City code officer slays Snowzilla

Giant snowman deemed a public nuisance, safety hazard

December 21, 2008 

Anchorage's famous giant snow man, Snowzilla, finally met its match.

It wasn't the weather. It wasn't angry neighbors bearing shovels and pick axes.

It turns out Snowzilla's biggest foe -- the one who felled the controversial but much-loved giant -- was a notice-bearing city code enforcement officer.

That's right, Snowzilla was abated.

It was just a few years ago that 16-foot-tall Snowzilla arose in a residential yard in Airport Heights, launching an annual procession of local gawkers and an international media blitz.

Camera crews came from Russia and Japan.

But Snowzilla attracted a lot of naysayers too.

Not everybody in the neighborhood liked all the cars and visitors.

So, city officials have deemed Snowzilla a public nuisance and safety hazard.

A few weeks ago, city code enforcers left three red signs at Snowzilla's bottom body ball telling its builders to cease and desist.

The city also tacked a public notice on the door of the Powers family home at 1556 Columbine St. The Powers family and some of their neighbors have been building Snowzilla in the Powers' front yard since 2005.

When the notices went up, Snowzilla still didn't have a full torso or head.

"The kids had spent hours and hours of work on it," Billy Powers said on Sunday.

City officials involved in the cease-and-desist order could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

But on Dec. 11, the city notified the Airport Heights community council about its decision to abate Snowzilla, telling council members that the two-story snowman caused increased traffic to the point of endangerment and that the structure itself was unsafe.

The city also asked council members to watch out for continued construction and to consider weighing in on Snowzilla at an upcoming, council members said.

At last Thursday's community council meeting, no one offered a Snowzilla-related motion. "We're not really a policing agency," said Becky Kurtz, the council president.

Now, Snowzilla is just a big pile of snow rubble.

Powers said he doesn't plan to rebuild.

He can't.

Under the city's nuisance abatement order, if he tries, he could get arrested.

Find Elizabeth Bluemink online at adn.com/contact/ebluemink or call 257-4317.

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