?
To complete the rezoning the Assembly must hear and approve it through an ordinance which is prepared by the Planning Department. The following occurs after the Commission recommends approval of a rezoning:
- A Commission resolution summarizing the Commission's findings and recommendation is prepared by the Planning Department and presented to the Commission at a subsequent meeting for approval.
- An ordinance packet is assembled and sent to the Municipal Attorney for review, and the Mayor for approval to forward to the Assembly.
- If special limitations are included in the approval, you will need to provide a letter of consent to the Planning Department.
What do I do if my rezoning is denied by the Commission?
Your options are:
- Cease any attempt to rezone the property.
- File a Request for an Assembly hearing with the Municipal Clerk within 20 days of the Commission's denial.
- Revise the rezoning proposal and resubmit. A rezoning that is denied by the Commission may not heard by the by the Commission again for at least 12 months. To be exempted from the 12 month waiting period, your revised rezoning proposal must be considerably different from the first.
What happens at the Assembly?
The Assembly procedures are a little different from the Commission. The rezoning follows 2 steps. The Assembly holds a first reading at which the rezoning ordinance is read or introduced and a date is set for the public hearing. The Planning Department and the Clerk's Office provide legal notice of the public hearing date and location. The second step is the public hearing.
The Assembly public hearings are held in the Assembly Chambers at Loussac Library. The Assembly follows a published agenda. The hearing of each ordinance generally follows these steps:
- The chair will introduce the agenda item number or ordinance number and explain the procedure to be followed.
- The chair opens the hearing for public testimony. You or your representative will then have 3 minutes for his/her presentation. The Assembly members may direct questions to you through the chair.
- Each person may testify for no more than three minutes and may be questioned by the Assembly.
- The chair closes the hearing to public testimony.
- The chair will ask for a positive motion from the Assembly.
- The chair and the Assembly discuss the motion and facts in support of or in opposition to the rezoning.
- The chair calls for roll call vote on the motion. No matter how many Assembly members are present it takes 6 yes votes to approve the rezoning unless a valid protest petition is received. The protest requires 8 yes votes to approve the rezoning.
- The chair will advise the applicant of the Assembly's action, including findings of fact and conclusions of law.
What happens if there is a protest petition?
If the protest is valid then the Assembly may only approve the rezoning with 8 yes votes rather than the simple majority of 6. A protest petition must be filed with the Municipal Clerk after the public hearing notices have been sent, but no later than 24 hours before the Assembly public hearing. When a protest petition is received the Planning Department verifies the petition against the property tax roll and calculates the protest area under the terms of the law. A map showing the protesting property and the rezoning area is prepared for display at the Assembly meeting.
If the ordinance is approved the zoning map will be changed by the Planning Department in accordance with the instructions contained in the ordinance. If the ordinance is denied, the matter is closed.
Your options are:
- Cease any attempt to rezone the property.
- Revise the rezoning proposal and resubmit. A rezoning that is denied by the Assembly may not heard by the by the Assembly again for at least 12 months. To be exempted from the 12 month waiting period, your revised rezoning proposal must be considerably different from the first. In addition, the revised rezoning must go before the Planning and Zoning Commission as a new rezoning proposal before the Assembly can hear it. (Top)
The text of the Municipality Code of Ordinances and the Code of Regulations is available at the Municipal libraries, the Planning Department, and on the Internet at municode. For rezoning review the following:
- Rezoning procedures AMC 21.20
- Zoning districts AMC 21.40
The Assembly? The Assembly is the elected legislative body for Anchorage and is the final authority in rezoning.
A cut-off date? The Planning Department establishes an annual schedule for the Planning and Zoning Commission public hearings which includes enough time between accepting a rezoning petition and the public hearing to do the legal notice to neighbors and solicit information from government agencies and citizens on the petition. The cut-off date is the starting point and the last day a petition can be accepted for a specific hearing.
An effective clause? The Assembly may place conditions on a rezoning ordinance becoming effective such as requiring the property being resubdivided.
An ordinance packet? The documents presented to the Assembly which include the original Commission packet plus meeting minutes, the Commission resolution, a rezoning ordinance following the Commission's recommendation, and an Assembly memorandum explaining the rezoning.
A protest petition? Property owners within or surrounding an area to be rezoned may protest the rezoning. A protest petition that meets the minimum standards is said to be valid and increases the number of required positive votes for a rezoning by Assembly members from 6 to 8.
The Planning and Zoning Commission? The Planning and Zoning Commission is made up of 9 citizens appointed by the Mayor to hear, examine the proposed rezonings and the law, and decide on whether to grant or deny rezoning. The appointed Commissioners are not municipal employees. The Commission meets once a month on the 1st Monday to consider zoning items.
A special limitation? Special limitations or SL's are unique restrictions placed on a property with a rezoning. The restrictions can limit or prohibit land uses or require improvements such as landscaping or specific building design.
Zoning? Zoning is a system of laws to regulate use of property. It includes provisions to separate land uses and provide minimum or maximum dimensions on for instance building height, distances from property lines, and the amount of land that can be used.