Council Sends Microwave Tower Decision Back to Planning Commission

Aaron Selbig
In its application to the city, Kodiak Microwave System
says the tower would stand 160 feet tall

     The issue over whether or not to build a 160-foot microwave tower on the Homer bluff will live on for a while longer. In a decision issued last week, the Homer City Council is sending the matter back to the city Planning Commission.

     The company applying for the permit, Kodiak Microwave System, says the 160-foot tower would be located on a five-acre lot in the Eker Estates subdivision, near the top of East Hill Road along Skyline Drive. The tower would provide broadband internet services to the communities of Port Graham, Nanwalek, Halibut Cove and Nikolaevsk, as well as residents out East End Road. 

     Back in December, the city planning department recommended that the planning commission approve the plan for the microwave tower, which it did, unanimously. Ever since then, though, the issue has bounced around, ultimately landing in the lap of the Homer City Council, acting as the Board of Adjustment.

     The Board held a hearing April 15th, considering testimony from four residents opposed to the tower’s location and from Christopher Slottee, an attorney representing Kodiak Microwave System.

     After deliberations, the council, acting as the Board of Adjustment, decided to reverse the decision of the planning commission and send the whole thing back to the commission for another round of review. In a written decision released to the public Wednesday, the board said it based its decision on “new evidence” that has come up since the initial finding of the planning commission. 

     The board has instructed the commission to consider the impact the tower might have on impervious ground coverage and how that could affect water runoff and drainage in the area. The Homer City Code has guidelines for acceptable amounts of impervious coverage for structures. 

     The board also wants the commission to take a look at the tower’s proposed location, to make sure it complies with setback requirements and will “minimize the visual impact of the tower on neighboring properties.”

     No date has yet been set for another hearing before the planning commission.