Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 3:44 PM on Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beauty in eyes of the beholder; what's wrong with these signs?

By Sean Martin


Photo by Michael Armstrong

Under the city's new sign code ordinance, North Country Charters in the Cannery Row boardwalk on the Homer Spit exceeds the allowable amount of signage.

Turns out the beautiful, hand crafted sign that has been on my charter office for more than 25 years does not meet the criteria of the new sign ordinance. I am miffed, to say the least. I personally like the eclectic and eccentric signs of the various seasonal businesses on the Spit.

It seems to me that anyone can come to the Planning Commission with their personal views of what they want the businesses in Homer to look like and if enough people are persuaded then a sign ordinance can be crafted to their liking.

Seasonal businesses in Homer have always struggled. What would you rather see: for sale, for rent and for lease signs?

Those are all indicators of businesses that just aren't making it and have decided to move on. The city should be falling all over itself to help each of these Spit businesses succeed. The amount of tax revenue my little charter business generates for Homer is just amazing for the amount of square footage I use.

I think that all signs in Homer at the present time should be grandfathered in at their present size and any new businesses that come in can meet someone's preconceived ideas of what this Cosmic Little Hamlet By The Sea should look like.

By the way, I have been operating on the Spit for the past 34 years and nobody has complained about my signs until this ordinance came out.

You want to clean up Homer to your liking? You can start with that eyesore of derelict boats and junk halfway down the Spit. Whoops. Turns out every time I drive by, there is a parked car and someone taking photos. Huh. Must be Homer. Eyes of the beholder.

And another thing. This continual raising of taxes and fees has got to stop or at least slow down. The city of Homer does not compete with anyone so its prices for various services can be whatever management feels is necessary to raise funds for whatever projects come to mind.

Some of these fees, however, directly affect my business. I cannot pass all the costs along to my clients because that would significantly raise my prices and I am competing with dozens of other business just like mine.

So think before you lay another layer of costs on me.

Sean Martin is the owner of North Country Charters on the Homer Spit.