Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:38 PM on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Council passes new site development standards



BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
STAFF WRITER

As the saying goes, water flows downhill. In an ordinance passed Monday night, the Homer City Council put in place new regulations that keep too much water from flowing where it shouldn't. The ordinance also regulates fill standards for some lots.

Ordinance 10-54 passed without objection and no public comments at the council's regular meeting. Storm water plans had been required in commercial business districts, but the new ordinance extends that requirement to residential districts. Generally, single-family homes won't need storm water plans, but larger projects like apartment buildings, schools or churches would need storm water plans.

An example of a plan is the collection pond at the Homer Public Library, where runoff from parking lots and roofs is directed into a pond before going into the storm water system. Lots that move more than 1,000 yards of material, creates slopes steeper than 1:3 and creates a total height of 10 feet or higher also would be regulated.

The fill standards of the ordinance regulate what can be included in fill and how it should be graded. For example, tree stumps that originate on a property can be used as fill, but stumps cannot be brought in from other lots. A homeowner putting topsoil on a lawn won't be regulated, but fill more than 3 feet deep over more than 25 percent of the lot would require a grading plan.

The city council also:

• Introduced on first reading an ordinance enacting a $10 tax to do business in Homer. Council member Kevin Hogan introduced the ordinance to try to collect sales taxes from business trying to fly under the radar. Hogan said he felt the ordinance drafted by city attorney Tom Klinkner went too far.

• Introduced on first reading an ordinance transferring $184,000 from the Harbor Reserve and $173,000 from the Water/Sewer Reserve to the Energy Revolving Loan Fund and creating a $900,000 budget for energy conservation funds. If spent, the money would implement energy conservation measures that would reduce costs and pay back the funds.

• Advised City Manager Walt Wrede to proceed with a Transfer of Responsibility Agreement, or TORA, with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities for the Homer Spit Road. That agreement would allow the city to enforce parking and right-of-way use on the Spit. The council also advised Wrede to talk to DOT/PF about a proposal by the Economic Development Commission to create a temporary turn lane on Ocean Drive by the Farmers' Market to help ease traffic congestion on Saturdays. The lane would be created by removing a bike and pedestrian lane.

Public hearings on the city business license and the energy conservation measures will be held at the Jan. 25 regular meeting starting at 6 p.m.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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