Brief History of Girdwood Board of Supervisors/Community Council Issue


December 5, 1983 – Girdwood Board of Supervisors (GBOS) voted 4-1 to “broaden its responsibilities to include acting on on-tax-related matters. Thus it will continue to handle any non-tax-related issues brought before it. This status does not preclude the formation of a community council at a future date” (FVCS Local News, January 1984).

November 1997 – GBOS voted in favor of the Alaska Railroad studying the proposed rail spur in spite of community opposition including a petition against it signed by 462 Girdwood residents. This vote prompted local resident Rita Hall to file a complaint with the Municipal Ombudsmen’s office charging the GBOS “has at times been acting outside its authority during the past 14 years” (Anchorage Daily News, December 29, 1997).

December 12, 1997 – Ombudsmen’s report finds that the Anchorage Municipal Code has no provision for a service area board to change their duties and powers on their own and that the “GBOS acted without authority in December 1983 when they voted to take on additional responsibilities and act as the recognized community council for the Girdwood valley” (Ombudsmen’s Report, December 12, 1997).

The community responded by holding 3 town meetings (attended by 50-85 people each time) in order to resolve the issue of the GBOS not legally having the right to deal with land use issues.  The Federation of Community Councils assisted in sending out a survey, and advisory questions were on the April 1999 ballot.  This tremendous amount of public input resulted in AR 2001-85.

January 15, February 4, March, 1998 – Town meetings were held in Girdwood where the community members expressed they did not want a community council separate from the Girdwood Board of Supervisors. See minutes of GBOS meetings where these meetings were reported, and where similar statements were made from attendees (including Assemblymembers).


April 1998 – First Land Use Committee(LUC) meeting held.  LUC is the result of community needing to grapple with land use issues while community sorting out what was legally necessary to respond to ombudsman’s opinion.  LUC meeting held every month since (except when lack of agenda items prompted cancellation).

May 1998 -- Federation of Community Councils Survey of Girdwood Residents reported.

  1. Should there continue to be a mayoral appointee on the GBOS?

154 Yes/161 No

  1. Should the GBOS be increased from 5 to 7? 

204 Yes/109 No

  1. Should the GBOS and community council be combined? 

215 Yes/110 No


October 1998 – Options for combining the GBOS and community council were posted publicly for review and comment.

April 20, 1999
– In the Municipal Election, Girdwood residents voted on several advisory questions:
1.    Should the Mayor of Anchorage appoint one member of the GBOS?
       182 Yes/ 213 No
2.    Should the GBOS function as a service area board?
       258 Yes/ 85 No
3.    Should a Girdwood Community Council be formed?
       161 Yes/ 190 No



September 13, 1999Girdwood Community Association formed as Girdwood community council for the purpose of “providing a direct and continuing means of citizen participation in local affairs and to provide Girdwood residents and property owners, business owners and non-profit representatives a means by which they can work together for expression and discussion of their opinions, needs and desires in a manner that will have an impact on Girdwood’s development and services.


October 5, 1999 – Letter sent to Assemblymembers Abney and Tremaine outlining description of process to date, and request for Girdwood Community Association to be recognized as the community council for Girdwood.


January 2000 – Annual meeting of Girdwood Community Association publicly posted and held.


February 2001 -- Annual meeting of Girdwood Community Association publicly posted and held.

April 24, 2001 – Assembly passes by a vote of 8-2, AR 2001-85, “A Resolution of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly Recognizing the Girdwood Community Association as the Community Council For the Girdwood Valley Community Council District” against the recommendation of Municipal Attorney Bill Greene, and with the provision that the Municipal Attorney will work to “draft the necessary code changes to legally implement this resolution effective within 30 days.”

May 1, 2001 – Mayor Wuerch vetoes the Resolution.

July 18, 2001 – Letter to the Anchorage Assembly from the GBOS states that the GBOS and the LUC unanimously support Anchorage Ordinance No. AO 2001-128, an ordinance amending Anchorage Municipal Code (AMC 1.15.170E) to allow elected members of Girdwood Service Area Boards to represent community views and recommendations before the Assembly, Mayor, School Board and other municipal, boards, commissions and agencies.

July 24, 2001 – Assembly approved AO 2001-128.


February 2002 - Annual meeting of Girdwood Community Association publicly posted and held.


January 2003 - Annual meeting of Girdwood Community Association publicly posted and held.  Subcommittee formed to review By-Laws of the Girdwood Community Association.


August 12, 2003 – Assembly approved 2003-113 (Amended) which reads:  E. Districts Recognized; Special Provision. The Municipality recognizes the Girdwood Board of Supervisors as the community council, ex-officio, which serves the Girdwood Community Association/Land Use Committee boundary area depicted on Map 10 located in section 2.40.090.


August 15, 2003 – Memo from Municipal Attorney Frederick Boness states, as a response to Assemblymembers Traini and Fairclough’s question concerning the GBOS serving as the Community Council being in violation of AMC 1.15.170E: this was resolved when the Assembly passed AO No 2001-128 and that exception is now contained in AMC 1.15.170E.


Compiled by Julie Jonas, updated 12/9/02, 10/31/03



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