The Code of Community: It’s not about rules, it’s about how we treat our neighbors

  • By Tiffanie story
  • Wednesday, November 20, 2013 6:00pm
  • News
The Code of Community: It’s not about rules, it’s about  how we treat our neighbors

With Thanksgiving just around the corner my thoughts turn to community and the meaning of it. Maybe it’s because I find myself feeling sentimental, having given birth to and raised my two daughters right here in Homer. 

Our youngest, Zoe, is now a senior at Homer High School, and I know there is a good chance she will not be home with us next year at this time. She will be off experiencing new and exciting adventures elsewhere, but I do hope she takes with her the sense of community she has been brought up with right here in our little hamlet by the sea.  

To me, the community that it is Homer is made up of wonderful unique people who live and do business here. When a neighbor’s house burns down we immediately begin gathering donations of clothing, household goods and money to help the family start anew. When a beloved member of the community becomes ill or passes unexpectedly, our town grieves with those that knew them best and often fundraiser events are held to raise money for the family.  

If you are new to Homer there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. If you don’t have family living here, before you know it you will feel as though you do.  Homer is where, when you go to your favorite gift shop or grocery store, the people call you by name and ask about your family.

Yes, Homer is where my family has chosen to raise our children and the community we call home.

I think this is why it frustrates me, and others, when it seems as though some of our elected and unelected officials don’t understand the meaning of community and why it is that those of us living here choose to run our businesses and raise our families here.  

What strikes me is that much of the “regulation” and “code” that some claim is so important to enforce to ensure our “community” runs smoothly are not very neighborly or community minded at all.  

I believe it would serve them well to be reminded by those of us willing to do so, that Homer is not a better or more enjoyable place to live because of code enforcement against small businesses of our community over the size of one’s signage or for disallowing sandwich board signs (except for a certain amount of days of the year).

Homer, our community would be better served by thanking those who invest in their buildings and renovations, rather than “code enforcement” harassing these people at every turn. I, for one, enjoy watching the progress of a renovation done well whenever I’m driving through town.  

It has been said that we must run the city like a business. Well, my husband and I have been in business in this town for nearly 20 years and I can’t imagine treating our customers or clients the way the people in our town have been treated by our very own city. 

Consider the people’s homes that were flooded with sewer. As a business woman, I cannot imagine saying “sue us” believing that our attorneys would find a loophole that might get us out of having to make that right.  Or, in the case of the untimely and tragic death of the man owning and running the inn at the top of the hill, because of city code the family can no longer run it or sell it as a business.  

No, this does not seem very community minded or neighborly to me. Sadly, the list of injustices done to our neighbors and friends goes on longer than I care think.

I did not choose to raise my family here in the community of Homer because of its regulations and enforcement of them. It is because of the way neighbor treats neighbor.

It’s not because of a lack of plastic bag usage or because we only have one stop light. These are things the people of Homer may never fully agree on — and we don’t need to for Homer to be a special place to live.

At this time of year especially, consider what it means to be a good neighbor. Go out of your way to shovel the walkway for an elderly neighbor or deliver a meal to someone you know who is feeling under the weather. We will, of course, have ample opportunity to give to Share the Spirit and other organizations that support those in need in our community. 

As we do so, maybe we can be an example of the true meaning of community.

Tiffanie Story and her husband Chris have raised two daughters in Homer with current events and community issues as regular topics of discussion in the home. Tiffanie is co-owner of Story Real Estate and founder of 


More in News

Then Now: Looking back on pandemic response

Comparing messaging from 1918 to 2021

Damage in a corner on the inside of the middle and high school building of Kachemak Selo School Nov. 12, 2019, in Kachemak Selo, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Repair costs rise as school facilities deteriorate

About $420 million worth of maintenance is needed at Kenai Peninsula Borough School District buildings.

Golden-yellow birch trees and spruce frame a view of Aurora Lagoon and Portlock Glacier from a trail in the Cottonwood-Eastland Unit of Kachemak Bay State Park off East End Road on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)
State Parks to hold meeting on Eastland Cottonwood unit

Meeting will include update on Tutka Bay Hatchery bill

Renewable IPP CEO Jenn Miller presents information about solar power during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Company looks to build solar farm on peninsula

It would be roughly 20 times the size of the largest solar farm currently in the state.

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna Trooper arrested for multiple charges of child sex abuse

He has been a State Trooper in Soldotna since June 2020.

This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol. An Alaska state lawmaker was cited for driving with an open can of beer in his vehicle that another lawmaker said was actually his. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Lawmaker cited for open beer fellow legislator says was his

Republican Sen. Josh Revak plans to challenge the $220 ticket.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File
This 2011 photo shows the Taku and Malaspina ferries at the Auke Bay Terminal.
Costs add up as ferry idled nearly 2 years

Associated Press The cost to the state for docking an Alaska ferry… Continue reading

The Federal Aviation Administration released an initiative to improve flight safety in Alaska for all aviation on Oct. 14, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
FAA releases Alaska aviation safety initiatives

The recommendations, covering five areas, range from improvements in hardware to data-gathering.

AP Photo / Becky Bohrer
The Alaska Capitol is shown on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. There is interest among lawmakers and Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy in settling a dispute over the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend program, but no consensus on what the program should look like going forward.
Alaskans get annual boost of free money from PFD

Checks of $1,114 are expected to be paid to about 643,000 Alaskans, beginning this week.

Most Read