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Fairbanks City Council discusses public drunkenness, snowmachines at regular meeting

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 4:08 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Public drunkenness and snowmachine laws took center stage at Monday night’s Fairbanks City Council meeting.

The council voted 5 to 1 to restrict drinking in public spaces throughout the city, except on the premises of licensed establishments.

Before Monday night, drinking in public was only restricted in the downtown area.

Aaron Gibson was the only one to vote no vote on the ordinance.

Meanwhile, June Rogers thanked Shoshana Kun for introducing the measure, saying, “I know that we were speaking about permits, special permits at our last meeting. I brought up that we have a real double standard for drinking in public, and that we need to acknowledge that by our regulations, and this does that. Thank you very much for doing that and bringing it forward.”

The council later heard a resolution that opposes allowing all-terrain vehicles and snowmachines on public roadways.

This resolution comes after the Alaska Department of Public Safety proposed an amendment to Title 13 of the Alaska Administrative Code allowing the practice on some roads.

Councilmember Gibson proposed a number of amendments softening the language of the resolution.

The council, rather than discussing the amendments, voted to postpone the resolution indefinitely.

Gibson said, “There’s some concerns here, but there’s also some very valid reasons that we might want to do this, and it’s not saying we’re going to have snowmachines on the road tomorrow if this resolution is amended exactly the way I propose and done. What it’s saying is there’s some concerns. We acknowledge there’s some concerns. Give us the ability to make our own decisions about it.”

This postponement means that the council can reexamine the resolution, as well as its proposed amendments, at any subsequent city council meeting.

The regular, biweekly session also saw the official badge pinning ceremony honoring deputy Chief of Police Rick Sweet.

During his comment section, Mayor Jim Matherly recognized the accomplishments of the AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer program in Fairbanks.

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