Zac Brown Loses Petition to Limit Access to Alaska Property
A petition from country singer Zac Brown and three neighbors that requested to limit other neighbors' and the general public's access to their properties in Homer, Ak., was voted down on Monday (Aug. 12). The artist claims via testimony in a public meeting that a different neighbor, who wants to create a public trail on a section of land near Brown's home, is bullying him about the matter.
According to reporting from the KSRM Radio Group, Brown and Dorothy Drive neighbors Richard Koskovich and Peter and Kathleen Zuyus petitioned the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission to get rid of walkways that run along the edges of their properties. “I’m not interested in the public coming up to my home, people snooping, walking up to my windows. I’ve had to sell property for this reason,” Brown said in Monday's public meeting, noting in the petition that he purchased both the property on which he recently built his home and several lots around it in order to "protect the privacy of his family."
Brown and his neighbor's requests started in the summer of 2018, the Homer News reports, when they asked to turn their section of Dorothy Drive into a gated community because of "safety concerns caused by curious fans." They later withdrew that request, but their newly vetoed petition cited similar concerns. In May, Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Corrie Feige issued an order to temporarily close the area in question while Brown and company's petition was considered due to "recent vandalism" and "in order to protect public safety [and] public and private property," the Homer News reports.
John Fowler, another neighbor of Brown's, and some other residents are trying to make the walkway in question a public trail. During Monday's meeting, Brown told attendees that Fowler "told me that if I didn’t buy his property, or allow him access through my property to build his trail system that connects, that he was going to make it hard on me and start broadcasting that is where I live.” Brown says that his address has since been made public in a Homer News story about the matter, and that Fowler sent him "two threatening emails ... one of which said I'm not going to like how this turns out and I'm on thin ice."
"I don’t respond well to being bullied, I don’t respond well to be being extorted, I don’t [like] somebody coming and telling me they are gonna to have their way with my property or my home without my consent," Brown added.
Brown also accused Fowler of recruiting Willy Dunne, a Kenai Peninsula Borough assemblyman, to oppose the petition. Dunne maintains that although he knows Fowler, he was not "recruited" by him to vote down Brown and his neighbor's request.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission voted Brown and his neighbors' petition down 5-4. If they want to continue to make their case, they can submit their request and the planning board's decision to the state of Alaska for review.
Brown and his band, the Zac Brown Band, have been spending their summer on the road. They will release a new album, The Owl, on Sept. 20.
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