This map shows a proposed rezone from rural residential to urban residential for the lower West Hill Road area. The Homer Planning Commission recommended only rezoning the area east of West Hill Road, and the Homer City Council introduced an ordinance at its June 27 meeting to just rezone the east side. (Map courtesy of city of Homer)

This map shows a proposed rezone from rural residential to urban residential for the lower West Hill Road area. The Homer Planning Commission recommended only rezoning the area east of West Hill Road, and the Homer City Council introduced an ordinance at its June 27 meeting to just rezone the east side. (Map courtesy of city of Homer)

Homer council considers West Hill rezoning

East side of lower West Hill would be rezoned to urban residential

A rezoning of the lower West Hill area moved forward at the Homer City Council’s meeting on Monday, June 27. Without objection, the council introduced Ordinance 22-35, amending the Homer City Rezoning Map to change the area east of lower West Hill Road from rural residential to urban residential zoning.

With the council taking a summer break, the ordinance comes up for a second reading and public hearing at its July 25 meeting in the Cowles Council Chambers, Homer City Hall.

“The planning commission spent a lot of time on this issue, and held a public hearing that received quite a lot of feedback, particularly from property owners on the west side of West Hill,” said Council member Donna Aderhold. “And so it’s something that I will be very interested in hearing more from residents as we move this forward to the next meeting.”

The rezone covers the area south of lots on Reber Road and east of West Hill Road all the way to the Soundview Avenue area, merging with an area already zoned urban residential. That area has seen tremendous growth over the past five years, with new subdivision roads built on the lower east side of West Hill.

According to a memorandum from City Manager Rob Dumouchel, the 2008 version of the Comprehensive Plan recommended rezoning both sides of lower West Hill Road, but when it came before the Homer Planning Commission, strong opposition from west-side residents swayed the commission to recommend rezoning only the east side.

The major change from rural residential to urban residential would be increased housing density. Rural residential lots are limited to one dwelling unit per 10,000 square feet and urban residential lots allow one unit per 7,500 square feet. Urban residential zoning also allows duplexes and 3- and 4-unit complexes. Rural residential also allows agricultural uses like greenhouses, truck farming and nurseries. A fact sheet on the city’s website outlines the differences in the two zoning districts. The city website also has more information on the rezoning, including how to make public comments.

At the council meeting, members had no objection to introducing the rezone. Council member Jason Davis did ask about the process for considering adding the west side area into the rezone, and if that amendment should be made at the June 27 meeting. Mayor Ken Castner said that that night would be the time to make that amendment since it would be a major change and thus require a public hearing — the hearing already planned for July 25.

Council member Rachel Lord said that in her experience if such a major change was proposed, the council could add another public hearing later. Lord said the proposed rezone raises questions about how the city manages its land-use development.

“You know, one of my main concerns has been feeling like the city is five steps behind private development, and that’s a really junky place to be because we’re not forward thinking,” she said.

In a public comment at the end of the meeting, Karin Marks also noted that lack of forward thinking.

“From my perspective, the east end area that’s looking at rezoning — that’s just catch up,” she said. “It’s already built. It already looks urban, suburban — whatever you want to call it.”

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

More in News

Spencer McLean and his daughter, Emma McLean, show their support for Proposition 3, through which a new CES Station 1 would be constructed in Soldotna, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Blustery weather, average turnout mark municipal election day

Up for consideration this year were city council, board of education and assembly seats, as well as a handful of propositions affecting borough schools, emergency services and legislative representation

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander sits inside Kenai City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Ostrander to leave City of Kenai in January

Ostrander has served as the city manager since 2017

Melanie Hardin, right, greets the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s Board of Trustees before her interview for the APFC’s executive director’s job Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Juneau, (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Permanent Fund board picks new executive director

Trustees work overtime selecting from three candidates after interviews Monday

A sign welcoming visitors to the Literary Haunted House at the Kenai Community Library can be seen here on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
A sign welcoming visitors to the Literary Haunted House at the Kenai Community Library can be seen here on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion file)
Libraries host haunted houses, scary storytimes, seasonal crafts

It’s all about Halloween at Kenai and Soldotna libraries

Kenai Fire Marshal Jeremy Hamilton is seen by one of Kenai Fire Department’s Tower trucks on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 at Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Get up, get out and get safe’

Kids taught about fire safety as part of prevention effort

Bob Bird, left, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party, and former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman make the case in favor of a state constitutional convention during a debate in Anchorage broadcast Thursday by Alaska Public Media. (Screenshot from Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel)
Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Abortion, PFD factor into forum.

Carol Freas (right) helps a voter fill out absentee election materials in Kenai City Hall ahead of the Oct. 4 municipal election on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Absentee voting already underway

Absentee in-person voting has been made available across the borough

Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
What’s on the ballot: Reapportionment, new field house, school bond

Voters will decide on ballot measures that address schools, public safety and legislative bodies

Cars line up ahead of dismissal at Mountain View Elementary School on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. A bond package up for consideration by Kenai Peninsula Borough voters on Oct. 4 would fund improvements to the school’s traffic flow. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Parking lot problems

Lack of space for pickup and drop-offs creates traffic jam at elementary school

Most Read