City Faces Lawsuit Over Condo Assessments

Ariel Van Cleave

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     At least one condominium owner has filed suit against the City of Homer for the way it has assessed condos as part of the Homer Special Assessment District, or HSAD. 

     Ken Castner is part owner of the Kachemak Bay Title building and says his condo will be assessed six different times. At a rate of $3,283 each, that will bring his total financial burden to just shy of $20,000. The city’s assessment rules allow officials to count condos individually rather than as a single lot like an apartment building.

     Castner has spoken at city council meetings against the assessment and says filing a complaint in Superior Court is his next step to getting equal treatment and protection. He filed suit March 4th, one week before the city revealed two additional legal opinions that agreed with how City Attorney Thomas Klinkner had interpreted state law. Castner says he isn’t satisfied with those opinions.

     "These aren't unbiased legal opinions," he said. "These are things that are ... an adversarial opinion ... supporting the city's case."

     He says people have been encouraging him to file for an injunction to halt the project, but he stresses he doesn’t want to go that far. 

     "I'm for natural gas coming to Homer," said Castner. "I think the city has made a complete series of missteps on how they did it. I think they've really done a lot of damage to ... the social fabric of the town."

     Castner says no other condo owners have joined him in his lawsuit and he isn’t sure if anyone will. He also points out the city has not responded to his filing.

     Michael Armstrong of the Homer News reports City Manager Walt Wrede received a summons last Thursday notifying him of the lawsuit. The case has been assigned to Kenai Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet. There is no date set at this time for a hearing.



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