Borough sells first of former junkyard lots; 2 more to come on sale

The borough assembly unanimously approved the sale of 29,274 square feet of public lands to Helen and Robert Molinek for $45,000 at its meeting last Tuesday. The sale of a portion of the former Byford junkyard property is part of a longstanding effort by the borough to move public lands into private ownership, where they can be taxed.

The parcel at 4-Mile Zimovia Highway used to be part of the junkyard, which the state Department of Environmental Conservation finished cleaning up in 2018. Since then, the borough has negotiated with nearby landowners who expressed interest in purchasing portions of the newly available property.

The assembly did not support placing development requirements on the land, which would have specified the type and timeline of any development. Instead, the borough divided the property into three lots — the maximum number before it would be required to install utilities and perform additional construction.

A contracted appraisal report for the borough described the site as easy to develop and suggested that its south-facing views of the water would make it “very desirable in the Wrangell market.”

Molinek purchased the property behind his residence, but the borough will make the other two lots available for public auction. One is valued at $120,000 and the other is valued at $96,885.

Anyone interested in purchasing the lots will find them listed on after the borough completes its listing on the commercial website that sells public property nationwide. The borough used the company to sell the former National Guard armory last year.

Assemblymember Bob Dalrymple expressed his appreciation for the work that borough officials had done to make the sale possible, overcoming “the ownership issues and the access issues to get this property back on the tax rolls.” Just before the assembly voted to approve the sale, he called it “a long, long process that has hopefully culminated tonight.”


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