City debates solutions to nuisance properties in Fairbanks during City Council work session

The draft ordinance regarding nuisance properties will continue to be edited until it is ready to officially come before the council for a vote. (Amanda Hanson/KTVF)

Progress is being made at tackling Fairbanks’ nuisance properties. During Monday’s City Council work session, the council, along with Mayor Jim Matherly, City Chief of Staff Mike Meeks and City Attorney Paul Ewers debated a draft ordinance.

The draft contains definitions for nuisance properties, including properties on which “nuisance activities” have occurred. Nuisance activities, also defined in the draft, include a host of illegal activities, and/or activities which threaten public safety.

Much of the debate focused around the extent to which the city had authority over the property of others, as well as consequences which could be imposed on the owners of such properties. The ordinance is grounded in an Alaska statue which provides that “municipalities may impose a fee on the owners of residential property for excessive police responses to the property”, and that, “excessive police responses to a particular property constitutes a misuse of the limited law enforcement resources available to the City.”

One of the solutions debated during the work session would involve imposing registration fees on the owner of an abandoned property which would increase over a period of time. Failure to pay the fee would ultimately result in a lien being put against a piece of property.

Meeks expressed during the meeting that he would like to begin publicizing the issue in order to assess sentiment regarding the ordinance.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.