Homes in Valdez avalanche are set to be moved

Posted: Friday, June 30, 2000

VALDEZ (AP) -- A dozen homes in an avalanche-prone section of Valdez will be relocated by this fall if all goes according to plan.

Just where those families will go is the problem. There's not much land available in the core area of Valdez, and what is available may be too expensive for current residents on Porcupine Street.

Letters from the federal government making an offer on the avalanche zone properties are expected by July 17. Initial relocation work is set to begin Aug. 14. The moves are supposed to be done by Oct. 13.

City Manager Dave Dengel said he expected most of the lots to be appraised for $28,000 to $30,000. That's how much the people who live on the north side of Porcupine can expect from the federal government.

But that won't buy an empty lot in the core section of town. Available lots cost as much as $50,000, since they are located in pricier neighborhoods, and mobile homes aren't allowed on many of them.

''I have three years to retire,'' said Jeanne Passin, owner of one of the street's several mobile homes. ''It's not a coincidence that I will retire and pay off my house at the same time. I planned it that way. Now this happens, and I'm supposed to start again with a 30-year mortgage.''

Passin has no idea where she will be living by mid-October, but she is sure the relocation will wipe out her savings and that the home she has been making house payments on for 12 years is now worthless.

The city has offered one-acre lots at Corbin Creek, about five miles out of town. But Passin says she made a conscious choice to live in town, where access is more convenient.

Ten trailer lots and four single family lots are being developed at Corbin Creek at a cost of $22,000 to $25,000 each. The city would put in a well and septic system for each lot and connect the property to electricity.

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