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Borough Proposes 700 Acres for Sale

Turning government-owned land over to private hands is a requirement in Fairbanks North Star Borough code. The Borough’s Land Management office has nominated more than 700 acres of land to put up for sale this fall. But first they want the public to see what’s available. The first of four public presentations on the sale was Tuesday evening.

State law granted the Fairbanks North Star Borough 100,000 acres to sell off for revenue. The Division of Land Management regularly offers land for sale – some parcels you can buy over the counter year-round -- but the combined sale coming up this September is the biggest in a decade, with 17 parcels selected by citizens and staff. The smallest is 3.36 acres and the biggest is more than 242 acres.

Maps, posters and binders for each parcel were spread around the auditorium of the Noel Wein Library, where land management staff staged the first of four open house events to get comment on the parcels.

Debra DeLong found the material useful.

“They’ve done a really good job of showing… you know there’s visual surveys for those who are visual, showing trails, showing where it is on the river, they’re showing elevation, they’re showing pictures. So you can imagine if you wanted to use it, what it would be like.”

Lou Konetski says he likes the idea of looking at land without getting bitten by mosquitos.

I’m kind of curious as to what properties are for sale, how close they are to Fairbanks, and a possible building lot, for my son. I’m not interested in a big parcel to develop, I’m interested in just a building lot, basically.”

Dorothea and Ellis Ott came in with their two kids before the storytime session elsewhere in the library.

“It seems to me that nice properties go up, they go away really quickly before many of them even hit the market. So its something to consider to buy a lot and just build your own place.”

But not all the lots are for residential development. Some are off the grid, some zoned for agriculture, others suitable for recreational cabins.

The sale will open on September 1st and close on September 30. Prospective buyers submit a sealed bid with 5 percent of their offer included. Sandra Mota manages the Land Division. She says the borough offers financing so bidders can take time to pay off the parcel in full.

When the land nominations are finalized, the Borough Assembly will hear an ordinance August 8, and a public hearing will be August 22.

Before that there are more open houses to come. Mota says public comment influences which parcels are offered…  even though a parcel is on the list, it might not be included in the final ordinance that comes in front of the Assembly, if citizens think it should be pulled from the sale.

That’s exactly what Cam Webb came to find out. He took a good look at the 167-acre Peede Road tract.

“I’m a neighbor there, and I walk out there and hunt there an awful lot. I know there’s many people who use There’s gonna be a lot of people who are concerned about what happens to this tract.”

Debra DeLong says she got all her questions answered at the open house.

“So do you think you want to buy a parcel? At this time, no, I was looking at the River parcel, and they did such a good job describing it, I decided I don’t want it.”

Each parcel is described in detail on the land management website fnsblandsales.com.

The open house events for the Borough Land Sale run 5:00 to 7:00 in the evening; the next one is tomorrow night, Thursday at the Chena Goldstream Fire Station. There is another next Wednesday, May 8 at the Ester Fire Station, then the fourth will be on Tuesday, May 14 at the North Pole Branch Library.