February 11, 2011 • Vol. XXXIV, No. 2
Live Action Model
As a Skagway snow sculpting crew was working on its “Alaska Stories” entry in Breckinridge, a Colorado resident got his dog to pose in front of the “White Fang” side of the sculpture, which shows a wolf dog emerging from the Jack London book. See story and more photos below in our Snow Sculpting Arts Feature.
Photo by Bruce Schlinder
Unanimous against secondhand smoke; Assembly passes law to protect employees
By JEFF BRADY
The Skagway Borough Assembly on Jan. 20 voted unanimously to pass a secondhand smoke control ordinance that will ban smoking indoors where people are employed.
The ordinance becomes law 90 days after passage. The assembly rejected 5-1 a motion to take the ordinance to a public vote in May. However it did pass an amendment to allow smoking in a single employee worksite that is not normally open to the public.
Compared to earlier meetings on the issue, there wasn’t as much testimony, and all but one person who spoke supported the ordinance.
“The community would benefit from it,” said Ken Russo, adding that if it were applied “across the board,” then businesses would not suffer.
But Mavis Irene Henricksen was opposed to the ordinance in its current form. She said that even though she knew cigarettes killed her husband, she felt the assembly should give affected businesses the opportunity to have a smoking room on premises.
“It’s downright un-American to not give them an option,” Henricksen said.
However, five others said they supported the ordinance and thanked the assembly for moving it forward.
“It’s an appropriate action for government to protect employees,” said Jan Wrentmore.
Tim Bourcy said he used to work in a bar that allowed smoking. “I was not a smoker, but I was smoking because I was breathing it,” he said, adding that the new law should apply to everyone.
When the issue turned to the assembly table, member Tim Cochran moved to amend the ordinance to have it placed on the May 10 special bonding election ballot.
“I do support it, but I want to give the people the chance to weigh in,” he said.
But ordinance sponsor Colette Hisman opposed the move to put it on the ballot, saying it could delay enactment of the law until August.
“It’s a health issue that can’t wait,” she said. “It’s something to protect all employees in Skagway who are subject to smoke on a daily basis.”
Only Cochran supported the amendment to take the issue to the voters.
Then assemblyman Dave Hunz moved to amend the ordinance so it does not apply to single person work sites. Assemblyman Paul Reichert said the suggestion had been brought up during committee meetings to allow smoking in work places such as a home where there is one employee and the public never comes to them. Hunz said the exemption also would apply to a single person working on a piece of equipment. This amendment passed on a 4-2 vote (Dan Henry and Mike Korsmo voted no).
With this amendment passing, Hunz then announced that he would support passage of the ordinance. He had voted against it during its first reading on Jan. 6.
“I got the changes I wanted,” he said, “But it is still a loss of the people’s right to make choices.”
After the unanimous vote, Mayor Tom Cochran closed the issue with this statement: “I smoke two packs a day and my mother-in-law just died from it, so I’m not going to comment on it.”
The issue may not be over.
One of the earlier opponents of the ordinance, Michelle Carlson, the bar manager at the Eagles Club, was away on vacation during both first and second reading of the ordinance. She was back in town for the assembly’s Feb. 3 meeting and said she felt “extremely misrepresented” by the assembly’s action. She said that at the committee meetings in December, they sought some middle ground and also wanted a public vote.
Now, she said, they would be starting a petition to “put it to a public vote.”
Former Skagway customs officer killed in Afghanistan
By JEFF BRADY
The war in Afghanistan hit home in Skagway this week.
David Hillman, a former supervisory customs officer at the Skagway Port of Entry, was killed Feb. 7 when a suicide bomber penetrated a customs warehouse in Kandahar.
Hillman, who had retired two years ago from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, was working as a contractor teaching Afghani customs officers in a government warehouse where imported goods are cleared. He was the only person killed in the attack, which may have targeted nearby NATO soldiers, according to the Associated Press.
Three other retired customs personnel working in the building were also injured, as well as two soldiers. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
CBP officers in Skagway learned of the news of the death of their fellow co-worker and friend on Tuesday.
In a statement, they said Hillman had a 38-year career with U.S. Customs at various spots in the U.S. and Canada. He first worked in Alaska years ago in Fairbanks and at the Alcan border station on the Alaska Highway. He returned to the state in 2007 and 2008 to work at the border station on the Klondike Highway outside Skagway. He lived in one of the government-owned duplexes in town at Second and State.
“While in Skagway, and off duty, he loved to sit on a bench across from the Red Onion, smoke one of his big cigars, and ‘people watch,’” the statement said. “He loved Skagway and the Yukon and will be sorely missed.”
Hillman retired in 2009 after finishing his career as CBP port director at the Halifax International Airport in Nova Scotia, Canada.
In a statement, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she was saddened by the news.
“The entire DHS family expresses our deepest sympathies to Mr. Hillman’s family and friends, as well as all those affected by this terrible act—including retired CBP personnel Michael Lachowsky, Terry Sherrill, and Vernon Rinus, who were injured in this attack.”
Hillman leaves a wife and two sons in Florida.
Public gets look at draft tidelands lease; one more review before negotiations begin with White Pass
By JEFF BRADY
The public was given an opportunity to view a draft of a proposed new tidelands lease with White Pass this week, the first of what could be a series of public meetings on a document that will shape Skagway’s economic future.
The draft, once finalized, will serve as a response to a proposal from White Pass to extend the current 55-year lease from 1968-69. The municipality, in the most current draft, will propose that, rather than extend the current 70-acre lease from its end date in March 2018, a new 30-year lease will begin in 2011, and with new boundaries.
During a Borough Assembly work session with the Port Commission on Feb. 8, Mayor Tom Cochran said that two key elements were still being worked on: a legal description of the property, and how rent will be calculated. Once those are nailed down, the proposed lease will be sent to White Pass and “negotiations would start in earnest,” he said.
The assembly has held executive sessions at various meetings over the past two months to give direction to Municipal Attorney Bob Blasco. One of those directives, announced Jan. 10, was to draw a line south from First Avenue that would bisect the current lease down the middle of the ore basin. Everything west of that line would revert to municipal control, while east of that line would remain leased to White Pass.
“We want control of everything west,” Cochran said.
The municipality would get the Ore Dock and grounds for its Gateway Project, and White Pass would keep the Broadway Dock. Gov. Sean Parnell’s budget has $10 million for improvements to a “Skagway City Dock.” He said White Pass is aware of the borough’s need for “site control” and wants the municipality to get the money.
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, a sublessee which owns the ore terminal building, wants an extended lease so it may seek bonding for expansion to accommodate the Minto and Selwyn mines and other potential customers.
Cochran said they still have to deal with the current lease.
Currently White Pass pays an annual rent of 6 percent of the appraised value of the 70 acres. The municipality is looking at a base rent increase, an adjusted rent based on revenue sharing, or some combination of the two. They are currently reviewing gross revenues from the facilities to come up with a formula, but the mayor cautioned that they have to be careful. If the additional revenue was viewed by the state as a head tax, then the municipality could lose annual revenue from the state’s cruise excise tax.
When asked by resident Candace Wallace if there would be another chance to see the final draft before negotiations begin, Cochran suggested another work session. He said a draft would be made available about a week in advance of the meeting, and there would be a public comment period as well as public testimony taken at the meeting.
Cochran also said they would bring back any altered negotiated agreement with White Pass back to the public for review. But he said it would be up to the assembly to make the final decisions.
The negotiating team will consist of Mayor Cochran, Assemblywoman Colette Hisman, Port Commission Chair John Tronrud, Municipal Attorney Blasco, and consultant James Van Altvorst.
In the meantime, the borough will be contacting White Pass to use $50,000 in an escrow account from a previous estoppel agreement to commence an “environmental baseline study” of the property.
Selwyn pitches to Skagway, looking at 2014 start-up
By JEFF BRADY
About 25 trucks a day from the Selwyn mine could be rolling up to the Skagway Ore Terminal in the fall of 2014 if the venture obtains its permits in the Yukon over the next year and a half.
Led by company president Dr. Harlan Meade, a team of officials from Selwyn Chihong Mining Ltd. told a room full of Skagway residents on Jan. 20 that their plan right now is to build a buried slurry pipeline from the mine in eastern Yukon to the Campbell Highway, and then truck the lead-zinc concentrate to Skagway via the Klondike Highway.
This community is the port of choice, and there could be a significant backhaul of materials, including fuel for the mine and steel from its Chinese partners used for construction. However, the officials noted they also are looking at Stewart, BC.
Meade told the crowd that the project easily could be producing for 50 years. Right now, based on a preliminary 10-year plan, the mine would ship 1,500 metric tons a day in 60-ton trucks. An ore ship would load in Skagway 20 times a year, or about every 20 days.
Project manager Steve Cleary said the company is seeking to nail down its shipping plan in the next six months. It has a license to proceed and has begun the process of obtaining all of its construction permits from the Yukon Government. If they are successful in getting all permits by mid-2012, then construction of the mine and slurry line will take another 18 to 24 months.
One potentially major hitch the company is dealing with at present is a protest from the Liard First Nation that the initial environmental assessment by a board in the Yukon was incomplete. When asked about this potential court challenge, officials from the mine said they are confident in the process they went through to get a water license and believe the project will move forward and not affect their timing. The license allows them to proceed with test mining on the site next summer, and moving forward with obtaining construction permits.
Missy Tyson, the local DOT foreman brought up concerns that the South Klondike is not currently maintained 24 hours a day in the winter, and that an ore truck from the Capstone mine recently got stuck on the hill overnight in bad weather. She said the Moore Bridge also is a concern. Currently any truck over 100,000 pounds has to slow down to 5 miles per hour and two cannot be on the bridge at the same time. Officials said they will need “sustainable access” and will work with governments on improving infrastructure. Assemblyman Mike Korsmo noted the bridge is on the state’s list for upgrades. Cleary said they will be seeking long-term supply contractors that will have to provide plans for “upsets” in service due to weather and other issues. He said there has to be enough storage to deal with delays.
Cleary had worked for the new Wolverine Mine at one time, and admitted that the route to Stewart was longer, but that the owners of that project felt it was a better economical choice for them. However, he said the facilities in Skagway are better.
Skagway is working to improve better access to the ore terminal for ships with its planned Gateway Project. Currently, cruise ships have priority in the summer, but an expanded docking facility would allow both ore and cruise vessels to dock at the same time.
The railroad did come up during questioning, but the officials are looking at what is available to them at present.
“Rail is not the number one option right now, but we are aware of the history here and will be watching it closely,” said Mike Hardin, business advisor for the mining venture.
When asked how the mine could survive fluctuating world metal prices and avoid shutdowns like what happened to the Faro mine, Meade said demand for zinc keeps growing but the key will be to “position ourselves low on the cost curve.” He said Faro was not in a good position.
The slurry pipeline option and a cheaper power alternative will help lower costs over time. Having a secure transportation option and port facility also plays into keeping costs low, they noted.
“The good news is we have a substantial high grade reserve to start with … and that gives us confidence,” Meade said.
When asked what they could say to assure the community there would be no adverse environmental impacts from the ore coming down the highway, Meade responded that a concentrate haul involves “good housekeeping.”
“We know the technology, we know what you have to do, you just have to do it,” Meade said. “It’s dust control.”
He said they know what they have to do to keeps trucks from tracking dust on the road, as well as preventing spills and cleaning them up.
“There’s nothing here that people should be afraid of,” he said, adding that they would have to enter into a contract with a carrier who is responsible. “The cheapest way to manage something is to get it right.”
He said there will be government bonding involved and they will continue to work with the community, port operator, port commission and state and territorial governments.
Assemblyman Dave Hunz, who also operates the current ore facility for AIDEA, said the state should not be charging trucks fees that total three times the cost of maintaining the Klondike Highway.
The officials said more meetings will be planned for the future. They said mining has “evolved dramatically” over the years.
“Being welcome in the communities in which you operate is one of the absolute essentials,” said Hardin. “You can’t have a viable business in a hostile environment.”
The Skagway Port Commission certainly is pushing the port these days. Chair John Tronrud and member Gary Hanson just returned from the annual Minerals Roundup in Vancouver, BC with municipal lobbyist John Walsh. White Pass vice president Michael Brandt also was there.
During a Port Commission meeting on Jan. 31, all said it was a valuable experience. They had further meetings with Selwyn and Western Copper, a mine that could be just as large, and said they toured a modern port facility in Vancouver that was loading two ships.
Walsh said it is now known that Skagway clearly has the “location advantage” but there are still questions from potential Yukon shippers about congestion and the flow of materials through the port.
Brandt was asked if the railroad was looking at getting up and running for a ore haul, at least from Skagway to Whitehorse. He responded that they are working on a “best case real estimate” for improving the line to Whitehorse first before they look at an extension to Carmacks. This also would involve obtaining new environmental permits.
“If three or four of these mines produce to these levels of up to 100 trucks a day, that makes the railroad viable,” Tronrud said.
“The potential for the port is pretty staggering,” added Tim Bourcy, the former mayor who was recently appointed to the commission. He suggested using some of the money in an escrow account from White Pass to address contamination issues under the ore dock from unregulated operations in the 1970s. Walsh suggested a meeting with the Department of Environmental Conservation and AIDEA first in an effort to pool studies about what should be done before construction proceeds.
“We have to look at the overall picture and take into account all the uses of the port, including visitors,” Bourcy said.
It was noted that a final report from DEC should be available soon. A preliminary report found more of an issue now with hydrocarbons in the sediments of the ore basin than lead-zinc.
The borough is currently working on a mitigation plan for a Corp of Engineers permit for the Gateway Project that would involve correcting a problem with Lillegraven Creek’s outflow caused during construction of the Skagway River flood control dike.
The commission also said having adequate upland storage available will be necessary, and voted to urge the assembly to address zoning conflicts along the Klondike Highway across the bridge “to protect the industrial uplands.”
GRISLY SCENE – NOAA veterinarian Kate Savage performs a necropsy on a sea lion at the Skagway Small Boat Harbor. Below, scientists examine the teeth of the dead sea lion. Andrew Cremata
Two dead sea lions found floating in Skagway bays
By ANDREW CREMATA
A dead Steller sea lion was found floating in Nahku Bay on Feb. 4, the second such pinniped found floating in local waters in as many weeks. The circumstances prompted officials from NOAA to visit Skagway in an effort to pin down the cause of death.
Local resident Dorothy Brady was walking along the shore of Nahku Bay when she noticed something unusual floating in the water. Brady said she did not know it was a sea lion, because only part of the animal was visible. It crossed her mind that it could be a human body, and then decided it might be a seal, she said.
Brady called the Skagway Police Department to make a report, and by 3 p.m., volunteers from the Skagway Fire Department were retrieving the ill-fated sea lion.
The animal was wrapped in tarps then fixed to a stretcher, and remained tied to the boat ramp dock in the Small Boat Harbor. Officials from NOAA were contacted and were on the scene by early afternoon Feb. 5 to perform an afield necropsy on the remains.
The NOAA team consisted of veterinarian Kate Savage, assistant training coordinator for the Alaska network Kaili Jackson, and Casey Brewer, who was “along for the ride.” The crew was assisted by local science teacher Cory Thole. The sea lion was laid out at the top of the boat ramp and a small table was used to place materials and biological samples obtained from the dead marine mammal.
During the necropsy, passersby displayed a range of emotion, from curiosity to turned-up noses. It was quickly determined that the animal was an adult female. On average, adult female sea lions weigh approximately 570 pounds.
Savage directed Thole to focus his dissection efforts on the left shoulder/flipper where a gaping exterior wound seemed to hint at a potential cause of death. The other assistants removed the breastplate of the animal to take samples from the throat and esophagus.
As Thole cut through the flesh and sinew of the flipper, bone and tissue damage were evident. A handful of bone fragments were chipped away and lodged within the flesh. Savage explained that the wound seemed to show some “tunneling,” and she added that the animal most likely died from some traumatic event – either a strike from a boat or a gunshot wound.
Savage said there was no indication of an exit wound, and it was also possible that the shoulder was damaged after the animal’s death.
As the necropsy progressed it was revealed that the sea lion had been pregnant. Jackson said the sow’s pup fetus was “very developed” and most likely in the latter stages of pregnancy.
The gestation period of Alaskan Steller Sea Lions is 274 days, on average. Females give birth to their pups anytime between May and July.
Two weeks prior, a small sea lion was found dead and floating near the Ore Dock. The animal was retrieved and taken to Juneau on Jan. 22 and then Seward, where a necropsy was scheduled to be performed on Feb. 10. Results were not known by this issue’s deadline.
It was unknown whether the two deaths were related, although there was speculation that the smaller sea lion could have been nursing.
Jackson said that 2009 saw a 300 percent increase in the number of sea lion deaths within the region. She said that it could be result of higher populations of sea lions, more reports being sent in to NOAA, or simply because more sea lions were dying. Jackson said the data was being studied and it was hoped that the report would bring the situation into better focus.
Jackson said that anyone finding a dead or injured marine mammal should immediately call the statewide network hotline at 877-925-7773.
SCHOOL REPORT (complete report in print edition)
School budget seeks more from borough
After a work session Wednesday night, the Skagway School Board voted in a special meeting to submit a $1.931 million budget to the municipality. The budget was due on Feb. 15.
The budget asks for a $482,708 extra funding contribution from the borough on top of funding to the state-allowed municipal cap of $1,255,091. Overall, that cap increased by about $3,330 from last year, but the extra request is almost double last year’s $250,000 approved by the assembly. This would offset a huge drop in state funding from $600,033 to $398,019 based on a projected enrollment drop from 78 to 60 students.
Because this enrollment drop is more than 5 percent, the district is applying for a hold harmless waiver that cushions the blow over a couple of years. But the district still was faced with making up a $435,000 shortfall in its operating budget.
At its Jan. 25 regular meeting, the board looked at three different options for dealing with the shortfall. All involved moving the technology program from the operating budget into the extra funding, as well as cutting the half-time music program, a special ed. aide position, and having the municipality take over one of the custodial contracts.
Board members resisted options that cut further teaching positions, saying they had done enough last year. A committee of two board members, two borough assembly members, and two teachers then met again on Jan. 26. Rather than proceed with drastic cuts in programs, they favored asking the borough if it would provide funding to the cap plus $450,000.
The final request ended up being a bit higher, as music was kept and a special ed. aide was reduced to half-time instead of being eliminated.
The budget passed on Feb. 9 was well-received at the meeting. Assemblyman Tim Cochran said he liked what he saw and appreciated the district’s work on it, laying the blame for the shortfall squarely on the state.
It now will be up to the rest of the assembly. This year’s budget is being submitted much earlier than in the past, in case the school had to make decisions on tenured teachers before a March deadline.
At an earlier meeting, Superintendent Jeff Thielbar said he would research with the state whether the municipality could also take over other building-related costs like fuel and electrical, since it is their building. At a Legislative Fly-In last week, he also checked into why Skagway was getting the lowest percentage of state funding in the state, only about 40 percent of its budget.
Per capita income in Skagway factors into this, but communities with a higher per capita income like the North Slope and Bristol Bay get about 50 percent of their funding from the state. Getting Skagway to even that 50 percent level would help a lot, said Cochran.
And Skagway has the best test scores in the state, pointed out Board President Christine Ellis
“Our kids are a testament to what we’re doing here,” she said. “I’m just furious with the state.”
There appear to be no performance rewards in sight from the state for districts like Skagway. Thielbar said in an e-mail that he didn’t make any headway into getting anything changed in Juneau.
The only school funding bright spot was just a flicker. After the fly-in, the Senate Education Committee announced it had introduced a bill calling for a moderate two percent increase in the base student allocation over the next three years – by $110 in FY 2012, $115 in FY 2013, and $120 in FY 2014. The BSA has increased by $100 a year over the previous three years but is not keeping up with inflation.
The bill also would set up a vocational education fund for high school students and certification incentives for rural teachers.
At its Jan. 25 meeting, the board:
• approved purchase of a new copier from Whitehorse Office Supply for $16,480.
• reviewed criteria for future additions to the Don Hather Wall of Fame. The board will take nominations for individuals who have “contributed to the benefit of Skagway School in an exceptional manner over the course of several years.” Nominations must include the name of the person or group, a narrative, and a signed petition with at least 50 names supporting the nomination. Selection will be limited to one name per year and will be made at the March meeting.
• accepted its audit report for the previous school year.
• postponed its evaluation of Superintendent Thielbar to its Feb. meeting.
BOROUGH DIGEST (complete digest in print edition)
$9 million bond issue goes to voters May 10
Skagway voters will be asked at a special election on May 10 to approve the issuance of up to $9 million in bonds to support four capital projects.
Municipal bond rates remain fairly low right now, and the borough is in a good position currently to apply for bonding some projects, said Finance chair Dan Henry.
The projects will be broken out into four separate ballot measures, with their bonding amounts not to exceed:
• $5 million for the open cell dock facility as part of the Gateway Project.
• $1 million for docks and dredging at the Small Boat Harbor.
• $500,000 for the Skagway Public Library addition.
• $2.5 million for Main Street rebuild and paving.
These first three projects have grant funding available from other sources, and Main Street reconstruction was viewed as a public safety issue.
A fifth project was also considered – $3 million toward a new public safety building – but members decided on a 4-2 vote to pull that one from the bond issue because the project had not been fully studied.
Borough Manager Tom Smith said initial concept drawings had been done a year ago for a 40,000 sq. ft. building that would house both the police and fire departments. Using modern construction estimates, it would cost $19 million, he said, and suggested instead that they start funding the project as they did with the clinic: setting aside an annual amount each year from the sales tax budget for a reserve project fund, and then pursue other funding as well.
“It’s such a big project,” said Assemblyman Paul Reichert. “A lot more planning needs to go into it.”
But Assemblyman Dave Hunz, who won support for adding the $3 million for the public safety building at first reading of the ordinance, said the building was needed and bond rates will go up.
“By delaying it, you are making (the cost) bigger and bigger,” Hunz said.
He said they could scale back the design, just like the clinic building, and get the project they want. But the amendment to take the public safety building off the ballot passed.
Hunz and Colette Hisman voted against the amendment but then voted with the others to approve the bond issue package at second reading on Feb. 3. By law it must be taken to the voters.
Henry said dropping the total to $9 million should make it more palatable to the public.
The municipality has hired Randy Wiley as the new borough treasurer and Michelle Gihl as the new administrative assistant to the manager and deputy clerk.
Both have administrative financial experience in the community. Wiley is the former comtroller for the White Pass & Yukon Route, and Gihl is the former Skagway branch manager for Wells Fargo Bank Alaska.
Wiley began work at the end of December and Gihl started in mid-January. They replace Cindy O’Daniel and Michelle Greenstreet who resigned last fall to take other jobs in the community.
Treatment plant, school heating control awards
The assembly on Feb. 3 approved awarding the wastewater treatment plant upgrade to McGraws Custom Construction of Sitka. The contract award was for $3.601 million.
McGraws has submitted a base bid of $3.39 million, compared to Hamilton Construction of Skagway’s $3.587 million and Alaska Mechanical of Anchorage’s $4.669 million. The base bids included FKC biosolids dewatering equipment to bring the plant up to secondary treatment, and plant construction.
Those firms also bid on three alternate add-ons, but the assembly accepted engineer HDR’s recommendation to accept just the addition of the pre-fabicated metal building, which McGraws bid at a low $262,000 for the final contract amount.
Construction will take about eight months, according to HDR.
At its Jan. 20 meeting, the assembly approved awarding the school heating controls contract to Siemens of Anchorage for $104,880. This bid compared with $189,812 from Johnson Controls of Anchorage and $273,540 from Denali Mechanical of Fairbanks.
P&Z approves Hall permits
During the debate last year over the recent conditional use permit approved for Robert Murphy’s sled dog and bear viewing tour attraction along the Klondike Highway, it was revealed that the Klondike Gold Dredge did not have conditional use permits for some recent additions to its tour property.
Dredge co-owner Tom Hall initially applied for a single conditional use for these, but they were split up on recommendation of permitting official David Van Horn. These applications were finally ready for a special Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Jan. 27.
They included separate permits for a sled dog demonstration, a “40 Below Freezer Tour,” an old-time photo tour, and a smaller retail gift store in an historic crib building.
Hall spoke briefly about meeting with the state fire marshal to address some issues with egress and building spacing. P&Z chair Matt Deach said the only condition he would require would be the fire marshal’s approval.
There were several letters of support for the operation, but Murphy was at the meeting and objected to approving the Hall permits after the fact without addressing some sort of penalty or fine.
Murphy, a former P&Z commissioner, noted that even the letters of support were for an operation that occurred “last year,” yet Murphy said he “went through the gauntlet” for six months to get his new operation permitted properly. Murphy urged the commission to “do the right thing.”
Deach said Murphy made a valid point, and to date the commission and permitting official have only responded when there are complaints filed about permits not being filed.
Van Horn and commission members said they had agreed last November that “from this day forward” there would be penalties and fines. They discussed fines similar to what is enforced for violations in the Historic District. But they said that without a larger staff, they would still need to rely on “watchful neighbors” to file complaints about possible zoning violations.
The commission approved the permits with amendments to the sled dog permit to make it consistent with the Murphy permit that was recently granted. The dogs must be housed from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. with someone in contact 24 hours a day, and there can be no more than 10 adult dogs and three litters of puppies. There also will be an annual review which should “clear up any issue,” Deach said.
UPDATE: This permit has been appealed by Robert Murphy and will be heard by the Board of Adjusmtment at a date to be determined. It had been scheduled for March 3 but has been postponed. – JB