City Will Not Appeal Ruling In Castner Case

Ariel Van Cleave

     Homer city officials will not appeal a decision made by a Kenai Superior Court judge regarding the city’s special assessment district. Ken Castner filed a lawsuit last March after he said his condo was unfairly assessed within the HSAD.

     Judge Charles Huguelet ruled in favor of Castner last month after agreeing with his argument that his Kachemak Bay Title building was “disproportionately assessed” by the city of Homer. Castner is part owner of that building, which is split up into condos. At the time the opinion was released, City Manager Walt Wrede said he was surprised.

     Also at that time, Wrede said the city council would need to discuss the matter further before deciding how to go forward. In a new release from Wrede’s office, he wrote “The City is reasonably confident that it would prevail if the decision were appealed.” He continued: “The City reviewed the costs and benefits of filing an appeal and concluded that on balance, it was in the overall best interest of the community to accept the judge’s decision and move on.”

     Wrede said officials must now decide how to assess the Kachemak Bay Title building in a way that will make it “proportionate.” He also said the city council will look at all condo buildings and review them individually to determine if those should be assessed differently as well. 

     At the time the opinion was released, Wrede said there were 113 condos that could be affected by the ruling. All of this could affect the assessment rolls and the amount individual lot owners will owe when the final assessment is approved later this year. Wrede mentioned property owners could see a bump in their rate in the neighborhood of about $100. 

     Though Wrede pointed out the final construction costs also will play a role in that final assessment bill. The current amount for each lot owner is about $3,200, which will be paid over a 10-year period.