City Of Bethel Introduces New City Code On Bed And Breakfasts
The Bethel City Council passed a number of measures in their July 27 meeting, including a contract for new city internet beamed from outer space and a program to tow away dead cars.
Bethel City Council unanimously passed an item that will allow the city to enter into a one year internet contract with a company called Alaska Communications. The company sells low earth orbit satellite internet from multinational communications company OneWeb. The city’s IT director said that it will be at least 10 times faster than Bethel’s current internet plan from GCI for a similar price. No new funding was required for the program since it passed in this fiscal year’s budget earlier this summer. The internet service applies only to City of Bethel offices, and not to other companies or private residences.
The council also unanimously approved the extension of a city program that has been towing away unwanted cars for free. Previously, if you had a lemon in your driveway you had to pay $300 for the city to tow it away. The city experimented with removing the fee during Clean Up Green Up this year, and liked it so much that they decided to keep it. Now to get your rust bucket towed away forever, for free, you just have to fill out an application with the City of Bethel.
Also in the meeting, the council approved $158,918 in additional funding for city hall renovations so that improvements on the building can continue. Plus, council unanimously voted to introduce new city code governing bed and breakfasts in residential zones. The new code was reviewed and recommended by the planning commission. If passed at the public hearing next month, owners will have to prove that the bed and breakfast is their primary residence, and will be restricted to renting out a maximum of three guest rooms. One provision states that current bed and breakfasts that don’t fit the new rules will have one year to come into compliance.
The public hearing for that ordinance will be at the next city council meeting on Aug. 10. Interested members of the public can attend the meeting in person or over Zoom to comment.