City council considers new definition for ‘discontinued’

With the real-life application of city code eliminating the Bay View Inn’s lawful nonconforming use within an area zoned rural residential, the Homer City Council at its regular meeting Monday opened the door for a new definition of “discontinued.”

Currently, the right to maintain nonconforming use comes to an end if that use is not resumed for a period of 12 consecutive months. In the case of Bay View Inn, the owner, Dennis Novak, a former city council member, died in 2011, and the business has not operated since that time. It is currently for sale, listed as a “commercial lot” by Bay View Realty, with a selling price of $543,000. However, lack of operation for more than 12 months means it can no longer be operated as the inn it once.

Ordinance 13-42, sponsored by council member Bryan Zak, seeks to change that time limit to 36 months.

“A 36-month limit on the time a nonconforming use may cease will provide a more reasonable time for a successor operator to accomplish the steps necessary to resume operation of the use,” the ordinance states.

An amendment to the ordinance, introduced by council member Beau Burgess, shortened the time to 24 months.

“People potentially losing the value of their property for reasons outside their control is something we need to consider,” said Burgess, adding that the argument could be made that a year is not enough time to settle an estate. “I don’t know, however that 36 months is a swing too far in the opposite direction. … I’d like to see something come back from the Planning Commission that’s more palatable.”

Burgess also raised the concern that extending the time period too much might “undermine property values of adjacent properties.”

Council member Francie Roberts agreed that 36 months was too long and supported input from the Planning Commission.

Zak said the ordinance was not for the sole purpose of benefiting a particular property.

“I thought 36 might be too much to be palatable, so I had discussions with some business owners, but their feedback was that 36 was not long enough because of probate, selling property and coming up with a new business plan,” said Zak. “So 36 seemed realistic, but then again I’m glad to see it going to the Planning Commission.”

Burgess’ amendment from 36 to 24 months passed with council members Barbara Howard, David Lewis, Francie Roberts and Burgess voting for it and Zak voting against it. Council member Gus Vandyke was absent. Introduction of the amended ordinance was unanimously approved.

Jim Lavrakas, executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, provided the council with information about the chamber’s use of a grant from the city for marketing of Homer.

Ken Castner also spoke to the council about his petition for a Charter Commission election (see related story, page XX).

The council officially received the draft 2014 budget and will begin revising it at its next regular meeting scheduled for Nov. 25.

In other action, the council:

• Appointed Corbin Arno to the Economic Development Advisory Commission, reappointed Zak to the Economic Development Advisory Commission as a consulting member and reappointed Matt North to the Permanent Fund Committee;

• Approved liquor license renewals for the Salty Dawg Saloon and Café Cups;

• Introduced Ordinance 13-43, authorizing the expenditure of the Homer Accelerated Water and Seward Program funds for Paradise Place sewer main extension and creating a deferred assessment on benefited properties;

• Approved Resolution 13-107, maintaining the city’s fee schedule at current rates;

• Approved Resolution 13-108, maintaining the Homer Harbor terminal tariff at the current rates;

• Approved Resolution 13-109, awarded a $25,500 bid to Alaska Marine Excavation for surplus dock fenders;

• Passed Ordinance 13-39, accepting a $75,000 state grant and appropriating a $75,000 match for improvements to Karen Hornaday Park;

• Passed Ordinance 13-40, that aligns the city’s system for recording fines with the state’s system;

• Ordinance 13-41, appropriating a U.S. Fish and Wildlife grant with an up to 50 percent in-kind match for completing landscaping improvements at Karen Hornaday Park Playground.

• Selected Roberts to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore for 2013-2014.

The next regular meeting is Nov. 25.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at

More in News

Christie Hill prepares to play “Taps” during the 9/11 memorial service on Saturday. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Homer honors lives lost during 9/11

The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary held a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony at the… Continue reading

Judith Eckert
COVID-19 patient says monoclonal antibody infusion saved her life

Antibody infusions highly effective in reducing risk of hospitalization, according to FDA trial ..

A sign flashing “Keep COVID down” also offers information on where to get testing and vaccines on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
SPH holding steady in COVID-19 surge

Despite hospital crisis in Anchorage, Homer’s hospital not impacted, spokesperson tells Homer City Council.

Brie Drummond speaks in support of mask mandates on Monday, Sept. 13, for the Kenai Peninsula School Board meeting at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. During a work session before the meeting, the district presented revisions to its COVID-19 mitigation protocols. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
School district revises COVID-19 mitigation plans

The revisions come as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Alaska and on the Kenai Peninsula.

A protester stands outside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin building in Soldotna on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Parents square off over masks at school board meeting

Some parents said they will keep their kids home if masks are required, while others say they’ll keep their kids home if masks aren’t required.

Borough School Board election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Homer City Council election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Janie Leask, a Homer resident, spoke in support of the new multi-use community center during Monday night’s city council meeting, stating the need for community recreation is vital.
Council moves forward with HERC plans

After years of discussions and planning, the Homer City Council is quickly… Continue reading

Most Read