JULY 2022 | VOL VI

The Planner Platform

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Planning Services
  • Community Comprehensive Plans
  • Bike & Pedestrian Plan Update
  • Mat-Su Community Emergency Response Team
  • Development Services
  • Planner Spotlight
  • Hiring: Planner III (Comprehensive Planning)
  • Arctic Winter Games
  • Upcoming Meetings
  • Planning Resources
Comprehensive community planning provides value to Mat-Su communities by giving residents the tools they need to develop goals and objectives for land use, economic development and community infrastructure needs within a defined area. These goals and objectives ultimately guide MSB staff and the Assembly in their policy decisions and project prioritization.

A community comprehensive plan helps to ensure that citizens have an opportunity to make their voices heard and identify proactive solutions as opposed to being reactionary when problems arise. It lends weight when a community raises objections or supports an effort being made by local government, if they can point to areas in their plan that address a topic. It also gives communities a chance to work together with the priority being to do the greatest good for the majority of the community members.

Listed below are the Community Councils within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough:
Buffalo Mine/Soapstone
Greater Farm Loop
North Lakes
South Lakes
Trapper Creek
While some areas do not have a community comprehensive plan, others do, and some even have an additional layer of regulations via special use districts. Click on the links above to view the community plans. Codified special use districts can be found here.

To review, update, or to draft a new plan, contact Leda Borys for more information.
Email Leda

The MSB Planning Department is excited to say that we have begun our very first borough-wide bike and pedestrian plan (BPP)! This plan will act as a supplemental chapter to the 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) which is used to guide transportation infrastructure development throughout the Mat-Su. The MSB BPP is working towards an outcome where residents and visitors of all ages and abilities will have equitable access to a safe bike and pedestrian transportation network. We are working to improve quality of life through healthier, better-connected communities.  

At this time, Planning staff, along with our consultant team, RESPEC, are working on several documents that will ultimately be brought to the public for their feedback. Those documents include an Existing Conditions Report that lets us know more about current policy, design criteria, and infrastructure, and an Economic Impact Analysis that provides research behind the physical and economic benefits of a better-developed bike and pedestrian network. Once finalized, Planning staff will begin the public outreach phase of this planning effort! This will include community council outreach, public meetings, and hopefully some active community events! Ultimately, the BPP will result in a planning document and a corresponding implementation plan with a prioritized list of bike and pedestrian infrastructure. The target completion date is June 2023.  

Join in the conversation by leaving a comment on our interactive map (link below). Comment on where you would like to see new or improved bike and pedestrian infrastructure, including anything from creating new trails and separated pathways to improving neighborhood safety. Stay tuned to the Planner Platform for more information and public involvement opportunities as they come up along the way!  

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Project Comment Map
Mat-Su Bike & Ped Website
Mat-Su Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
The Mat-Su Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a FREE 20-hour course offered by the MSB Department of Emergency Services. It educates and trains community members in Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety, Search and Rescue, Medical Triage, Medical Operations, and Disaster Psychology. The CERT program benefits individuals and groups of community members interested in building skills to support and care for one another. The skillset provides local expertise for rural and less accessible communities with long emergency response times, decreases overall reliance on outside support, builds community through communication and collaboration, and enhances Alaskan pride in self-reliance.

In addition to the CERT training, FEMA also offers free online courses and webinars, the Mat-Su Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) provides opportunities for community groups to come together to provide larger-scale disaster relief and response, and the Mat-Su Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) meets quarterly and works to keep our communities prepared for emergencies. Information regarding these resources can be found by following the links below. Reach out to your local community council to coordinate a training in your area!
Get Involved
Contact MSB Emergency Operations Center
The Development Services Division primarily implements land use regulations adopted by the Borough Assembly. Implementation includes education, outreach, and permitting. Some permitting requirements that affect many developments are: Driveway Permit, Floodplain Development Permit, and Multifamily Development Permit. Some uses, such as marijuana retail facilities, junkyards, and earth materials extraction (gravel pit) operations require a Conditional Use Permit prior to beginning operations. For more information, or to see if your development (or project) requires a permit, please contact the Permit Center (link below).
Contact us!
Planner Spotlight:

Maija DiSalvo

Maija joined the Planning Division in December of 2021, after a wintry drive to Alaska on the Alcan with her partner and three dogs. She grew up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and has spent the last seven years living along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state. With a love of wandering through the woods, learning about the local flora and fauna, and going on grand adventures, Alaska was a natural fit. After spending years involved with Ground, Swiftwater, and K9 Search & Rescue, her passion for community involvement drew her towards a meaningful and intentional career shift working with the Planning & Land Use Division of the Mat-Su Borough.

Maija is the Planning Division Administrative Specialist and offers admin support to the Planning Team wherever it's needed. You may have seen her face at many of the board meetings staffed by the Planning Team, as well as project meetings relating to MPO Development, MS4 and Stormwater Management, and the Beverly Lake LMP to name a few. She also manages content and design for social media and the Planner Platform you're currently reading!

Outside of her work for the Borough, Maija enjoys hiking with her dogs, discovering new places to fish, camping off the beaten path, learning how to grow and preserve food, and whitewater kayaking. She hopes to never stop learning new skills and exploring wild places.

MSB Planning is Hiring!

We are currently accepting applications for a Planner III based in Palmer, Alaska. This is a unique opportunity for a hungry, humble, and smart professional planner to join an energetic, passionate, dynamic, and committed team working hard to navigate the challenges and opportunities of land use planning in a rapidly urbanizing region. This two-year project position will support the overall mission of the Planning Division of “protecting and enhancing the quality of life, health, and safety of MSB residents" by leading the Borough-wide Comprehensive Plan update. Under the general direction and supervision of the Planning Services Manager, this complex and diversified position will be responsible for all aspects of the plan update. From research, scenario planning, and technical writing to communicating with agency and public partners, managing consultants, and presenting to the Planning Commission and Assembly.
Apply Here!
Arctic Winter Games
Support AWG 2024!
Upcoming Meetings
MVP for Transportation Pre-MPO Steering Committee
Tuesday, July 12th @ 2:00 pm
Tuesday, August 9th @ 2:00 pm
MVP for Transportation Pre-MPO Policy Board
Wednesday, July 20th @ 1:00 pm
Wednesday, August 17th @ 1:00 pm

Glacier View Comprehensive Plan Review Team
Monday, July 11th @ 6:00 pm

Aviation Advisory Board
Thursday, July 21st @ 3:00 pm

Historical Preservation Commission
Thursday, August 11th @ 6:00 pm
Transportation Advisory Board
Friday, August 19th @ 10:00 am
Platting Board
Thursday, July 7th @ 1:00 pm
Thursday, July 21st @ 1:00 pm
Thursday, August 4th @ 1:00 pm
Thursday, August 18th @ 1:00 pm
Planning Commission
Monday, July 18th @ 6:00 pm
Monday, August 1st @ 6:00 pm
Monday, August 15th @ 6:00 pm
Other Resources
Questions or comments? Want to learn more? Follow along with planning updates via Facebook, or reach out to the team directly:

📞 907-861-7865
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