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P&Z says “no” to Shoemaker storage

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The Planning and Zoning commission on Friday discussed a controversial proposed ordinance change at its monthly meeting.

The commission discussed a request by Bernie Massin to change an ordinance that affects his property at Shoemaker Bay.

Massin leases a large property at the Bay. As the ordinance is currently written, his storage area must be in an enclosed building.

In 2008 he asked that he be allowed to store boats and gear in an unenclosed area. The Planning and Zoning commission denied that request.

He re-filed the same request this year. He asked that outside storage be allowed if he erected a fence to obscure the view from the highway and water.

Paula Rak said she’s been against it for years. She said Massin has been storing equipment out there against the initial ordinance.

“He hasn’t been following the ordinance and I don’t see why we should give him permission to do something else that will open up a whole new can of worms for violations of it,” said Rak.

Commission member Stan Schnell also referenced the 2008 filing and asked if Massin could provide any assurance that his land wouldn’t become an eyesore.

“You know, Bernie, in 2008 when we went through this thing, we asked you-I asked you-over and over and over to give us some kind of assurance that if somebody pulled in a 20-foot boat covered with tarps and the tarps got chewed up, that you would take care of it. And you just flat said that you wouldn’t do it. You would not give us one assurance that you would clean up the mess or make it look good,” Schnell told Massin during discussion.

“Well, all I can say is, that if people bring their stuff in, I can tell them to do something. But whether they do it or not-I can’t make somebody put a new tarp on their boat sometimes. I can tell them to leave, or whatever, but it’s not that easy. I mean, I would try to do that, but I can’t make insurances that I can’t…it’s insurances out of the blue,” Massin replied to Schnell.

Massin said Wrangell is a working town, not a tourist town. He said he’s just trying to support people making a living by giving them a low-cost space to store their boats.

Ann Schnell also spoke out against the proposal.

“The tourists all the time go by Shoemaker. And the people who live out there—people go by Shoemaker all the time. And we really don’t want to see boat storage and fences. I mean, Shoemaker is a beautiful harbor and a lot of people live out there. And I’m just really against any industrial commercial endeavor out there,” said Schnell.

The Commission voted against Massin’s proposal. Member Greg Knight was the only dissenting vote in favor of Massin. He said Wrangell needs to support its workers and its fishermen, over beautification of the town.

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