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City of Homer kicking off comprehensive rewrite with open house

Sabine Poux

The City of Homer is kicking off rewriting its comprehensive plan with a visit from Agnew::Beck Consulting during the week of March 25. The weeklong visit includes meetings with the city council, staff, the planning commission and the port and harbor advisory commission, as well as holding an open house for the public to bring their feedback

The comprehensive plan shapes the city’s growth over the next 20 years. The city council approved a contract with Agnew::Beck last fall to go through a two-year process of rewriting the plan and changing Title 21 — the city’s zoning code. The city also created a steering committee that began meeting regularly last month. The new comprehensive plan and any zoning changes would have to be approved by the city council.

Agnew::Beck principal/owner Shelly Wade is part of the team of consultants working on the comprehensive plan. She said her team will meet with the city council, as well different commissions and departments to provide updates on the project and to gather feedback. She said community input is important to creating the plan.

“The primary purpose of all next week is to kick off the process and hear some preliminary feedback from and get some initial inputs from residents, from community leaders from organizations, businesses, to hear from them, what are the big kind of priority issues or opportunities that they see for the Homer community over the next 20 years,” she said.

Agnew::Beck has around 2 decades of experience in rewriting comprehensive plans across Alaska. In addition to Homer, it is currently rewriting the Haines Borough Comprehensive Plan. Wade said part of Homer’s plan that stands out is creating scenarios that show how different ways of growing will affect the city.

“The community has an opportunity…to inform those scenarios and then also to weigh in on what scenario they like best or maybe have different ideas for a different scenario,” she said.

While in Homer, Wade plans on speaking with as many groups as possible around the city, including the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Guiding Growth, a group of community members who have hosted conversations on how to grow the city. Wade is looking to find groups and people who are embedded in the community. While much of the plan revolves around how to plan for the city’s growth through land use, Wade said the plan goes beyond just what the city’s government can do.

“Ultimately, there's a plan that is completed, but it is not only those things that the city can do that are included in the plan,” she said, “it also includes those actions or goals that might be implemented or led by a different organization.”

Wade has several more site visits planned to continue gathering feedback. The final plan will be completed by the end of the year. If the council approves it, Wade’s team will work with the city next year to rewrite its zoning code to reflect the plan.

The open house will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 28 at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

A full list of events and contact information can be found at the comprehensive plan website.

Jamie Diep is a reporter/host for KBBI from Portland, Oregon. They joined KBBI right after getting a degree in music and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. They’ve built a strong passion for public radio through their work with OPB in Portland and the Here I Stand Project in Taipei, Taiwan.Jamie covers everything related to Homer and the Kenai Peninsula, and they’re particularly interested in education and environmental reporting. You can reach them at to send story ideas.
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