Article I. Adoption

17.36.010    Title

17.36.020    Designated

17.36.030    Application of provisions

Article II. Definitions

17.36.040    Designation

Article III. Eligibility Criteria

17.36.050    Ownership

17.36.060    Development prohibition

17.36.070    Lands unsuitable for development

17.36.080    Professional services required

17.36.090    Professional certifications

17.36.100    Proof of financial ability to complete the scope and scale of the project contemplated

Article IV. Standards

17.36.110    Permitted uses

17.36.120    Prohibited uses

17.36.130    Density

17.36.140    Residential PUD bonus density

17.36.150    Minimum area

17.36.160    Access required

17.36.170    Access roads; design standards

17.36.180    Intersections

17.36.190    Planned unit developments with twenty or more dwellings

17.36.200    Setbacks and screening easements

17.36.210    Setbacks; shoreline

17.36.220    Open space

17.36.230    Water and sewer system

17.36.240    Off-road parking

Article V. Application Procedures

17.36.250    Application conference

17.36.260    Planning commission review

17.36.270    Technical review agencies

17.36.280    Action of the planning commission

17.36.290    Changes in concept plan

17.36.300    Administrative discretion

17.36.310    Final development plan

17.36.320    Approval required

17.36.340    Violation and enforcement

17.36.350    Appeal procedure


17.36.010 TITLE.

This title shall be known and cited as the “Residential Planned Unit Development Ordinance of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough (MSB PUD).”

(Ord 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)

17.36.020 DESIGNATED.

The intent of the planned unit development is to provide a flexible, alternative procedure to encourage imaginative and innovative design for the unified development of tracts of land and the creation of a more desirable environment than would be possible through strict application of MSB titles 16 and 17. It is further intended that this be accomplished within guidelines set forth in elements of the land use plan, the transportation plan and, goals and policies for development of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough as these may be officially adopted and from time to time supplemented or amended.

(Ord. 86-7, § 2, 1986: Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


(A)    The provisions of this chapter may be used in lieu of other provisions of this title and those of MSB title 16 of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Code (that is, subdivision regulations) to subdivide any land within the borough.

(B)    The standards set by this chapter shall be minimum standards, and shall apply uniformly to each class or kind of structure or land area except as hereinafter provided.

(C)    The provisions of this chapter are not applicable and may not be used for the subdivision or development of land within the cities of Palmer or Wasilla.

(Ord. 86-23, § 14, 1986; Ord. 86-7, § 3, 1986; Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


17.36.040 DESIGNATION.

(A)    For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning:

(1)    “Area” means one of the following as appropriate:

(a)    “Gross area” means the total area of all parcels of land comprising the planned unit development, including common areas and right-of-way.

(b)    “Local area” for the purpose of establishing density, “local area” means an area within a one-mile radius of the center of the proposed planned unit development; except where the planned unit development is on waterfront property. “Local area” for establishing densities of planned unit developments along waterfront properties means an area within a one-mile radius of the center of the planned unit development in all directions except the primary direction facing the water.

(c)    “Net area” means the total area of land involved in the development excluding rights-of-way and other public use areas.

(2)    “Common open space” means a parcel or designated area of land within the site designated and intended for the common use and enjoyment of residents of the planned unit development. Common open space may contain such complementary structures and improvements as are necessary and appropriate for the benefit and enjoyment of residents of the planned unit development.

(3)    “Dwelling unit” means a room or rooms connected together, constituting separate, independent living quarters for a person, or family, permanently or temporarily.

(4)    “Planned unit development (PUD)” means a development of land for residential or other uses which does not otherwise comply with the requirements of the applicable subdivision or land use regulations because of design of lots or building sites, design of public facilities, setbacks or density. A PUD may allow for zero lot lines, condominiums, townhouses, apartments and other creative development structures designed to encourage imaginative and innovative concepts for the development of tracts of land.

(5)    “Preferred enrollment growth area” means an area with boundaries designated by the school board or planning department in its six-year plan, in which the borough will be able to provide for increased school enrollment at a reasonable cost.

(6)    “Screening placement” means a strip or parcel of land for the purpose of insulating adjacent land uses against the adverse effects of a particular land use; it may be used for limiting access along arterial highways, providing a windscreen, filtering dust, muffling noise, deterring glare, and reducing soil erosion.

(Ord. 86-7, §§ 4 and 5, 1986; Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


17.36.050 OWNERSHIP.

An application for approval of a PUD may be filed by or with the written approval of legal, record owners of the property involved. No approval of a PUD shall be final until all persons holding a legal or equitable interest in the property have agreed to and approved the terms and conditions of approval in writing.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


The applicant shall not proceed with any construction work on the proposed property or subdivision, including clearing, grading or excavation relating to improvement, until the applicant has obtained, from the planning commission, concept plan and preliminary plat approval, if applicable.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


Lands which have been found to be unsuitable for subdivision because of potential hazards, such as flooding, snow avalanches, rock falls, landslides, steep slopes in excess of 25 percent grade, subsidence, high water table, polluted or non-potable water supply, high-voltage lines, high-pressure gaslines, air or vehicular traffic hazards, or other features which may be detrimental to the health, safety or general welfare of existing or future residents, shall not be developed or subdivided for commercial or residential building purposes and shall not be included in any building lot unless the hazards are eliminated or will be overcome by approved design and construction plans.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


(A)    The concept, site condition map and final planned unit development application shall be prepared by professionals in the fields of architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, land survey, or geology as may be appropriate.

(B)    The above-mentioned professionals shall be registered or licensed with the state of Alaska, if required by statute, or provide an affidavit attesting to their education and experience in their field. Affidavits must be witnessed by two professionals knowledgeable of the professional qualifications of the person making the affidavit.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


Professional certification by the professionals listed in MSB 17.36.080 that the project meets or exceeds building codes, borough road requirements, utility standards or D.E.C. water and sewer requirements shall be submitted prior to final plan approval.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


Arrangement of guarantee for financing the construction of public and recreational facilities and other amenities proposed within the planned unit development shall be required upon approval of a final development plan.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)



(A)    The following uses are permitted in a residential PUD:

(1)    one-family, two-family, and multi-family residences, including townhouses, condominiums, apartments and zero lot line homes;

(2)    accessory incidental retail and other nonresidential uses may be specifically and selectively authorized in a residential PUD. Permitted accessory uses, however, shall be scaled to meet only the needs of the inhabitants of the project;

(3)    recreational facilities including, but not limited to, tennis courts, swimming pools, playgrounds and club houses.

(B)    In residential and mixed land use PUDs, various land uses may be permitted, subject to conditions, if such uses are deemed by the planning commission to be appropriate. However, in any PUD where the primary use is residential, nonresidential uses may be permitted by the commission, provided the following conditions are complied with:

(1)    any nonresidential uses proposed in a PUD shall be limited to those designed and intended primarily for the use of the residents within the proposed development and planned as an integral part of that PUD. Evidence satisfactory to the commission shall be provided to show the intended use by the residents;

(2)    as a general guide, commercial uses will not normally be permitted in a PUD unless the project provides in excess of 300 dwelling units and such commercial uses are limited to no more than 2 percent of the gross land contained in the PUD. However, the commission may consider exceeding these limits where need is clearly demonstrated.

(Ord. 86-7, § 6, 1986; Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


Uses not identified in MSB 17.36.110 are prohibited. (Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)

17.36.130 DENSITY.

The basic dwelling unit per acre density of a planned unit development shall not exceed twice the density of developed residential lots in the local area as defined in MSB 17.36.040; except the density of dwelling units per acre may be increased by taking advantage of the bonus density allowances as provided in MSB 17.36.140.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


(A)    Bonus densities are intended to provide the incentive to encourage additional amenities or preserve valuable natural or cultural features;

(1)    Eligibility to obtain bonus density is based upon site plan review and hearing approval by the commission. Prior to its decision on a PUD application, the commission may request a review and a recommendation on a PUD from experts or professionals if it is deemed desirable.

(2)    The criteria contained herein, when in a PUD application, are considered to be in the public’s interest and worthy of a bonus density. Such bonus densities may be granted to an applicant if the PUD plan submitted is judged by the commission to have achieved any of the criteria contained herein.

(3)    The maximum bonus density allowed shall be limited to an additional 30 percent over the density allowed by this ordinance.

(B)    Public service and facility bonus conditions apply as follows:

(1)    ten one-hundredths unit per acre bonus if the circulation plan is such that the traffic generated by the project will put no substantial additional load on the surrounding local access street system;

(2)    five one-hundredths unit per acre bonus if the development provides a crime prevention plan, incorporating locks, dwelling unit lighting, street lighting, and alarms on windows and doors;

(3)    ten one-hundredths per acre bonus if the project is located within a portion of a school district identified as a preferred enrollment growth area, consistent with that district’s five-year planning objectives;

(4)    five one-hundredths unit per acre bonus if the development features a mix of housing types. Single residences, attached single units from duplexes to townhouses and apartments are examples of housing types. The mix need not include some of every type;

(5)    ten one-hundredths unit per acre bonus if the project features functionally distinct day care facilities sufficient to serve the probable demand for such services generated by the project;

(6)    five one-hundredths unit per acre bonus if the dwelling units are constructed in an energy sufficient manner utilizing southern orientation, solar energy systems, landscaping for windbreaks, and insulation levels higher than those contained within regional HUD standards;

(7)    five one-hundredths unit per acre bonus if the project plan provides for and assures a substantial retention of natural ground cover, bushes, or trees;

(8)    five one-hundredths unit per acre if on-site drainage control is accomplished using natural on-site drainage and drainage retention features or drainage and drainage retention facilities which are landscaped to resemble natural features;

(9)    five one-hundredths unit per acre bonus if each parking area is kept small (10 to 20 spaces in a group) and interspersed with landscaping, or provided under buildings;

(10)    five one-hundredths unit per acre bonus if provision is made for an internal bicycle and/or pedestrian system obviously separated from heavy auto traffic facilities;

(11)    five one-hundredths unit per acre bonus if provisions are made to aid the handicapped within the PUD.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)

17.36.150 MINIMUM AREA.

A minimum of two acres is necessary for approval of a PUD. This requirement shall not be waived by the planning commission.

(Ord. 86-7, § 7, 1986; Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


(A)    There shall be legal and physical public road access provided to all planned unit developments and to all separate structures within planned unit developments, except as allowed by subsection (B) of this section.

(B)    Upon finding that no practical means of providing road access to a proposed PUD exists and upon a showing that permanent public access by air, water or railroad is both practical and feasible. The planning commission may waive the requirements of subsection (A) of this section.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


Roads used for access and internal circulation shall be located entirely within legal rights-of-way. They shall meet borough design specifications as required in MSB title 16 and shall conform to the official streets and highways plan.

(Ord. 84-34, § 45, 1984)


(A)    Streets shall intersect at an angle as close to 90°, as feasible, and in no event at an angle less than 75°. Corner roundings with a 20-foot radius shall be required at intersections. Not more than two roads shall intersect at one point.

(B)    The distance between intersection center-lines shall not be less than 200 feet. Intersection roads shall have no horizontal curves within 100 feet of an intersection.

(C)    Intersection road grades shall not exceed 4 percent within 100 feet of an intersection with the through road. The through road grade shall not exceed 7 percent at the intersection.

(D)    Intersection sight distances are as follows:

(1)    Intersecting local roads shall have a minimum sight distance of 200 feet.

(2)    Collector roads shall have a minimum sight distance of 275 feet measured from the intersecting road’s centerline.

(3)    Arterial roads shall have a minimum sight distance of 415 feet measured from the intersecting road centerline.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


PUDs having 20 or more dwellings shall be provided with more than one point of access from a collector road to all lots or, alternatively, be provided only one point of access to a collector road if such access has a trafficway of at least 24 feet and meets collector road standards.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


(A)    No furthermost protruding portion of any structure, excluding eaves, shall be placed within 25 feet from the right-of-way line of any public right-of-way. This setback shall be known as the building line setback. MSB 17.36.210 shall govern setbacks along bodies of water.

(B)    No structure footing shall be located nearer than ten feet from any rear lot line.

(C)    The planning commission may require screening easement strips between planned unit developments and adjacent property or roads. If natural vegetation is used, the standard screening easement shall be 25 feet. If fencing is used, it will be constructed in a manner to provide visual screening of the PUD from immediately adjacent properties or roads.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


(A)    Except as provided in subsection (B) of this section, no structure or footing shall be located closer than 75 feet from the high water mark of a water-course or body of water.

(B)    Docks, piers, marinas, floodplain houses and boathouses may be located over the water provided they are not used for habitation and do not contain sanitary facilities. Structures permitted over water under this subsection shall conform to all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)

17.36.220 OPEN SPACE.

(A)    A minimum of 30 percent of the net area within the PUD will be reserved as common open space. The covenants or common interest community declaration, as appropriate, must address the maintenance and ownership responsibility for common open space.

(B)    Common open space must be suitably improved for its intended use, but common open space containing natural features worthy of preservation may be left unimproved. No more than one-half of the common open space gross area may have slopes exceeding 25 percent, or submerged, marshy or boggy land.

(C)    Common open space may not be put to any use not specified in the plan.

(Ord. 86-7, § 8, 1986: Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


(A)    Water and septic system design shall be approved by department of environmental conservation prior to the approval of the final plan and before construction may begin.

(B)    The design of the system will be certified as adequate in accordance with MSB 17.36.090.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


(A)    A minimum of two off-road parking spaces per unit will be provided.

(B)    PUDs containing ten or more dwelling units will provide a fenced area for storage of recreational vehicles and boats.

(C)    Parking will be provided for visitors.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)



(A)    Prior to submitting an application for approval of a planned unit development, the applicant shall confer with the planning department. The applicant is required to submit a non-refundable filing fee as established by the assembly and a concept plan containing the following information:

(1)    location and size of the project and all structures;

(2)    landscaping and buffering areas;

(3)    utility layouts including sewer, water, gas, electric and telephone;

(4)    parking for cars and recreational vehicles;

(5)    locations and development of open space;

(6)    vehicular circulation and traffic patterns;

(7)    name of the planned unit development and the name and address of the developer;

(8)    existing topography and soils information;

(9)    scale, north arrow, date and general location map and signature of professional who prepared the plan.

(B)    The applicant shall also submit a site conditions map drawn to the same scale as the concept plan showing the location of the existing property lines both for private property and for public property, existing contours shown at a contour interval of two feet, streets, buildings, watercourses, transmission lines, sewers, bridges, culverts and drainpipes, water mains, public utility easements, wooded areas, streams, lakes, marshes and other physical conditions affecting the area.

(Ord. 86-47, § 11, 1986; Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


Concept plans shall be submitted to the planning department a minimum of 45 days prior to the planning commission review. The planning director may waive the 45-day period. Any conditions attached to the concept plan during application review by the planning department shall be included along with the statements of the technical review agencies.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


(A)    After the planned unit development has received application approval by the planning department, the applicant shall be informed which agencies shall receive copies of the concept plan. The planning department shall be responsible for submitting the concept plan to the appropriate agencies and the burden is upon the applicant to do enough planning to enable the various agencies to make adequate comment. The agencies may be any or all of the following:

(1)    Alaska Division of Lands;

(2)    ADL; Water Resource Section;

(3)    Alaska Division of Aviation;

(4)    Alaska Railroad;

(5)    Department of Environmental Conservation;

(6)    Federal Aviation Administration;

(7)    Alaska Department of Fish and Game;

(8)    public utility companies serving the area;

(9)    if within city boundaries, the city;

(10)    U.S. Corps of Engineers;

(11)    other agencies that may be deemed appropriate.

(B)    The agencies shall be requested to transmit their comments to the planning department within 30 days. All comments received shall be considered by the planning commission in establishing conditions of approval.

(Ord. 86-7, § 9, 1986; Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


The planning commission will review and approve as submitted, approve with conditions, return for redesign or deny the concept plan application within 30 days of the public hearing. If the plan is approved with conditions, the applicant shall submit plans meeting the conditions to the planning department within 30 days of such approval. If the planning commission elects to deny or return for redesign the concept plan application, it must state the specific reasons for such denial.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


It is not intended that the planned unit development concept plan so approved shall be inflexibly applied, but rather the planned unit development should be in conformance with the concept plan, subject to modification due to changed economic, social or demographic conditions.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


When unforeseen circumstances occur during the site development which may result in minor shifts, extensions, alterations or modifications to buildings or structures, such may be authorized by the planning director if they are consistent with the purposes and intent of the final development plan and the subdivision regulations.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


(A)    The requirements for a final development plan shall be the same as those items required for final plat approval, as set forth in MSB 43.15.025, 43.15.049, 43.15.051, 43.15.052, 43.15.053, 43.15.054 and 43.15.055, to the extent that these sections are not inconsistent with this chapter. In addition, the final shall meet all requirements of zoning if applicable, A.S. title 34.09 (Horiz. Reg. Act), or other state statutes as may be applicable or adopted, or borough ordinances and/or criteria established (except as permitted under concept plan approval).

(B)    The following data and information is required in addition to the material submitted under the concept plan:

(1)    statistical information and a detailed statement of objectives indicating the following:

(a)    total acreage of the site;

(b)    maximum building coverage expressed as a percentage of the site area;

(c)    the type of buildings and/or dwellings to be constructed;

(d)    the calculated density for the project by land use category;

(e)    the disposition of open space to be provided, including the area of land devoted to landscaping and/or open space usable for recreational purposes expressed as a percent of the total site area;

(2)    a final development plan or plans shall be drawn to the same scale as the site conditions map, showing:

(a)    the boundaries of the site, topography and proposed grading plan showing limits of clearing;

(b)    the width, location, typical sections and names of proposed streets;

(c)    the use, size, location and height of all proposed buildings and other structures;

(d)    the off-street parking and loading plan;

(e)    provisions for the control of signs, including size, shape and appearance;

(f)    landscaping plan showing the open land in natural and/or revegetated condition;

(g)    provisions for public facilities where applicable, such as garbage collection, storage areas, fire hydrants, pedestrian ways, school bus stops and recreation areas;

(h)    utility service plan, where utilities are involved, showing:

(i)    existing drainage and sewer lines;

(ii)    the disposition of sanitary wastewater and stormwater, and snow removal;

(iii)    the source of potable water;

(iv)    the location and width of all utility easements or rights-of-way;

(i)    Development schedule containing the following information:

(i)    the order of construction of the proposed stages delineated in the final development plan;

(ii)    the proposed date for the beginning of construction on said stages and approximate date of completion;

(iii)    the proposed schedule for the construction and improvement of common open space within said stages, including any complementary buildings.

(j)    arrangement of guarantee for financing the construction of public and recreational facilities and other amenities subsequent to the first stage of development;

(k)    the width, location and names of surrounding streets and surrounding land use

(l)    a circulation diagram showing vehicular and pedestrian movements, including any special engineering features and traffic regulation devices needed;

(m)    drawings showing the general architectural themes of representative building types, including floor plans and elevations;

(n)    the location and size of common open spaces and public or quasi-public areas;

(o)    definitive covenants, grants, easements, dedications and restrictions to be imposed on the land, buildings and structures, including proposed easements for public utilities and instruments relating to the use and maintenance of common open spaces and private streets. Such instruments shall give consideration to access requirements of vehicles for maintenance purposes

(p)    association or nonprofit corporation. If the applicant elects this method of administering common open space, the proposed bylaws of the association or the certificate of incorporation shall be submitted to the planning commission for their files.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


It is intended that final plans be approved, provided they are in substantial compliance with the concept plan.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


(A)    Whenever any act is done contrary to the provisions of this chapter, the manager or the manager’s authorized representative may issue an enforcement order by affixing it to the property or building where the unlawful use or activity is in progress. When any order is placed upon any parcel or job site, all uses or activities contrary to the order shall immediately cease and may not continue until the order is removed and continuation is authorized by the manager.

(1)    Failure to comply with an enforcement order is a separate offense from the act or omission causing the enforcement order and is punishable by a fine of not more than $500, or by imprisonment for a maximum of 30 days, or both together with the costs of prosecution.

(2)    The issuance of an enforcement order does not waive the borough’s right to take other enforcement action available to it by law.

(B)    Civil remedies. If there is a violation of the terms of this chapter or of any regulation, condition or safeguard adopted in accordance therewith, any public body or any person aggrieved may institute or cause to be instituted any appropriate criminal civil action or proceeding to prevent, enjoin, abate remove or punish such violations, and to recover any money damages incurred. In addition to injunctive relief, each violation shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $500. An action to enjoin the violation of this chapter may be brought notwithstanding the availability of any other remedy. Upon application for injunctive relief and a finding of an existing or threatened violation, the superior court shall grant injunctive relief to restrain the violation. Each unlawful act or condition and every day such unlawful act or condition occurs shall constitute a separate violation.

(C)    Criminal penalties. Every act prohibited by this chapter or its amendments is unlawful. Every person convicted of a violation of any provision of this chapter or any rule or regulation adopted or issued in pursuance thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment for 30 days, together with costs of prosecution. Each act of violation and every day upon which such violation shall occur shall constitute a separate offense.

(Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)


Appeals from the actions of the planning commission will be filed and conducted in accordance with MSB 15.39.

(IM 96-013, page 1 (part), presented 3-19-96; Ord. 83-81, § 2 (part), 1983)