Is a Community Land Trust right for Girdwood?

This post is meant to create dialogue regarding a possible Community Land Trust (CLT). And for the public to provide comment below.

Question: What is a community land trust?

Answer: A community land trust is a nonprofit corporation that develops and stewards affordable housing, community gardens, civic buildings, commercial spaces and other community assets on behalf of a community.

In short, Heritage Land Bank, holds somewhere near 5,000 acres of land surrounding Girdwood. This is public land and some of it may be available for development to meet the citizens and residents needs. By comparison, all Girdwood homeowners share 300 acres of land collectively. A theoretical Girdwood Community Land Trust would apply to HLB for land to be transferred to a local Girdwood entity, and developed in a way that the community sees fit. This could include affordable housing, alongside parks, dedicated trails, greenhouses, etc.

This entity could begin with 1 acre or 10. There is likely not a need for thousands of acres, unless the land is being designated for permanent conservation. A question as to what residents think would be a reasonable amount of acreage to request will be included in the form below.

Private land is scarce and expensive in Girdwood. Our eclectic little town is appealing to many, and it’s personality and charm continues to win over locals and tourists alike. To create a sustainable community however, we need to make sure the people who make Girdwood run, can have an opportunity to make it a permanent home and a place to call their own.

A rent-to-own situation would be an ideal way for Girdwood lovers to beginning gaining equity and make it possible to stay for longer than a season. Examples of rent-to-own through Cook Inlet Housing Authority can be found in Anchorage. To be clear, there is no magic bullet to make Girdwood’s housing issues disappear, but this could be a step in the right direction. Most, if not all communities struggle in some way to meet their housing needs. CLT research culminated after hearing the results presented at the Girdwood Area Plan Update Committee / Imagine Girdwood presentation. The things which residents said they were interested in having, such as a future recreation center, fit nicely into a CLT, in addition to solving some other wants and needs.

A CLT can do “Deed Restrictions.” That means they can place rules onto the property via the Deed of Trust. These rules could include “no short term rentals” or “must be primary residence.” These restrictions would be voted upon by the CLT board, which again is 2/3rds locally controlled.

Question: Who would run the CLT?

Answer: It could be you! The structure of the board is the primary component that sets apart a CLT. Also know as a tripartite board, a CLT is comprised of 1/3 residents living on the land, 1/3 is made of surrounding community members (Girdwood at large), 1/3 is made of Government Officials or local non-profit leaders. If you want to be engaged, please fill out the form below.

CLT Board Structure

This concept has been primarily discussed at Housing Committee as a potential tool. In November, it was the primary presentation topic of the meeting. Out of 20 participants, the CLT received 18 letters of support from those in attendance. And more have been collected since that time. A CLT introduction has also been presented at Girdwood Alliance board meetings and Imagine! Girdwood (GAP). The Executive Director for Girdwood Alliance has been learning and sharing how other communities nationwide have utilized CLTs, usually in partnership with local governments and land banks.

If you want to learn more, there are lots of resources and videos listed below. If you have concerns or questions on this topic, please include them by submitting the form below.

If you think this is an interesting idea and want to voice your support, participate on the CLT board or ask a question, please fill out the CLT Form below. Each one matters and your time is appreciated in doing so.

Thank you for taking the time to read, submit your form and participate at a local level!

Here are some CLT learning videos, arranged by how much time you have available! Some individuals will only require short and sweet, while others will want to dive into the deeper longer discussions below. Don’t feel obligated to review all these, just tools for those who want them.

2 Minutes:

Explanation of CLT:

5 Minutes:

15 Minutes:

15 Minutes:

Place Based Economy- Food co-op plus CLT

30 Minutes: (very good and helpful!)

1 Hour:

Great over view by lawyer and Board Member of Toronto CLT, some technical issues but good info. Audio begins at 50 seconds:


Freddie Mac CLT Program – 3 Minutes

City of Lakewood: Utilize CDBG & HUD Home – 3 Minutes

Additional References: 

CLT Information Resource:

How to start: