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For Now, Nome’s Junked Cars to Remain Where They Lay, City Council Decides

A close-up view of two adjacent junked cars in Nome, Alaska

Nome’s City Council is holding off on scrapping junk motor vehicles, at least for now.

During last night’s City Council meeting, the one piece of unfinished business on the agenda was an ordinance to prohibit storing junk motor vehicles in any zoning district except for the Industrial District.

Planning Commissioner and citizen Sara Lizak assured the Council that the Planning Commission spent many hours discussing almost every facet of the proposed ordinance.

“This was one of the number-one issues that people had when they took our survey about code violations in our community: all the junk vehicles around. The public is upset about this issue; it devalues property. If you are the neighbor of someone who is collecting junk vehicles and you want to sell your house, then you won’t be able to sell it for as much as you otherwise would, most likely. It really impacts our quality of life.”

The Council felt there were still issues, such as how to enforce the ordinance, that had not been fully addressed. Councilman Gerald Brown questioned City Manager Moran before suggesting an amendment to allow the Council more time regarding the junk motor vehicle ordinance.

Brown: “Does it have to be a specific date, or can it be contingent on another event? Like, could we say it becomes effective thirty days after something else happens?” Moran: “I think that would be the way to do it, is that this ordinance will become effective thirty days after the codification of fines, associated herewith or something… I think that would be your way.” Brown: “Then, that’s my motion!”

After two separate votes to amend the ordinance, one to allow the Council more time and one to change the language of the ordinance, the motion was ultimately tabled until September 25th. Councilman Tom Sparks was the only one opposed.

In other business, the Council extended its contracts with two City employees. City Manager Tom Moran will continue in his role for another year and will receive an annual rate of $100,000 and a signing bonus of three percent or three thousand dollars, whichever is less.

City Clerk Bryant Hammond is staying on as Clerk while also taking on the duties of City Treasurer.

All other resolutions on the agenda passed, including the approval of two Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation loans, allowing NJUS to improve the City’s water and sewer infrastructure.

The City Council is scheduled to meet again on September 11th at 7:00pm for their next regular meeting.

Image at top: Two junked cars sitting on the landscape near Nome, Alaska. Photo: David Dodman, used with permission.