Anchorage homeowner frustrated over nuisance house hopes change in city code will help

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A homeowner in Airport Heights hopes changes in city code will improve his neighborhood.

George Faust says he's lived beside a nuisance property for about 10 years. Channel 2 visited the vacant home with Anchorage Police in mid-April after reports of several trespassers living inside. The building was in shambles. A pile of logs for firewood lined one wall, which was almost impossible to get to because of a significant amount of trash on the floor.

"Last spring there was nine nights in a row-- nine nights in a row -- where vagrants and homeless people and thieves were stealing from this house," Faust said.

Two amendments from the Anchorage Assembly aim to improve situations like his. Both passed in January.

One would impose additional fees and penalties for long-term vacant properties and persistent nuisance properties by creating a nuisance property abatement fund. The other establishes a foreclosure registry.

Chris Schutte, the city's community and economic development director, says that $70,000 would be used to pay for things like boarding up a home and the money would be reimbursed when a bank, if the home was in foreclosure, eventually sells the property.

The registry would require a home to be tightly boarded up to eliminate some problem people, and bad activities, from happening inside.

"This was a requirement, that vacant buildings in town be registered as vacant, and that there are certain minimum requirements when it come to securing the building," Schutte said. "To help them avoid sort of becoming an eyesore, and/or a place where bad things can happen because of easy access."

Faust says the vacant property beside his home was recently sold.

He's hoping the new owner creates something positive with the space. Sitting beside his tidy home he told a reporter he's become scared about who could be secretly living inside the vacant property next door.

"I've tried to keep my patience," Faust said, "it's been very hard. I go to bed at night worrying if I'm going to be alive the next morning. Sometimes it's that hard I feel like crying."

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