After what Borough Manager Brad Ryan described as “multiple requests to upgrade and clean up our alleyways in Skagway,” the Finance Committee approved PDC Engineers’ bid for $20,900 to survey and monument the town’s 20-foot alleyways.

The results surprised some residents who posted questions and concerns on the Skagway Bulletin Board Facebook Page on Sept. 8.

In certain instances, trees and shrubbery extend into the marked alleys. In other cases, more permanent structures such as a fence or even an historic building infringe on the boundaries.

The alleys run east and west behind most streets and are meant to give easy access to emergency and utility vehicles. According to Ryan, alley clearance hasn’t been enforced in recent history.

“Eventually, we can’t run our plows through there,” he said.

The municipality will start taking inventory of property owners that are out of compliance with SMC 8.04.070 which states that “no owner, lessee, agent, tenant or occupant shall allow or permit any junk or debris to remain upon any yard, lot or premises controlled by him/her or on a sidewalk or public way adjacent to or adjoining the owner’s property.”

A plan to update the code is being developed. Ryan intends to take “a lot of direction from the assembly and Public Works.”

Ryan acknowledged that the alleyway cleanup will be hard for residents who might not have known they were in violation.

“We’re going to try to work with them,” Ryan said. He suggested that for moveable items such as cars or debris, Skagwegians could have 30 days to rectify the problem before a civil fine was issued. Bigger, permanent structures would have a different process, yet to be determined.

 “At some point we’re going to have hard rules,” Ryan said.