Council to limit junk motor vehicles to Industrial Districts

The Nome Common Council continued its determination to rid the town of junk motor vehicles. To this end, the panel introduced two measures dealing with vehicles gone far down the road past having new car smell.
At its regular meeting on Aug. 28, the Council asked that the definition of a junk motor vehicle be relaxed in two sections of City law to specify “passenger” vehicle or “uninsured” and unregistered vehicle that remains uninsured and unregistered for 30 days. The change would affect Title 5, Buildings and Construction, and Title 18, Zoning Code.
Otherwise, the definition takes in discarded, dismantled, wrecked, scrapped or mined passenger motor vehicle or parts thereof, an unregistered motor home not connected to water and sewer, or a vehicle other than on-premises utility vehicle, which is allowed to remain unregistered and uninsured for a period of 30 days from discovery.
A vehicle can be saved from the designation of “junk” by its owner registering and insuring it. If it is not registered or insured, the vehicle is automatically junk, according to discussion at the meeting.
“Sometimes these things are painful,” Mayor Richard Beneville observed.
Next, the Council introduced into first reading, an ordinance amending the zone law to storage of junk motor vehicles illegal in all districts except the Industrial District, effective Nov. 1.The amending ordinance also amends Nome’s Minor Offense Fine Schedule for violation of the Matrix of Permitted and Conditional uses. This means, if one leaves a junk motor vehicle that is unregistered and uninsured in any district but Industrial District the following fines will be levied: $50 for the first offense, $75 for the second offense and $300 for the third and subsequent offenses.
The Nome Planning Commission hashed over a solution to the vehicles in the interest of public safety and quality of life during meetings in May, June and July. The Commission advertised and held a public hearing on the junker issue on July followed by passage of a resolution handed off to the Council that limited storing junk motor vehicles to the Industrial District.
The two measures will move ahead to the next regular council meeting for public hearing and a vote for final passage.

In other business, the Council:
• Discussed and then postponed a vote on amending the 2008 zone law to change some of the land uses on the Nome Zoning Map pending additional information and clearly rendered maps of the areas affected. Denise and Terry Michels, owners of Ft. Davis Roadhouse, sent the Council a letter objecting to changing land use surrounding the property from General Use District to Resource Development District, as mining activity would disturb tenants who were day sleepers.
• Authorized the City to buy property from the Kenai Masonic Lodge of Alaska for $20,000. The land adjoins Nome Cemetery and will allow expansion of burial grounds. Councilman Louis Green Sr. wondered whether any attempt had been made to negotiate for a lower price. Several months ago, the Council directed City administration to seek, and they did receive, a lower price for land purchased for use as the community softball fields. Council Stanley Andersen voiced an opinion that at $20,000 the land was a good deal because it would have room for an additional 70 graves and put off spending a greater amount of money for additional land to expand the cemetery.
• Received a big ‘thank you’ from Bering Sea Women’s Group for $10,000 in funding provided by the Council from the NSEDC Community Benefit Share Program. The BSWG provides shelter as well as crisis intervention, advocacy, and support for victims of domestic violence and or sexual assault and their children.
• Received a copy of a letter the Council directed Tom Moran, city manager, to write to state Dept. of Transportation and Public Facilities seeking a lower speed limit on Greg Kruschek Avenue, sparked by a request from citizen Wade Harrison, who is an officer with Nome Police Dept. The City has posted a 30 mph speed limit, unenforceable as the road is state-owned with a higher speed limit. Councilman Stanley Andersen suggested the City could install a couple of speed bumps.

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