Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 8:48 PM on Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kranich resigns seat as planner


In a move that stunned his fellow commissioners at the March 16 meeting of the Homer Advisory Planning Commission, longtime civic volunteer Ray Kranich resigned at the end of the meeting.

Kranich said the main reason he resigned was in response to comments made by Homer City Council member Kevin Hogan at the March 14 council meeting about an ordinance tightening up zoning regulations in rural residential districts.

In voting against the ordinance, Hogan said he did so "to send a message to planning to quit screwing around."

Council member Francie Roberts defended the planning commission, saying they weren't screwing around but trying to help. At the end of the council meeting, Hogan apologized for his harsh words, saying he had been a little cranky lately.

"I understand commissioners have a tough job to do and are doing their best," Hogan said.

At the planning commission meeting, Kranich said commissioners have taken decisions seriously in creating regulations of how people can and can't use their land.

"For me as a lifelong resident to sit here and have, as far as I am concerned, 'Johnny Come Lately's' say to send the commission a message, that individual can come fill this chair tomorrow," Kranich said.

Kranich, 70, is a lifelong Homer resident and a graduate of the Homer High School class of 1958. His father, Bob Kranich, came to Alaska in 1927 and settled in Homer in 1935. The Kranichs built the Homer Family Theatre and homesteaded on Diamond Ridge.

Hogan has been in Alaska 37 years.

"This whole Cheechako-Sourdough thing gets under my skin," Hogan said in response to Kranich's comment. "I've seen a lot of people run out of this town because of this attitude."

Hogan said his comments were not intended as a personal jab at anybody.

"I have a lot of love for Ray and appreciate where he's at," Hogan said. "He might have been a little cranky, too."

Still, Hogan said he remains critical of planning in Homer.

"It doesn't negate the fact that we seem to have a lot of problems that arise from the planning department," Hogan sad. "I think we really need to take a look at letting the borough do it."

Kranich said he was OK with the council amending the ordinance or sending it back to the planning commission. At the March 14 meeting, the council voted to continue discussion on the zoning ordinance changes to the March 29 meeting.

"I don't think — especially at this stage in this life — I don't need to subject myself to that type of demeaning comments," Kranich said. "The first time is on somebody else. The second time is my own damn fault. It ain't gonna happen."

Planning Commission Chair Sharon Minsch said Kranich would be missed.

"Mr. Kranich has set a fabulous example for all the commissioners," she said after Kranich announced his resignation. "He has been my right arm, left arm and the third leg of the stool that makes up the planning commission."

Kranich served on the planning commission since January 2005. Previously, he was on the city council from October 1997 to 1998 and November 1999 to October 2003, and on the Port and Harbor Advisory Commission from December 1988 to February 1995 and November 1996 to October 1997.

Kranich said he plans to spend more time working on a historical book about his parents and their time working for a livestock company on Unalaska in the 1920s.

"I've got a lot to look forward to," Kranich said. "I don't need to be studying packets for the city."