Deed restriction should be retained

Dear Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission, 

My wife and I live near the former Homer Middle School, 450 Sterling Highway, Tract No. 2. We wish to express concerns about the proposed change in deed restrictions on this property. 

The current deed requires that the city use the land for the benefit of the citizens of Homer. Removal of this restriction could open the door for development or land use that would not benefit Homer. The city does not state their reason or intent for the release, only “possible” ones. Although money can buy land, it cannot replace it. Once spent, it is gone. This property currently serves our  community. 

A second concern is the many ways a change could affect the school. Presently the property is used by the kids and provides a controlled environment  for their activities. Commercial development of this property would not serve our community, our children or the school. Homer residents have repeatedly chosen quality of life over short-term profits. We urge you to support this paradigm. 

Since the deed restriction calls for the property to be used for the benefit of all Homer residents I believe the decision to change this is an issue for all the residents of Homer to decide rather than only a few select people. 

Finally, if the city can change deed restrictions without putting it to a general vote, future donors may be reluctant to offer land intended for one purpose that may be later changed to another. When the city accepted the  property the agreement was that the land be kept “in perpetuity” for  “public purposes.” Are we to understand that “perpetuity” means only 14 years? 

We ask that you please deny this request. 

Tom Irons and Jeanie Aspen