Anchorage Assembly postpones decision on whether to pause property taxes for new accessory dwelling units

A for sale real estate sign in front of a dry grassy house
A house for sale in South Addition in May, 2020. South Addition has one of the highest concentrations of ADUs in the city. (Lex Treinen)

The Anchorage Assembly voted Tuesday night to postpone a decision on whether to pause property tax payments on new accessory dwelling units, or ADUs.

The units, also commonly referred to as mother-in-law apartments, are smaller housing units located on the same property of a single-family home, for instance a garage turned into an apartment. Advocates for ADUs see them as a way to increase housing in Anchorage. 

Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration proposed the 10-year pause on taxes as a way to try to boost construction of ADUs.

During public testimony on the ordinance, some people raised concerns that it could just lead to more ADUs that are used as short-term rentals, like Airbnbs, rather than boost permanent housing. In response, Assembly member Meg Zaletel moved to postpone the public testimony on the ordinance to March 15 in order to work on incentivizing the use of ADUs as permanent housing. 

Even if it passes, some advocates say the tax abatement will only go so far, and ask that the administration also look into changing parking requirements and to no longer require property owners to live in one of the units. 

Bronson officials have signaled they’re open to discussing further regulation changes in an effort to increase the number of ADUs in Anchorage. Just 2% of single-family homes in the city have one. 

RELATED: Mayor’s tax proposal aims to spur construction of mother-in-law apartments to ease Anchorage housing crunch. Advocates want more.

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