After months of discussions, an ordinance relating to code enforcement is expected to be introduced at the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly meeting on Thursday.
The ordinance, discussed by the assembly during numerous work sessions in recent months, includes a Uniform Table of Minor Offenses, or UMOT. Without it, the borough cannot levy fines for code violations, which include improper trash disposal, abandoning junk vehicles and parking in the borough right-of-way.
During an assembly work session held Jan. 30, assembly members discussed last-minute additions to the ordinance relating to proper snow removal, in light of recent challenges posed by record-breaking snowstorms in Kodiak.
Assembly Member Scott Arndt said that vehicles parking in the right-of-way made clearing roads effectively “a nightmare.”
If the ordinance passes as written, borough officials will have the authority to tow vehicles without notifying vehicle owners or seeking their approval “during declared natural disasters, extreme weather events or when a vehicle is impeding necessary public services, where immediate action by the borough or service district is required in order to maintain operability of the street or improved right-of-way.”
In addition to language addressing parking in the right-of-way, assembly members tasked borough staff with adding a section to the ordinance that would prohibit pushing snow and other debris into the right-of-way, defined as the street, sidewalk and ditches. With this prohibition in place, residents will be required to move snow from their driveway onto other parts of their property, rather than the street.
“It needs to be addressed. It’s become very dangerous these last few days,” said Assembly Member Dennis Symmons.
Arndt said that if a section on proper snow and debris removal is not included, it would be “a killer on the ordinance,” noting that he would not vote for the code enforcement ordinance unless it addressed this specific issue.
The most recent version of the ordinance also includes language addressing proper disposal of dead animals, defined as carcasses from animals, except parts used for food or other beneficial purposes. According to the ordinance, it will be prohibited to place dead animals in roll carts, but placing them in dumpsters will remain permitted.
Dead animals will also be accepted at the dump site. However, Borough Director of Engineering and Facilities Dave Conrad said that the borough will have to develop special regulations for disposal of euthanized animals because in the past, eagles have died after consuming euthanized animals.
The code enforcement ordinance is scheduled for introduction at the upcoming borough assembly meeting, to be held on Feb. 6. If passed by an assembly vote, the ordinance will be scheduled for a public hearing and be voted on during the following borough regular meeting, scheduled for Feb. 20.
The ordinance also includes a fine schedule for code violations. Fines range from $28 to $1,000, depending on the severity of the offense and the number of previous citations issued.
For solid waste storage and set-out, fines range from $50 for the first offense to $1,000 for fourth and subsequent offenses. The topic has stirred lively community discussion after three bears were shot dead by law enforcement at the Selief dumpster due to poor waste disposal.
Many community members have stated on social media that they intend to attend the upcoming assembly meeting to voice their concern about bear issues and their relation to code enforcement. Some have asked for parts of the borough’s new solid waste contract with Alaska Waste to be implemented before July 1, the contract’s official starting date.
The new contract stipulates that borough homes with roll cart service will be equipped with bear-proof roll carts. Conrad said last week that the bear-proof roll carts have not yet been manufactured. The borough expects to receive the roll carts in late April and will deploy them soon after they arrive on the island.
Roll carts will be removed from streets with high bear activity, including Selief Lane. Approximately 200 homes will transition from curbside roll cart service to garbage drop box service as part of the new contract. Transition from roll carts to drop boxes is expected around June 1.