Council passes sidewalks, trails ordinance

New law would require non-motorized facilities under certain conditions.

At its regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 14, the Homer City Council considered and passed an ordinance stipulating that developers shall build non-motorized transportation routes such as trails and sidewalks where any of several conditions are met.

After originally being introduced on July 25, the council adopted the latest version, Ordinance 22-42(S-3). This ordinance changes city code to “enhance public safety, convenience and mobility through the development of non-motorized transportation routes … .”

The ordinance had been highlighted as council members, the City Manager and the Director of Public Works — and more — worked to make its impact reliable and evident.

“We started with a very simple ordinance that just said ‘build sidewalks’ and we’ve come up with something very comprehensive,” said Jan Keiser, Director of Public Works.

With the effect of the ordinance, Homer city code now requires non-motorized routes on new streets where any number of conditions are met. Those include:

• An existing non-motorized transportation facility exists on an adjacent property right of way or easement that could be extended to the new street.

• The new street connects to, or comes within 100 linear feet, of an existing destination that provides recreational, cultural, civic, educational service or business activities.

• Homer transportation or trail implemenation plans show a non-motorized routed connecting to, or along the new street.

• The new street lies within an area of interest shown in the Trails 2022 Implementation Plan.

• The new street is in the Central Business District, the Urban Residential zone or the Residential Office District.

The ordinance allows for some exceptions, such as difficult topography.

Pat Case, a Homer resident who said his mode of transportation is exclusively walking due to a disability, has been voicing his opinion on this ordinance since its introduction.

“The people of Homer want this,” Case said during discussion.

Most of the council members also testified in support of the ordinance.

As Mayor Ken Castner officially sealed the adoption of the ordinance following the council’s vote, Homer City Council member Donna Aderhold celebrated by pumping her fists and Case began clapping. It was a moment long in the making and very important for some in attendance.

During her comments at the end of the meeting, council member Rachel Lord spoke about her appreciation of Case’s efforts.

“I want to thank Pat case for… supporting an issue he felt so passionate about,” she said.

In other news, earlier in the meeting Derotha Ferraro, Public Information Officer for South Peninsula Hospital, gave her COVID-19 update.

“I will say that we’re getting back to normal,” said Ferraro. “We have ample therapeutics to choose from, lots of proven infection prevention strategies, lots of vaccines available.”

Ferraro also noted that on Monday the South Peninsula Hospital re-opened its gift shop after two and a half years of closure due to the pandemic.

“So that is pretty darn exciting,” said Ferraro.

During the rest of the meeting there was little to no conversation on the adoption of other ordinances.

The next Homer City Council Regular Meeting will take place on Monday, Nov. 28 at the Cowles Council Chambers.