The revelation of a settlement agreement between the Municipality of Anchorage and Eklutna, Inc.–signed by the parties back in January of this year—which requires the MOA to help promote Eklutna’s Powder Acres and Powder Hills developments, is now causing members of the Birchwood Community Council to seek a delay in action by the Anchorage Assembly so their concerns can be worked out.
This will be the first item of business on the December 19 Assembly meeting agenda at 6 p.m., and they are asking all residents to show up to support their request.
There are those who say this is a small group of people who are opposed to any kind of development, explained Gretchen Wehmhoff, chair of the Birchwood Community Council task force established to address concerns about bringing water lines into their community.
It took assistance from the Ombudsman to get a copy of the agreement, which some believed existed but did not previously know the exact terms therein.
Among the legal jargon of the agreement, under 2.3.4:
“The Municipality and AWWU shall undertake diligent and best efforts to obtain all necessary approvals, including, without limitation, (a) approval of the Anchorage Assembly to submit to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska a tariff to permit AWWU to enter infrastructure coordination agreements and pay upfront costs of construction of the Primary Trunk Lines…”
The agreement came as part of the Methane Settlement reached January 4. According to an ADN story: “In exchange for $5.75 million, Eklutna Inc. said it would waive future claims over gas revenue and use the proceeds from the settlement to build dozens of new homes in Eagle River over the next five years.
“The dispute over the sale of methane gas, which was rooted in a decades-old land agreement, began in 2010. The city has been tapping methane produced by buried, rotting garbage at the Eagle River landfill, purifying, pressurizing and selling it to produce power at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.”
The Birchwood Community Counsel is not challenging Eklutna, Inc’s right to build homes on land it owns.
They simply do not want major water lines run through their neighborhoods requiring assessments upon hookup.
Donn Liston has lived in Alaska since 1962 and in Eagle River since 2010. He was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News during pipeline construction and is now a teacher after becoming certified in Juneau after living there 20 years. He has taught Adult Basic Education for the last 10 years. To reach Donn, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.