Planners select structures for demolition or fix-up
After motoring around the neighborhoods surveying ramshackle structures, Nome’s planners have drawn up a slate of three properties they have reported to Tom Moran, city manager, for the City’s demolition or fix-up process.
Three structures—burned out apartments, a derelict, and an ancient hut reportedly used by Leonard Seppala—stand on the west side of town. The fourth building stands without a roof on East Front Street, straining the rain through its rafters.
Safety inspectors—chief of police, fire chief, and building inspector—have listed a page of properties they deem safety or health hazards or public nuisances.
After viewing them and discussing them, members of the Nome Planning Commission came up with the following addresses as most appropriate for the abatement process: 604 East Front St., owned by James D. West; 511 and 512 West First and Second St., owned by Donald Johnson; 207 Bering Street (“Seppala House”), owned by Krier Investments, Inc.; and 407 and 411 Lomen Ave., owned by Gladys West. The small blue house at 207 Bering St. is associated in local lore with Leonhard Seppala, a Norwegian dog musher who played a pivotal part in the 1925 serum run to Nome during a diphtheria outbreak.
City law gives the Nome Common Council the authority to order the abatement of unsafe structures after the City has performed certain notice and public hearing timelines.
The Council approved the list at its Dec. 11 regular meeting and authorized City Clerk Bryant Hammond to begin abatement proceedings.
The Nome Planning Commission has been working all along to clear sites for sore eyes. Commissioners hopped in a van during three work sessions for a windshield survey of hazardous structures in order to prioritize the ones needing remedies. They will be forwarding additional lists to the City to guide the Council by prioritizing the structures that need to be updated or torn down and hauled away.
Planners reduced a long list made in 2003 to 35 properties after knocking off errors, properties already abated or fixed up, or deemed secure after all. Councilman Stan Andersen suggested that the City send all owners on the list a preliminary letter before the official notification alerting them the City was cranking up to deal with their structures.