Council moves forward on Spit rezoning

At the top of a list of items on the Homer City Council’s consent agenda were two items that, if passed, would change the Homer Spit zoning code and allow accessory uses like lodging in the Marine Commercial zoning district. Monday night, those two ordinances, 13-11 and 13-12, were only being introduced, with a public hearing and action scheduled for the May 13 council meeting.

After hearing testimony from a helicopter pilot, Eric Lee, who said the rezoning would ban helicopter tour flights taking off from the Spit, council member Beau Burgess pulled the ordinances from the consent agenda so he could amend the zoning change to allow helicopter tours as a conditional use. Lee said he wanted to start a helicopter tour business on the Spit, but discovered the zoning change would ban that.

Burgess’ amendment passed, and the council then approved introducing the zoning changes as amended.

The proposed changes came about after the city passed a Homer Spit Comprehensive Plan. Many businesses already have been renting rooms, usually upstairs from places like sport charter offices, but technically that use is illegal in Marine Commercial zones, an area roughly surrounding the harbor from Fish Dock Road to Freight Dock Road. The zoning change would put in place zoning rules regulating such uses.

In other major council action, it also introduced an ordinance authorizing the issuance and sale of harbor revenue bonds not to exceed $4.2 million for capital improvements at the harbor. The council also introduced on first reading the following ordinances, with public hearings and action at the May 13 meeting:

• Accepting a $5,906 grant for two early literacy stations at the Homer Public Library; and

• Appropriating $54,000 for repairs to the Deep Water Dock, the Pioneer Dock, Fish Dock, C Float and the Outfall line.

It also passed these resolutions and ordinances:

• Amending an earlier resolution account code for light vehicle purchase contracts with Kendall Ford Wasilla for fire and police department vehicles;

• Establishing a schedule for considering a new sewer and water rate model, and accepting and thanking the Water and Sewer Rate Task Force for its service, declaring its work done and dissolving the task force; and

• Appropriated up to $45,000 for the demolition of a redwood water storage tank at the water treatment plant.