Council to consider Greatland Street options

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to show the planning commission's recommendation.

The Homer City Council at its 6 p.m. meeting on Tuesday considers three options for extending Greatland Street, the short road from the Sterling Highway west of Main Street that dead-ends for now at Save-U-More.

Because of the Seward’s Day holiday, the council meets Tuesday in the Cowles Council Chambers instead of its regular day of Monday.

Three options have been proposed:

• Option A: Extend Greatland Street north to Pioneer Avenue, the cheapest option and the council’s preferred option at $671,053,

• Option B: Extend Greatland Street west and north to Pioneer Avenue,  connecting at Bartlett Street, and east toward Main Street. That fits in with the city’s long-range transportation plan, but at $1.6 million, including land acquistion and construction, it’s the most expensive of the options.

• Option C: The same as Option B, but without the extension to Main Street, the middle price at $970,870.

The Homer Advisory and Planning Committee recommended the council not move forward with any options, but if does, to choose  Option C, and include pedestrian access along Greatland Street to Pioneer Avenue.

The council can select one of the options, and if it does, the city would move ahead to create a Special Assessment District, or SAD, the city’s mechanism for making local improvements. Creating a SAD would involve neighborhood meetings, a more detailed cost estimate and analysis, and a vote by the property owners involved. If approved by land owners, the SAD would come back to the council for final action and setting of the assessment roll.

Option B and C benefit seven property owners. Option A benefits 10 property owners. Val Kaspar, the owner of Save-U-More, owns most of the property along Greatland Street and the easement to the north. Greatland Street also exists as a short driveway south of Pioneer to several stores and businesses.

Under the SAD rules, a majority of property owners would have to object to stop the project. Each lot would pay an equal share of improvements, with the city picking up 75-percent of the cost and the landowners 25 percent. The city’s share would be paid out of the Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails fund.

Normally, SADs are initiated by landowners, but for Greatland Street the city has started the process, as it did for the Grubstake Avenue expansion connecting Heath and Lake Streets.

“This is a little different situation in that some of the choices could potentially provide benefits beyond just the people of the neighborhood,” said Public Works Director Carey Meyer.

The Greatland Street project, Ordinance 17-05(a), would appropriate $671,053 for Option A. It was introduced at the Jan. 23 meeting, when the council selected Option A. The council could change its mind and select another option. Public testimony is heard during the public hearing section of the meeting.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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