ANCHORAGE -

In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the Anchorage Assembly granted a parcel of city land for use as a parking lot across the street from the Rustic Goat restaurant in Turnagain.

The popular restaurant has been plagued with parking problems since it opened in February. Traffic issues have led to increased tension among neighbors since the eatery opened.

The solution favored by the restaurant and the city is to employ the empty land across the street, which hasn’t been used in over 20 years, as a parking lot.

That issue was up for debate Tuesday night.

“I just don’t understand the Anchorage Assembly supporting a business at the expense of public property,” said Turnagain resident Pat Lants Tuesday night.

Many spoke up concerned about public safety.

“I believe the construction of this lot will encourage people to jay-walk across Turnagain Street near a busy intersection and will result in many serious accidents,” said concerned neighbor Jimmy Froehlich.

“People aren’t going to jay-walk in that area and in fact, as shown in maps, they are like to use the sidewalks,” said one neighbor at the public hearing, a supporter of the lot being turned into a parking lot.

Rustic Goat's co-owner, Tim Gravel, admits that he knew parking would be an issue from day one.

“When we opened the doors, we saw a problem -- and the very next day I was at the city, at the Traffic Department, saying, 'What can I do?'” Gravel said to the Assembly.

Gravel vows to do everything he can to prevent any safety hazards and alleviate any parking problem.

After more than an hour of public testimony and debate Tuesday night, Gravel will have the opportunity and a new lot to prove that.

The Rustic Goat is now responsible for construction of the parking lot. The restaurant will lease the property for $8,000 a year, money which will go directly back to the municipality.