Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 3:51 PM on Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Council approves Kachemak Drive water, sewer project



By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

After numerous delays, a Kachemak Drive neighborhood of boat yards, luxury homes and beach shacks finally got water and sewer. Monday night, the Homer City Council approved resolutions authorizing formation of the Kachemak Drive Phase Two Water and Sewer Improvement/Assessment District, accepting a $2.1 million Alaska Clean Water Fund loan and awarding a $3.5 million contract to Herndon Construction of Homer to build the project.

"I can't wait for Carey (Meyer) to come back from vacation to tell him Kachemak Drive is going ahead," said Homer City Manager Walt Wrede. Meyer is the city Public Works Director.

The city had approved the project last fall, also awarding a bid to Herndon Construction, but Herndon then asked to withdraw its bid because of an error in calculating construction costs. When the new bid came in, property owners had to be polled to see if they accepted the $33,539.32 per lot assessment. A majority did so. Several lots that had been split by construction of Kachemak Drive were assessed only once under a 2006 resolution.

Under an amendment introduced by council member Beth Wythe, the council also exempted Jan Needham's property from the assessment district. Needham's lot is 100 feet back from Kachemak Drive and does not front the road. Wythe said two other similar lots had been exempted. Needham had asked the city to be exempted, but didn't get a response.

"She has been given a deaf ear and a blind eye," Wythe said of Needham's situation.

"I've waited six years to hear this," Needham said after Wythe raised her issue.

The council also rejected an appointment by Mayor James Hornaday of former council member Doug Stark to the Homer Advisory Planning Commission. Council member Barbara Howard asked that appointments to various commissions be pulled from the consent agenda. Those appointments were separated out by commission. Several citizens wrote letters opposing Stark's appointment. In a 1-5 vote, the council voted down the appointment, with council member Kevin Hogan voting in approval.

The council did approve appointments of Monte Davis to the Economic Development Advisory Commission and Barbara Howard, David Lewis and Beth Wythe to the Port and Harbor Improvement Committee.

The council also appropriated $5,000 from the Karen Hornaday Park Phase 1 Account to the Homer Foundation to support community efforts to create a new improved playground at the park. That money will be used as seed money by a park advocacy group, the Homer Playground Project, or HOPP, to organize fundraising and other efforts.

"This is really grassroots at its best," Angie Newby said in support of the appropriation. "Remember, we're going to have free labor, lots of energy."

In other actions, the council

• Passed an ordinance authorizing the Parks and Recreation Commission to solicit donations in support of parks projects,

• Passed an ordinance revising city code and requiring multi-unit buildings to have a water meter for each unit,

• Passed a resolution keeping the current city water and sewer rates, and

• Awarded a contract to the Caribou Restaurant to provide meals to prisoners at the Homer Jail.

The council will take its next regularly scheduled meeting of the second Monday in July off and meet again on July 25.

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

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