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Harbor and Beluga Slough projects get funding while city council rejects short term rental ordinance

Sabine Poux

The Homer City Council approved legislation to move city projects forward while putting an end to a contentious short term rental ordinance.

The council approved resolutions to fund multiple projects. One put $34,505 in additional funding towards Coble Geophysical Services, LLC for the Beluga Slough Green Infrastructure Project. Another resolution granted a contract to Galaxy Welding of $10,667.50 to create a port fish carcass trailer.

Despite all of the approvals, the city council also voted down Ordinance 23-61. It would require short term rental operators to get a permit for their rentals. Since last December, the city’s Economic Development Commission and Planning Commission has taken in public input to see what changes needed to be made for the ordinance.

While the city staff and both commissions recommended postponing the final decision and to consider a modified ordinance, the council decided to vote it down entirely. Council Member Caroline Venuti says she wanted to take care of the ordinance that night.

“I just want us to say tonight what we want,” she said, “think postponing doesn't work for me.”

The council did pass other ordinances that were up for public hearing. Ordinances 24-12 and 24-13 will put funds towards HDR Engineering and Alaska Harbors Consulting, LLC to apply for a grant. The money would replace two float systems in the city’s small boat harbor.

Ordinance 24-14 will put $16,156 towards purchasing a bi-directional amplifier system for the Homer Police Department and microwave links for the city’s repeaters. While the project did get approved in 2021, City Manager Rob Dumouchel says a staffing shortage and supply chain issues delayed working on the project until this year, when prices have increased.

“Prices change over time,” he said, “so even if we want to be in early, they, you know, a lot of, a lot of pricing and inflation has shifted, and so that's, you know, not our favorite thing to have to do, but that's the reality of where we're at then.”

The council also introduced Ordinance 24-15, which will put $41,950 from the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act grant toward replacing the harbor’s fish grinding building.

After rejecting it last November, the city council approved the mayor appointing Jessica Williams to the city’s parks Art Recreation and Culture Advisory Commission.

Outside of legislation, the council heard presentations from Representative Sarah Vance, Sofia Loboy with the Kenai Peninsula Resilience Coalition and Nine Star Education and Employment Services.

The Homer City Council will meet again on March 11.

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.