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Doyon appeals decision on proposed hotel development

A street sign at the intersection of B St. and Bay Ave. on Dec. 27, 2023. A hotel development proposed by Doyon requires vacating the B Street right of way south of Bay Ave.
Jamie Diep
A street sign at the intersection of B St. and Bay Ave. on Dec. 27, 2023. The Homer Planning Commission rejected a permit application for a hotel development that requires vacating the B Street right of way south of Bay Ave.

Alaska Native corporation Doyon, Limited filed an appeal on March 1, after the Homer Planning Commission rejected its application for a controversial planned unit development. Located at the base of the Homer Spit at what was called Lighthouse Village, the proposed development includes a hotel, employee housing and five triplexes.

It garnered significant public attention as the commission discussed what to do. The commissioners voted down the application 5-1, with Commissioner Mike Stark being the only assenting vote.

City Clerk Melissa Jacobsen, who is now also the acting city manager, said the process to file an appeal starts with her.

“Typically, what they do is they would file an appeal with the city clerk” she said, “I would review it for content to make sure it meets all the requirements of city code. And then from there, I would go, I would work with a hearing officer with the office of administrative hearings to assign a hearing officer who would hear and make decisions on the case.”

The city’s planning commission must explain the legal basis for decisions regarding conditional use permits, or CUPs. In this case, Planning Commission chair Scott Smith said the proposed development violated city code by being larger than 75,000 square feet.

Doyon representatives were unavailable for an interview. However, the company’s notice of appeal asserts that the zoning code Smith cited only applies to wholesale and retail businesses – or big box stores.

It also claimed other findings from commissioners were wrong, and pointed out Commissioner Brad Conley stated there was an inconsistency in using an application for the planned unit development for a CUP application. But, according to city code, those types of developments require approval through a CUP.

At this point, the city has 120 days from the date of filing to schedule a hearing. The state’s Office of Administrative Hearings will provide an officer to make a decision on the appeal. Jacobsen said this meeting will be open to the public, but people can’t contribute to it.

“People are wanting to send me comments to get to the hearing. You know, that's not, that's not something that's allowable through this process,” she said.

If the hearing officer approves the appeal, the planning commission’s decision will be reversed and remanded, meaning the commission will need to discuss the application again and make a new decision. If the appeal is denied, then the commission’s decision stands. At that point, Doyon has the option to appeal it to the state’s Superior Court.

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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