Ketchikan wants to banish winter ''ghost town'' look

Posted: Monday, May 19, 2003

KETCHIKAN (AP) Ketchikan officials want to keep downtown store owners from boarding up their windows when they leave town during the winter.

During a recent Ketchikan City Council meeting, Council members Jim Van Horn and Tom Coyne told city staff that Ketchikan looks like a ghost town during the winter months, especially when store owners nail plywood over shop windows.

The city likely could enforce an ordinance prohibiting stores from boarding their windows, according City Attorney Steve Schweppe. But the city would have to legally justify such an ordinance.

Alaska courts have ruled that municipalities can enforce codes for aesthetic reasons, he said. The main question is whether prohibiting boarded windows would make downtown Ketchikan appear less abandoned.

Last week the council directed staff to draft an ordinance.

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