Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 8:52 PM on Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spit gets paid parking areas

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Photo provided

Long term parking is not allowed in the marked areas of the Homer harbor.

Where to park, how long to park and what to pay for parking were the subject of several ordinances and resolutions before the Homer City Council Monday night.

"There's two fees now that we didn't have before," said Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins. "One is for long-term parking, and that is for vehicles parked in excess of seven continuous 24-hour days. The other fee we didn't have before is for season passes for day-use parking in fee-parking lots at ramps 1-4. Now somebody can buy a season pass rather than have to feed the iron ranger every day."

The city council approved Ordinance 11-13(A), appropriating $15,000 to implement the long-term parking permit plan, with signs posted at the approach to harbor ramps.

"That allows us to take some money out of reserves to make the necessary changes to signage, posting and all that," said Hawkins.

Bringing city code into step with changes to the Spit parking plan was addressed in Ordinance 11-15.

It will be back on the council's agenda for a public hearing and second reading at the May 9 meeting.

A public hearing on Resolution 11-040, which will change the tariff to include a chapter on parking and fees, also was on Monday's agenda. It was adopted by the council to reflect the fees outlined in Resolution 11-036(A).

Held over from the council's April 11 meeting, Resolution 11-036 (A) passed unanimously. Councilmember Beth Wythe took exception to a parking fee being charged to individuals who also pay for a boat slip, but Robert Hartley of the Port and Harbor Advisory Commission pointed out the $100 annual permit fee applied only to boat owners leaving vehicles in parking areas for longer than seven days.

The fees as approved include:

• Parking fees to be collected at Ramps 1-4 from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Parking fee is $5 per calendar day. Posted parking time limited will be established and enforced per city code.

• Seasonal permits for day use parking, ramps 1-4: $250.

• Long-term parking permits are required for vehicles 20-feet or less parking in excess of seven consecutive 24-hour days.

• Long-term annual parking permit (January 1-Dec. 31) fee: $200.

• Long-term parking annual permit fee for vessel owners paying annual moorage fee: $100.

• Vehicles more than 20-feet and trailers are not eligible for long-term parking permits.

• Long-term parking will be enforced year-round.

• Parking lot restrictions for long-term parking, May 1-Oct. 1, as depicted in the above photo.

• Existing code definitions for restricted parking, vehicles, junk vehicles and fines for violations apply.

• Fines: $25 per calendar day.

In studies done of Spit parking, the biggest challenge was long-term parking or vehicles left longer than seven days.

"We simply don't have the room," said Hawkins. "This will eliminate vehicles left or stored here."

A $25 fine also should help get the point across, with impounding of vehicles a last resort.

"Most people are open," Hawkins said of a fee schedule. "They just want to know what the rules are."

A new vehicle will soon be filling the harbormaster's parking spot. A 5-to-1 vote, with Kevin Hogan voting in opposition, approved Resolution 11-044 and the $30,722 purchase of a Ford Escape Hybrid from Kendall Ford of Wasilla. It will replace a 16-year-old Ford F150 pickup with more than 140,000 miles on the odometer. Hawkins is the fourth harbormaster to drive the 14-miles-to-a-gallon vehicle.

"A lot of brands are really fancy. We wanted a government special, as plain-Jane as you can get. Ford was the one of few that fit the bill," said Hawkins of the model.

Newspaper advertisements and fax-back bids sent to five dealerships drew only two responses, with Kendall Ford the winning bid.

Clarence Hughes and Rod Castelda of U.S. Bank presented a report on earnings of the city's permanent fund investments. In the first 10 months, the $1.4 million initial investment has an increased market value of $164,000 as of March 31.

"I'd say that's pretty healthy overall. ... This is one of the most important things we've done," said Mayor James Hornaday, acknowledging the efforts of Permanent Fund Committee members Matt North of Edward Jones Investment, Finance Director Regina Mauras, City Clerk Jo Johnson and councilmembers Beth Wythe and Barbara Howard.

The next meeting of the Homer City Council is scheduled for May 9, with the Committee of the Whole meeting at 5 p.m. and the regular council meeting at 6 p.m.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.