News in Brief

Planning panel holds hearings on subdivisions; discusses pot regs

The Homer Advisory Planning Commission holds two public hearings at its next meeting on Dec. 2. The commission also continues discussion on regulations regarding cannabis. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Cowles Council Chambers, City Hall. 

One hearing is on an application for a conditional-use permit to build four duplexes on a 1.89-acre lot on Calhoun Street. The property owner proposes to build four buildings for a total of eight housing units. A CUP is required for more than one building containing a permitted principal use on a lot in the Urban Residential District. The street is platted but not yet built and would be constructed from Danview Avenue to access the lot.

Another public hearing also is held on a proposed three-lot subdivision of Dehel Street at the top of Main Street near Bayview Park. The subdivision would split the current lot into three smaller lots.

The commission also will continue a public hearing regarding proposed zoning and other regulations for cannabis operations in Homer. City Planner Rick Abboud said he will have recommendations regarding the number of cannabis establishments for the commission to consider at the Dec. 2 meeting.

At its last meeting the commission recommended that small-volume cultivation of cannabis be allowed in the East End Mixed Use zoning district and that a CUP be required for cultivation on lots more than 20,000-square-feet in the Rural Residential zoning district. A motion to not allow retail sale of cannabis in the Marine Commercial zoning district on the Homer Spit failed because of a lack of a majority in a 3-3 tie vote.


Burning Basket case charge filed

The Kenai District Attorney’s office last Friday filed a charge against a Homer man alleged to have vandalized the Homer Burning Basket, “Reach: A Basket of Remembrance and Unburdening,” on or about Sept. 13. Elias J. Graham, 18, faces one count of fifth-degree criminal mischief. Graham will be served a summons to appear at the Homer Courthouse at 9 a.m. Dec. 15, but will not be arrested.

Fifth-degree criminal mischief is for tampering with or damaging property of another worth less than $50. Homer Police said Graham confessed vandalizing the basket in two attempts. First he tried to burn the basket about 12:30 a.m. Sept. 12 at Mariner Park on the Homer spit, but bystanders put out the fire. At about 3:30 a.m. Sept. 13, police said Graham put a tow line around the basket, tied it to his truck and sped off. That pulled the basket off its base, tearing it to pieces. 

Part seasonal marker, part community celebration, the basket is an annual community art project facilitated by artist Mavis Muller. Starting the Monday before, it’s built over six days, with hours of volunteer contributions. After the basket was destroyed, in a Herculean push that day, volunteers spent much of Sunday, Sept. 13, rebuilding the basket from salvaged parts before it was ceremonially burned that night.

Fifth-degree criminal mischief is a class B misdemeanor punishable by no more than 90 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine.


Courthouse closed Friday

Because of budget cuts, the Alaska Court System, including the Homer Courthouse, is closed on Friday as well as the regular Thanksgiving holiday. The court system also will be closed Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. The court will continue to conduct arraignments and emergency proceedings on these days, but most judicial officers and court staff will be on unpaid leave. Courts will remain open and accessible for emergency proceedings on Friday and Christmas Eve.