The Homer City Council on Monday amended a request for proposals to limit inquiries of its use to only the southeast two-thirds of an 11-acre lot zoned marine-industrial on the Homer Spit. That lot also contains Pier One Theatre, which leases the lot and an old warehouse building, and a city campground. Earlier, the council had proposed soliciting ideas for use of the lot so as to gauge commercial industry for activities such as a barge haul-out facility.
In an amendment by council member Francie Roberts, the council removed Pier One and the campground — the northwest one-third of the lot — from a resolution seeking requests for proposals.
In his report, City Manager Walt Wrede said Pier One could not make a proposal on using the lot for recreational uses. Only marine-industrial uses would be considered, he said.
“It was a shock to see that probably we won’t be able to make a proposal to stay there, and that probably it will all be marine industrial, and there is no ability for it to be open-space recreational,” Barb Petersen for Pier One Theatre said at the meeting.
Petersen mentioned as historical background that in 1985 Pier One had been asked by the city that if an old warehouse became available, would the theater want to use it?
“We decided to give it a go. It must still have been marine industrial property at the time,” she said. “Anyway, they said we could be there.”
The conundrum with the lot is that it was purchased by the Port and Harbor Enterprise Fund, with the idea the lot would raise revenues for the fund. If the lot was subdivided and rezone to allow open-space and recreational use, Mayor Beth Wythe and others have said the enterprise fund should somehow be compensated.
In making her amendment, Roberts said the request for proposal shouldn’t be seen as driving Pier One and the campground off the lot.
“Let’s get realistic and say ‘We have this area available.’ We need to delineate where this will be,” Roberts said.
The council also approved resolutions awarding $11,000 each to Moose Run Metalsmiths and Melisse Reichman for art to go on the extended Homer Spit Trail. Moose Run, which also did the metal sculpture of the Kenai Mountains hanging behind the council desks, will build a sculpture of a halibut circle hook while Reichman will make a sculpture of a humpback whale.
In other action, the council:
• Accepted Alaska State Legislative grants for $4.2 million for harbor projects and $2 million for a Port and Harbor building and a Skyline Drive fire station;
• Passed on first reading an ordinance appropriating $181,000 received in oil and gas property taxes from the Buccaneer Alaska jack-up rig Endeavour-Spirit of Independence to the Homer Permanent Fund. Some council members disagreed if this should be defined as a “windfall” and go to the Permanent Fund or into the general fund, but agreed to give it a hearing and second reading.
• Passed on first reading an ordinance dedicating port and tariff fees of $576,000 from the Endeavour’s stay last fall and this year to the Port and Harbor Depreciation Reserve Fund.
• Approved a resolution granting a land sale and easement and driveway agreement to Harmon and Pauli Hall, owners of the Pioneer Building and lot on Pioneer Avenue;
• Authorized $12,000 in funding for phase 1 of the Tidal Energy Incubator Project;
• Authorized the city manager to dispose of used and surplus Deep Water Dock fender units;
• Awarded a contract for $1.8 million to North Star Paving and Construction, Soldotna, for the Homer Deep Water Dock and Spit Trail Extension project, and
• Advised the city clerk to schedule a vote on whether or not to repeal the plastic bag ban at the next regular city election on Oct. 1. City Clerk Jo Johnson had asked for guidance on if the council wanted to hold a special election earlier at a cost of $4,800. The council voted not to hold a special election.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.