780 AM | 96.1 FM | “Yours for Western Alaska”

City Council Saves Anchor from Abatement, Considers Small-Bottle Liquor Ban

Businesses on Nome's Front Street, including the Anchor Tavern, Husky, Golden China, and Maruskiya's gift shop.

The Nome City Council held a public hearing work session on Monday night, allowing citizens to argue for their properties to be taken off the abatement list. For the five properties on the list, only one person showed up to verbally defend his property’s removal from the list.

Mark Sackett, the owner of the property 245 A,B Front St., also formerly known as The Anchor, stated that he’s been correcting some construction problems from a year and a half ago on the property. He says this year will be the year it gets finished, even though Mayor Richard Beneville questioned his construction plans.

Sackett said, “I’m almost done with what’s going on with Soap ‘n’ Suds. We’ve got just a few more days, then I can dig it (245 A,B Front St.) right back out, like we did before, and put in the 8-by-8 stanchions… I’m going to fix that.”

Earl Merchant III also spoke during the work session, but only to condemn his Cherry Way property and allow it to remain on the abatement list.

During the regularly scheduled meeting, the Council unanimously passed an amended resolution that removed Sackett’s property from the abatement list and deemed the remaining four properties as fire hazards, health hazards, or public nuisances that can be demolished if needed.

In other city council business last night, the regularly scheduled meeting focused on marijuana and hard liquor. One resolution on the agenda authorized the City Clerk, Bryant Hammond, to submit a formal protest regarding commercial marijuana license applications to the State of Alaska alcohol and marijuana control office.

City Manager Tom Moran explains the director of the State alcohol and marijuana control board, Cynthia Franklin, asked the City to follow up on an anonymous complaint that a commercial marijuana property is too close to the Checkpoint Youth Center.

“We’re not trying to stifle industry, and I told her specifically when we reported the anonymous complaint that this was not a formal complaint on behalf of the city, and she said, ‘I would appreciate it if you as the local advisory board committee would file a formal one,’ ” Moran recounted.

According to the City Manager, there are two applications for growing marijuana currently pending with the City.

A resolution that was not on the docket centered on prohibiting the sale of hard liquor in amounts of 750ml or less. Several people spoke about this issue during the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting, including Tim Brown of the Alaska Commercial Company store in Nome, who spoke for himself as a community member.

Brown says he’s on the front lines, and he feels prohibiting any of the small containers won’t address the real problem. “I don’t really feel that small bottles is the issue, it’s drinking, period,” he said.

But for the record, Mayor Beneville asked Brown about the AC store’s alcohol sales in Nome. Brown replied, “I sell more fifths and liters than I do pints.”

Based on the Council’s general agreement on this issue, a resolution could be drafted for a first reading by the next city council meeting. That meeting will be held at City Hall on September 12th since City offices will be closed for Labor Day on September 5th.

Abatement, commercial marijuana, and the sale of hard alcohol were topics of discussion Monday evening in City Hall Chambers. Photo credit: Davis Hovey, KNOM (2016)

Abatement, commercial marijuana, and the sale of hard alcohol were topics of discussion Monday evening in City Hall Chambers. Photo credit: Davis Hovey, KNOM (2016)