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Nome Property on Abatement List Gets a Later Deadline for Renovation

Nome City Council Chambers. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.
Nome City Council Chambers. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.

After months on the city’s abatement list, 604 East Front Street in Nome has been granted another extension.

The property has been a constant matter of citizen concern after it was neither renovated nor torn down by its July 1st deadline. On Monday night, the Council heard a re-hearing on the Nuisance Abatement of 604 East Front Street. In July, the building was inspected by a building inspector from Fairbanks who left a report of required changes for the property. The owner, Jim West, Jr., was granted a building permit on Friday (Aug. 10) and spoke up at the meeting for the changes he has made on the property and what he plans to do.

“The door is secure. And all the debris has been removed from the property. All the debris inside the building has been cleaned, so now, I have eliminated the nuisance hazard and also eliminated the health hazard, which specifically state in your ordinance that those are the items that deal with abatements.”

But, his changes haven’t been satisfactory to everyone. According to City Manager Tom Moran, West has made “only three out of the eight of the changes recommended by the building inspector.” There is still mosquito netting over the windows and a roof that may be insecure. Nome resident and West’s neighbor Dave Ciski has said in multiple meetings that the condition of this property has affected his own adjacent property. Ciski again addressed the council last night.

“The Council’s abatement order will be meaningless if Mr. West is allowed to continue to game the system and avoid proper action being taken.”

The Council did vote to give the property an extension of October 15. West is expected to make the changes required by the building inspector, and in October, the property will be re-inspected. Because West has a building permit, the City is legally allowed to do an inspection.

The City will soon be deciding a list of properties up for abatement for the next year. Of the four properties put up for abatement this past year, only one was torn down. Multiple members of the Council expressed concern that perhaps the current requirements for abatement are not clear enough to be effective. Here’s Councilman Anderson:

“This whole abatement process… We have to go back to square one and do something, because it’s not working.”

In other business, the Council heard a reading for an ordinance to Retain Lot 49, Block 57 for Public Purpose. Currently, the City is only allowed to use this property for public use, which could include a park, a garage, or housing for city employees. The second reading for an Ordinance to amend the School Budget Approval of the Nome Code of Ordinances passed.

Charlie Lean was reappointed to Museum/Library Commission Seat E.

There will be another City Council meeting on August 27.

Image at top: Nome City Council Chambers. File photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.

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