Commission does not reconsider Quiet Creek

In a 4-2 vote against, the Homer Advisory Planning Commission last week did not pass a motion to reconsider the Quiet Creek subdivision preliminary plat. Commissioner Larry Slone, who voted to recommend approval of the plat, had moved for reconsideration after the planning commission recommended approval of the plat.

A motion for reconsideration would have brought the issue back to the table for possible changes and a second vote. The prevailing no vote kept the issue from coming back to the planning commission for further discussion and upheld the original 5-1 vote.

“This is not a causal decision for reconsideration … It needs more research,” Slone said about why he made his motion.

Slone said he had concerns about the effect on runoff and storm water drainage patterns if the subdivision is built. At previous meetings, that had been a common criticism of the project.

At the Jan. 2 meeting, with commissioner Roberta Highland objecting, the planning commission recommended approving a new version of Homer developer Tony Neal’s plat of a 37-acre subdivision uphill and east of Homer High School. Neal got approval in 2005 of a subdivision plat, and last year proposed a new version that would reduce the number of lots from 90 to 71.

In an area zoned rural-residential, the new plat of Quiet Creek will include lots from 10,000 square feet to 29,645 square feet in size. Most lots would be a quarter-acre or half-acre. The subdivision would connect to town through new roads built from East Hill Road to the east, East End Road to the south and Elderberry and Mountain View Drive to the west.

The planning commission also approved conditions recommended by the Planning Department staff, including increasing the size of one 9,700-square-foot lot to meet the 10,000-square-foot minimum for rural residential zoning and in the first phase of the project, building Nelson Avenue and Ronda Street from East End Road to South Slope Drive.

The plat will now go to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Platting Committee. Under the city of Homer’s limited zoning powers, the city can make recommendations on preliminary plats, with final approval coming from the borough.

Five people spoke about the Quiet Creek preliminary plat at last week’s meeting. Gwen Neal, Tony Neal’s wife, spoke against reconsideration, saying that the plat had been adequately debated and amended. In a letter to the commission, Tony Neal also wrote against reconsideration, saying there had been plenty of time to look at information.

“That time is far beyond regulatory limits and legally and actually more than enough time,” he wrote.

Francie Roberts, who lives on Mountain View Drive near the proposed subdivision, noted in public comments that some information that should have been in the Jan. 2 packet had not been included: letters from Devony Lehner and Kathleen George. That information was in the Jan. 15 laydown packet.

At the end of the meeting, Ginny Espenshade, a neighbor of the proposed subdivision, also mentioned the Lehner and George information.

“I’m disappointed that not enough of you felt a reconsideration was warranted, if only to discuss the materials that were left out of the packet — that were left out by the negligence of the planning department,” Espenshade said.

In his closing comments, commissioner Tom Stroozas spoke of why he did not vote for reconsideration and supported the plat.

“We try to make decisions that are good for the whole based on the health and welfare of the community,” he said. “We rely on information from the public and applicants, and very heavily on paid staff. We do the best job with the information we have and go forward.”

Under city code, any aggrieved person — that is, someone who can show how a decision may have an adverse impact on his or her use, enjoyment or value of real property — can file an appeal with the Homer City Council acting as the Board of Adjustment. Such appeals must be filed within 30 days after the date of distribution of a final action.

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

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