Council postpones action on East End Road rezone

The Homer City Council directed council member Gus Van Dyke to do some more work and revise his proposed ordinance that would have changed the zoning to East End Mixed Use for a corridor of properties along East End Road from Lake Street to Kachemak City limits. If passed, the rezone would allow activities like heavy equipment storage, junkyards, welding shops and boat shops in area now zoned rural residential, residential office and urban residential.
Van Dyke said his intent was to have the eastern access road to Homer mirror the zoning of the western access, the Sterling Highway Gateway Business District. The Gateway Business District allows activities like hotels, restaurants, churches and offices, but not light or heavy industrial use as allowed in the East End Mixed Use zoning district.
“This would be a huge benefit for the landowners to have multiuse and use it to the best advantage,” Van Dyke said. “We would get more business in town and collect more taxes.”
At the Committee of the Whole meeting before the regular meeting, the council and Mayor Beth Wythe discussed Van Dyke’s ordinance. City Planner Rick Abboud pointed at two maps showing how the current zoning map did not follow precisely the recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan.
“We can change it to this,” he said, pointing to the Comprehensive Plan map and then the zoning map, “Or leave it like that.”
Abboud said that if council did want to consider changing the whole area to East End Mixed Use, it would want a long lead time. The ordinance also should go to the Homer Advisory Planning Commission, he said, something the ordinance language had set out anyway.
Much of the area from Ben Walters Lane to Spencer Drive includes residential neighborhoods as well as Paul Banks Elementary School.
“They’re going to be very concerned about something like this,” Abboud said of people living in that area. “You’re going to hear from them.”
Van Dyke said the ordinance was a starting point in spurring discussion about adding other uses to the area.
“If I said ‘East End Multi Use,’ it’s because I wanted to have multiple use,” he said.
After discussion, Wythe suggested Van Dyke’s ordinance be postponed so he could rework it and make the ordinance more compliant with the comprehensive plan. Council member Barbara Howard made a motion to that effect, with Van Dyke seconding, and the council agreed to the motion with no objection.
In other action, the council:
• Passed an ordinance establishing a five-year limitation for filing ethics complaints and a one-year limitation after discovery of the violation;
• Sent to the Homer Advisory Planning Commission for its review a zoning ordinance proposed by council member Francie Roberts to allow Farmers Markets as a conditional use in the Central Business District and General Commercial 1 and 2 districts. The ordinance was amended to add “open air markets”;
• Appropriated $6,000 from the Port and Harbor Fleet Reserves to buy a used, four-wheel drive pickup truck;
• Appropriated $99,274 from city reserve funds for natural gas conversions in city buildings;
• Extended the prisoner meal service contract for one year to the Homer Senior Center;
• Awarded a three-year contract for the Public Works gravel supply to R/C Land Improvement of Anchor Point for $37,682 for 2014; and
• Approved a resolution proclaiming Homer to be a Green Dot Community.
The council’s next regular meeting is at 6 p.m. May 27, a Tuesday, following the Memorial Day holiday.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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