Country star at wit's end in land rights dispute with aggressive Homer group - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, October 16, 2019
HomeThe 907Country star at wit’s end in land rights dispute with aggressive Homer group

Country star at wit’s end in land rights dispute with aggressive Homer group

HOMEOWNERS REQUEST VACATING EASEMENT TO PREVENT STALKING, CLIFF FALLS

Zac Brown is a wildly successful musician, an accomplishment that has brought him a degree of celebrity he must deal with daily as he travels from show to show with the Zac Brown Band. It goes with the territory in the entertainment business.

The country music star says he is also a regular guy, with a wife and five children. When he purchased property in Homer, Alaska, he hoped to provide a normal life for his children as they grow.

But his little piece of paradise in the Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea has become the target of a few locals, some of whom Brown named on a radio show this week: John Fowler, an Anchorage man who owns adjacent property below Brown’s land, Willy Dunne, who serves on the Kenai Borough Assembly and lives off of East End Road, and Michael Armstrong, a writer at the local Homer News.

Between the three of them, they’ve made Brown’s life a living hell as they send people up to Brown’s property to try to establish a trail that they call “historic.”

At least that is how Brown has described the situation on the Michael Dukes show. He decided to take his case to the listening audience after getting the impression the reporter from the local newspaper was against him. Armstrong had repeatedly printed photos of the Brown home under construction and had given readers explicit instructions for how to reach it, and it seemed to Brown he had created a purposeful flood of lookie-lous.

According to Brown, Fowler was trying to sell him some adjacent property for double the market value. When Brown decided he wasn’t interested at that price, Fowler said he would start sending people up to Brown’s property along the section line easement, a 10-foot span along the side of his land. A witness of the encounter corroborated Brown’s story to Must Read Alaska.

Brown said Fowler enlisted the help of Assemblyman Dunne and Armstrong to harass him.

Brown’s property sits at the end of a dead-end road on a bluff above the town of Homer. In addition to the property where he is building his house, he purchased several lots below, to protect the privacy of his family.

The property belonging to Fowler is also below him. Fowler and his friends claim the public has legal access to the section easement and are trying to build a case for making it a public trail.

Brown said Fowler is simply trying to build a trail to increase the value of his own land, which he has named “Canyon Trails,” as part of his marketing package to prospective buyers, and to attack Brown’s sense of safety in order to force him to purchase his land.

“I’m the golden ticket so he can get them sold,” Brown said.

The matter of the easement is in the hands of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, which will consider the decision of the borough. The borough’s planning department says it has no need for the easement and is willing to vacate it.

In fact, the State Department of Natural Resources has said there is no historic trail there.

But Roberta Highland, who is with the Kachemak Bay Conservation Society, says that the section line easement should remain open. She is relying on a pamphlet written in 1994 that described a trail in the vicinity. According to that pamphlet, the trail route changed from time to time, depending on the conditions.

According to Brown, the trail group are producing maps and sending people up to Brown’s land to harass him and his family, causing him to have to bring his children inside to escape the lenses of celebrity seekers. Instead of privacy, he’s been hounded by the campaign fomented by Dunne and Fowler, and aided by Armstrong. He feels they’ve made him a prisoner in his own home.

He also said he has video of Assemblyman Dunne trespassing on his property, and that Armstrong has been complicit by repeatedly putting a photograph of the log home, under construction, in the newspaper.

“Carloads full of people — 12 cars a day come down our road and it’s not a pass-through road. It’s intentionally way off the cut,” Brown said. Others who live nearby said Brown has underestimated the number of cars now going down the road, and that over 50 cars are now common, most of them taking pictures of Brown’s home.

“His (Fowler’s) realtor comes with nine people, they loiter around my house and walk through my construction. I’ve been painted as an antagonist,” Brown said. “I am not someone who feels good about being extorted.”

Someone even spray painted on Skyline Drive the letters “ZB” at the intersection that leads to his and two other houses at the end of the road.

Brown described how his young son came into the house distraught after he saw the graffiti, fearful that people “were hunting my daddy.”

The one thing that Brown values most is his family’s safety and privacy, he said. But when the local paper publicized his name, rather than using the name of the limited liability corporation that he purchased the property under, and when the paper published photos of his house, his privacy started to vanish. Trespassers became common.

Brown said one man with a baby in a backpack came up the steep slope, which is more than 57 percent in one place, and the baby fell out of the backpack and tumbled; the man tumbled as well. The baby could be heard wailing for 45 minutes afterward. Another man and his horse tumbled down the cliff as he made his way up the section line.

It’s a safety hazard, Brown said, not a safe historic trail like it’s being portrayed.

Plus, it’s his property.

The Zac Brown Band is based in Atlanta, Georgia, but Brown said he wants to spend much of the year in Homer, where he has invested in a local business, and where he loves the community. He just doesn’t love way some are violating his rights.

The matter of the property rights vs. trails through the Gruening Vista West Home Owners Association will be taken up at the Aug. 12 meeting of the Borough Planning Commission, at the Navarre Administration Building in Soldotna. The commission will be considering the recommendation of the borough’s planning department to vacate the easement. The meeting starts at 7:30 pm.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Why in the world would a country singer with a band headquartered in Atlanta want to relocate to Homer, AK? Didn’t he do his homework first, and due diligence? Homer is Alaska’s version of Boulder, Olympia and Sausalito. Left-wing wackos who hate Republicans and Donald Trump, and love money, free stuff, weird music and strange art. Hippies who did little with their personal lives, and now congregate in a small community where they can take marijuana and LSD communion together, while hoisting buckets if merlot. Bunch of wacked out throwbacks and losers from last century. The nuts, fruits, and Democrats of Homer will harass this man and his family until he eventually leaves. When you visit Homer, take pictures, spend no money and leave ASAP.

    • Have you ever been to Sausalito? The people you describe can’t afford to live there and that’s been true for at least 35 years.

    • Yes. And my husband still rides that section with his horse and says it’s steep but no problem for a good horse and anyone can hike it.

      • If your husband is riding on Zac Brown’s property your husband is trespassing. There are no trespassing signs posted and there is no trail through his property. The myth of a trail has been debunked and the State has rejected any claims of a trail.

    • Dear Paul
      you are full of it, We are liberal, but we have worked hard for our money just like you. We don’t want anything we have not worked for.
      And we are not drug takers. You paint us with a broad brush. We that want a historic trail left alone by some rich dude, who because he has money thinks he can do what ever he wants.

      • The trail was the first road to the skyline area. That is how it came to be.
        A new road was built later and that is what you see today.
        It is no surprise that you can’t find records on it because no one kept any.
        If you checked the borough tax records you should see this road on Bill Fletchers property. He was there before the road we use today. That was how he and others got back and forth to town.

  • This group uses extortion, lies, stalking, trespass and even lowered themselves to causing trauma to a 5-year old child. Anything to further their financial, political and anti-private property ideals

    John Fowler (developer) johnfowlerski@gmail.com

    Michael Armstrong (Homer News) marmstrong@homernews.com

    Willy Dunne (KPB Assembly) wdunne@kpb.us
    Members of Friends of Dorothy Drive trails , FaceBook, Hosted by Willy Dunne

    Roberta Highland (President, Kachemak Bay Conservation Society) kbayconservation@gmail.com

    Extortionists? Eco-Terrorists? Liars? Perpetrators of false information?
    Or all of the above

    Send them a message: This is Alaska, This is America. We do not need your attacks on property rights.

    • Thanks to Suzanne for this article, which the Alaska dailies would never report on. Our not-so-diplomatic comments are already in the transmission lines to these e-mail addresses. Mary: do you have their physical addresses too. We may want to take a few photos…… from the public street. We may even carry a political sign with a message to them.

    • We should use the tactics of the left and harass these guys in public places and get in their face at every chance and do it at their homes. Picket their business. The left calls it “Bird Dogging.”

      • Good job Andrew and Mary!
        This is really an injustice with 3 cranky old men bullying a young man and his family!
        Shame on them! Miserable people! ZB is bringing money AND community support to a business that can only help your town! He has 5 beautiful children that now have to be watched even more carefully than they were before! He moved there for peace. Leave them alone! You should know better! Big, old bullies! GROW UP!

    • I stand with the Brown family. Everyone should be entitled to privacy without having to jump through hoops to get it. Good luck on Monday, Zac.

    • Thank you for all the positive comments. Please take a moment and let those awful people know how you feel.

  • Actually Homer tends to be about 51% conservative in voting. Many of us are life long Alaskans who pre-date the influx of socialist nut-jobs who have moved all over our State. Unfortunately, most of us conservative types have something else to do with our time. So those who prefer to “sponge while stoned” can spend all their free time either protesting, applying for more free stuff, or voting for people like Dunn (remember the Devil Worshiper Invocation ) … Why Armstrong has gone off the tracks is beyond me. He used to be a fairly even handed journalist. Sadly, a bunch of small town left-wing nobodies will now think they are really somebody important by inserting their names into a meaningless squabble with a guy who just wanted some peace and quiet. By the way, there was never an old historical trail in that area. I grew up on the bottom of the bluff. Most of the current trails date from the last 20-25 years.

    • ??

    • Alex the pilot, we may know each other or not but my family has over 80 years of history using that trail and we were not the first to use it so I don’t know how you can say it isn’t a historic trail. Not only did we use it in the 1930’s but also the 40’s.50’s and 60’s. My cousins used to live at the top of Bear Creek Drive and snow machine up to the homestead in the winter all through the 60’s. People have been using it with horses for all those years. I have pictures, written history and land plats to show it. We don’t want to invade Zac Brown’s privacy but were trying to find some compromise with him to keep the access open but he wouldn’t talk to any of us just regular people, just talked through his lawyers until the radio show. I have my own land up here and am no land nazi, we work with our neighbors so they have access to land around the hill, all of our neighbors do up here. We had hopes that Zac Brown would be the same kind of neighbor but it doesn’t seem to have gone that way.

      • Oh good does that mean i can pick some of the high bush blue berries on your land ( that one bush just off skyline} as your friend comes over here to pick low bush on Zacs lot?

      • I thought that trail was to the west.
        Were we all trespassing on the old Watermelon trail for all those moose hunts and beer parties?? Maybe,, , maybe not back then. We used to hunt where my house is now. Back before the all the houses and roads. Unless you have a time machine, you can’t do it now.

        • No, that trail was right where people are saying it was and the easements around our property will always stay open. Do you ever snow machine out to Carbou Lake? If so then you know that took community compromise and a lot of work. And no, people have an access right but no right to firewood or blueberries off his property. There are laws that govern all of these things.

      • Your claim has been debunked by the Department of Natural Resources of the State of Alaska. There is no trail. If you walk, hike, horselike ride, run, or in any way go on his land you are trespassing. Secondly, a section line is not a trail. It is an easement for the purpose of a landowner to be able to get to his parcel if there is no other access to the parcel. Millie Martin applied to the State with her anecdotes and the State rejected all of her claims. Your talk of a trail is a false narrative. Do not trespass on property that you do not own.

      • Scott Huff, KPB Planning, said historic trails can fall under a section of federal law called RS 2447 that can establish right-of-way. He said that according to his research, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources looked at a nomination to do that in 1995.
        “After researching the trail’s history, it was rejected,” he said.

    • Amen Brother!

  • This is the group that uses extortion, lies, stalking, trespass and even lowered themselves to causing trauma to a 5-year old child. Anything to further their financial, political and anti-private property ideals

    John Fowler (developer johnfowlerski@gmail.com

    Michael Armstrong (Homer News) marmstrong@homernews.com

    Willy Dunne (KPB Assembly) wdunne@kpb.us
    Members of Friends of Dorothy Drive trails , FaceBook, Hosted by Willy Dunne

    Roberta Highland (President, Kachemak Bay Conservation Society) kbayconservation@gmail.com

    Extortionists? Eco-Terrorists? Liars? Perpetrators of false information?
    Or all of the above.

    Send them a message: This is Alaska, This is America we do not need your attacks on property rights.

  • Zac, Sorry you are having to undergo this extortion by the local jerks. This is NOT the Alaska I was born into over 69 years ago. Wish you good luck at the hearing to vacate.

  • I respectfully disagree that anyone who would question where any of us decide to live in the pursuit of happiness. As free people, we as individuals can decide where we live and no one else. While I have never met Mr. Brown or his family, I believe he has as much right to choose where he will live and spend is time as any of the rest of us, without this kind of harassments. Who are any of us to question this? I see this as much bigger issue. This is about our basic liberty’s, and one of the cornerstones of our republic and society. Its about our property rights. If theses people were to be successful with this action, all property owners fundamental libertiess are at risk. To many of us, its very clear what this is all about. With all these trails come comes the opportunity by certain groups to control future land use through easements. Control the land, control the people. This is well explained in a book published in 1848. Per the first and fourth plank of the Communist Manifesto.

    1) Abolition of property in land and the application of all rents of land to public purposes.

    4) CONFISCATION OF THE PROPERTY OF ALL EMIGRANTS AND REBELS.

    To the progressives, its about the commons, as they look at the rest of us as emigrants and rebels. Its about equal material wealth. Its about how dare you have more success than I. Its about the sin of envy. To the Brown family, I could care less what your political afflation is, and its none of anyone’s business. I am sorry you came here to be treated like this, but this is not just a Homer issue, this part of a bigger national issue. And to any land, or property owner in the state of Alaska. They are coming for us, our property, and our republic next. I stand with the Brown family, and its time to fight.

    • Respectfully, Americans lost their private property rights in the Kelo v. New London Supreme Court Decision. The conservative majority decision.

      • Oh yea, those bastions of conservatism… Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Beyer and Kennedy.

        Nice try at rewriting history.

  • I stand with the Brown family also. I would press charges if anyone trespassed on my land, and he should do the same.
    The people involved in making his life miserable should be ashamed, shunned, and called out in public.

  • This is not unique to the eco-Nazis in Homer. There are property owners on the Anchorage Hillside having to endure the same onslaught of people ignoring no trespassing signs and insisting they have a right to cross the private property to reach adjoining Park land and trying to have their paths declared public trails. Just more guerilla theater and lawfare from the tolerant left.

  • Prior to Zac’s purchase the land 64 persons walk near his land in 77years… ….so A known person buys it and and a bunch of envious, greedy, persons and one who stands with Satan (hi Willy Dunne)has to cause emotional harm to children…

    Crazy pretending that there is some historical trail in an attempt to extort and justify harassment.

    This is crazy and a show of intolerance once again by a leaders who want power and control and a simple minded followers wanting attention who join up to live out a warrior campaign they only normally get to be invoked with when sir in the dark with a joystick in their hand.

    These are dangerous people who seek to intimidate and harass others. Far too often such persons have pushed pass just making a statement, to doing physical harm.

    Anyone of them could have purchased this land before Mr. Brown did, prior to Mr. Browns purchase these historians did not care to hike it, and named it only due to a celebrity having moved there.

  • Dammit! This is why we can’t have anything nice!

  • Zac,
    Welcome to Alaska…
    The state of perpetual “trail wars”.
    I had a good friend who left the state after a similar situation in Willow.
    The mushers claimed they had a “historic trail” in the powerline ROW across the corner of his land.
    Every day he tried to work on his land they would parade nearly 20 barking Huskies in front of their ATV’s across his property….sometimes a dozen teams a day.
    My friend eventually decided the hassle was not worth the fight and he returned to the lower 48 disappointed with the far north.
    My advice is to build a tall fence around your property and “post it”…add a few large barking dogs on the other side.
    There are many needing good homes across AK, I am sure your local animal shelter has a few that would be psyched at the opportunity.
    Like Robert Frost once said: “Good fences make Good neighbors.”

    • I don’t want to quibble on your main point, but anyone who uses that line from Frost to argue in FAVOR of fences likely hasn’t read his poem.

      MENDING WALL
      By Robert Frost

      Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
      That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
      And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
      And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
      The work of hunters is another thing:
      I have come after them and made repair
      Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
      But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
      To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
      No one has seen them made or heard them made,
      But at spring mending-time we find them there.
      I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
      And on a day we meet to walk the line
      And set the wall between us once again.
      We keep the wall between us as we go.
      To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
      And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
      We have to use a spell to make them balance:
      “Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
      We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
      Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
      One on a side. It comes to little more:
      There where it is we do not need the wall:
      He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
      My apple trees will never get across
      And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
      He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
      Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
      If I could put a notion in his head:
      “Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
      Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
      Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
      What I was walling in or walling out,
      And to whom I was like to give offense.
      Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
      That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
      But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
      He said it for himself. I see him there
      Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
      In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
      He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
      Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
      He will not go behind his father’s saying,
      And he likes having thought of it so well
      He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

  • But if he buys the adjoining land now there would still be the public access right? I mean the horse is out of the barn now. If he loses the case he will have to move. Smacks of that guy that was writing a book about Sarah.

  • Below is a link on youtube you can listen to Chris Story as he interviews Zac Brown on his radio program in Homer over this land issue.

  • Welcome to Homer, Zac. You have every right to enjoy your private property rights. Wishing you success in your vacation request. I have sent email of support to the borough. I’m a local REALTOR who strongly believes in private property rights

  • Everyone seems to be missing the point that the easement was there before he bought the land. He knew it and bought anyway. Now he wants it gone because he wants more privacy. There was a reason the borough left the pedestrian easement and that was so the public could still access property and trails that would otherwise be blocked.
    I’ve dealt with John Fowler one time years ago Over property and he was straight up in his dealings with me.
    This sounds like someone who thinks that they are so famous everyone should give in to his demands. If he wants safety build a fence and keep the kids in it. Quit falsely claiming to worry about people who might fall down the hill.

    My family and I had 160 acres in the Bridge Creek area from back in the mid forties until the early 2000s and there were trails all over that country that most don’t know about because they don’t go walking or riding a horse anymore.
    Easement was there so suck it up Zac.

    • The easement may have been there, but likely not used in the way it is now being used by so many people, just to try to see someone famous. Were there signs posted previously to direct people to this little used stretch of land? Fowler is trying to deceive people in order to sell his property for more than it’s worth. Unless a legitimate use can be proven for the easement – besides violating Brown’s privacy – it should be vacated. Good luck Mr. Brown!

      • Hang in there Brown family. I m almost 70 and was born and raised in Alaska as were my parents. Shame on those that are invading tour life for selfish reasons. I’m so sorry. I hope you can get this resolved and to those of you who are behind this – karma is a bitch.

  • S.l. Do you even understand why the section line easements exist? Sound like you are a typical idiot who thinks they are throughways for all the public to enjoy. No they are there to provide access for public to public lands and or waters, also for private land owners to have access to their lands. There already exists public rights of way on either side of Mr. Brown’s lands. This meets the state’s requirements for a section line to be removed. But you didn’t know that did you…idiot.

  • BM
    I always like it when someone starts calling me names.
    Means even they know my argument is strong and theirs is weak. Frustrating for you? I’m not all star struck.

  • SL – Continue to dream.

  • I should be his neighbor because I’ve never heard of him.

  • This sounds very familiar…. members of this same group have twisted facts and gone to extreme measures to block my family from constructing a medical clinic on my property. 5 public hearings later and I am still fighting appeals submitted by the same lunatic (who is closely affiliated with an entity that views this as financial competition). Michael Armstrong publishes articles on the front page of the Homer news repeatedly; however, he does even attempt to interview me or anyone supporting the project. Maybe it is time for Zac Brown and persons like myself to establish a real newspaper with real journalists that can present issues without their own personal bias in this town. Good luck in your efforts… from my experience, the planning and zoning commission (at least in Homer) is a reasonable group of people; however, I suspect that you will continue to be plagued with appeals from the fringe lunatics that have an agenda of their own but camouflage it as a public issue

  • That poor poor millionaire…being forced to go through due process while he is off touring the country…my heart is breaking ….LMAO….

    • There is nothing wrong with due process; however, this has nothing to do with being “a millionaire”….this about a family that has the same rights to privacy as everyone else. Your derogatory comment by definition defines you as one who judges character not by the person but instead by whether they have more than you. Remember, the taxes he pays here help finance the infrastructure that rest of us use. His “touring the country” is no different than the majority of my friends that “toured the north slope” every two weeks for the last 30 years or my other friends that “toured” Prince William Sound or Bristol Bay every year sacrificing time with their families at home in order to make a living. I have no idea what you do for a living; however, if you are fortunate enough to be able to go home every night and not have to work away from home you should be thankful and not let you envy or jealousy show toward others

      • I swing a hammer everyday, and have nothing personal against this fella…it’s the pearl-clutching tone of the article I find ridiculous, not the situation, which is pretty mundane stuff….

  • I think it’s interesting that there is only one side of this story represented when I thought good reporting presented two sides. We have no monetary gain at stake in the Trail controversy however my family has been using that historical trail since 1938. My father packed a winter’s worth of groceries up the hill to our homestead in 1938 and every year since our families used that trail for access to the both East End Road and up to Skyline Drive. We have all skied it, used snow machines and horses. I am no nazi land person and have our own land in the vicinity. But to say this was not a history trail is not the truth. I think if Zac Brown would build a fence around the side of his land that faces the section line then he would have his privacy and the public would have traditional access because the section line is public, not private. An added thought is that I deplore people who purposely invade his privacy, they should leave him alone. We are neighbors of his and have never invaded his personal space but would like to continue using the public section line as we have for 81 years.

    • The DNR disagrees with you on this, Sonja. In 1995 the state said there is no historic use of that property as a trail. The historic trails are now established across the state, and you can’t just add to the list because you want a trail or because your family used to walk that line.

      The DNR trail plan was published in 2000, and the department had already five years prior ruled against the Mary trail nomination as an historic trail, and in its list of historic trails, did not include it. The plan noted this, however:

      Landowners have expectations as to how they use their own land and what other uses they might be willing to accommodate. Some of the things landowners legitimately fear are loss of control over allowed trail uses; liability; loss of privacy; vandalism and other crimes; and sanitation and litter problems. If a recreational trail creates a perceived or real problem for a property owner, the owner may consider relocating the trail, prohibiting public access altogether, allowing only selected uses, or specifying when public use can occur.
      Landowners are leery of possible lawsuits that might arise if someone gets injured on their property.

      To say your family has been using that property since 1938 would be like saying your family used to do barbecues on the land that Mr. Brown owns, and therefore you want to be able to continue having your annual weenie roast next to his house.

      • well said

        • I have family members in Anchorage who are facing similar situation. Their neighbors are involved in lawsuits over people trying to take their land for public trails. The land was for sale for years and could have been purchased for public trails but why buy it?
          Just wait for a private citizen to purchase it to build their dream home, then steal it one easement at a time. Public officials have been caught trespassing. When police are called, instead of arresting trespassers, police were told to stand down by someone higher up. Why are their rights being ignored? I would like to see Mr. Brown and these Anchorage families get together. I am sure their are many others too.
          “Strength in Numbers”

      • Perhaps you didn’t read the whole comment, I said in continuous use since 1938. And we are talk about keeping a section line open, not intruding on Zac Brown’s private property. If you would have an honest discussion there might be a good resolution.

        • “my family has been using that historical trail since 1938” direct quote from your comment. Secondly, there is no historical trail as you claim. There is a section line easement. A section line easement is for the purpose of accessing a lot that has no other access such as a road. It is not for skiing, horseback riding, snow machining. Thirdly, It is all his private property including the section line easement.

        • I agree. They keep twisting this to make it sound like people are wanting to trespass on his land and take something from him when all they want to do is use an existing easement. Was this a problem before Zac decided to move into the neighborhood?

          I’m not thrilled that I have a section line on one side of my remote property that runs between mine and the neighbors property. But I knew it was there when I bought my property. I also knew people might use it.

          While I don’t ever remember using the disputed easement my dad lived and went to school at the old school house just beyond the Bridge Creek dam back in the 1940s. He says the trail was there then though it meandered around a lot. He said the section lines were followed because of them being cleared already and most people had started using them when originally looking for their property corners and then just continued as it was convenient and kept them off others property.
          My dad said that he slid down this in the steep spot on a horse during a heavy rain that made everything slick.

          • Any one who has a section line easement running on their property can follow the same procedure and apply to the State for a vacation of a section line easement.

    • “But to say this was not a history trail is not the truth.” That is a balled face lie. The State of Alaska rejected any and all claims of a historic trail. The Millie Martin booklet was rejected by the Department of Natural Resources as a source of criteria for designation of a trail because of lack of any valid corroboration or evidence of legitimacy. Regardless, the vacation of a section line has nothing to do with a trail. There is no trail on this 1500 feet of section line.

      • yes we only have one side of this story. Apparently there is a section lone easement. so you are correct Brown needs to vacate it. There is a process for doing this. I have no idea why a person who is concerned about his privacy would go on two radio shows. This is a simple issue that he could take care of with a surveyor and lawyer. Brown comes off like a drama queen. Country boy needs to cowboy up.

        • You are mistaken. Zac Brown has hired a surveyor and a lawyer and is in the legal process of having the section line vacated. The State has already recommended vacation and the process is moving forward. He went on a radio show because there is an organized group who misrepresent the truth and refuse to accept that a section line easement is not a trail.

        • I’d never heard of Zac until listening to him on the radio show. My interest was peaked just because of all his whining about poor picked on him. Made me actually laugh and I asked someone else if they knew who this idiot was. Had to look him up and one of the first things that came up was the hotel room, hookers and drugs and him claiming he had no idea. Begging the cops to keep his name out of the report so his wife and 5 kids wouldn’t find out.
          I say let the process play out and I’m sure happy he isn’t my neighbor. I’m sure he needs a safe place to hide from all those hookers and drugs that want to party with him.

  • The Quaint Beautiful Town of Homer has a big day tomorrow. This decision will affect every person who calls Homer their home. This decision will determine what kind of town Homer wants to be known for. Do you want to be known as a friendly welcoming town where the rich and the poor can live harmoniously with each other and mingle in the community together. Or do you want to be known as an unfriendly town. A town where people did whatever they could to harass a man and his family who have dreamed about making Alaska their home for years prior to coming. Do you want to be known as an intolerant town who hates. Zac Brown has done nothing wrong to deserve the treatment he is getting from Willie Dunne and his minions. Zac Brown is not asking for special rights, he’s just asking for the current law to be followed. Just as much as any other property owner in Homer. Zac Brown has shown the facts, but the radicals don’t believe the laws apply to them. They believe they have the right to trample on another person’s property simply because they want to. Zac has been a good neighbor. He has the support of every neighbor on the easement section line. Zac has been investing in the community. Zac has created jobs for the locals. Zac has played music for the locals. Homer, your reputation hangs in the balance. Do the right neighborly thing and allow this man to enjoy his dream of living in Alaska.

  • The Homer News’ Michael Armstrong made this a public story. It was Willy Dunne who trespassed on Zac Browns property videotaping and taking pictures and bringing many people with him. And encouraging others to trespass on his property. This issue is much bigger than the parties now. It has been brought to the public’s attention, and it is about private property rights in Alaska. This is the place to debate such serious issues that could have repercussions on we the people,It should never even be an issue to begin with. The laws have already been settled before Zac Brown moved in. It is Willy Dunne and his minions who decided to stir things up and put a stay on the easement line that had already been settled. Willy Dunne and The Homer News are responsible for making this story go viral. This issue has not been brought to the legislators and voted on making a new law. Willy Dunne decided to circumvent the law because it happens to be a famous singer that Dunne chose to harass.The nasty ones here are Willy Dunne and his nasty minions. Willy Dunne should be investigated for abuse of powers as he had no right to get a stay on this easement. Investigate him now to see if he used his powers in a fraudulent manner.

  • I guess this is how our state and republic will be destroyed. Our institutions have become corrupt, and corroded, just like our DoJ, FBI, and our court system. In Homer they have weaponized our local school board, SPH BoD, Child Protection Services, city council, and every thing else they touch. There is no more equal protection under the law, unless of course you have the letter D printed on your voter ID. The local newspaper is not here to report the truth, but to slander anyone who get in between them and their Marxist utopia. And how KBBI, and the Homer Arts Council maintains their IRS tax exemption status is beyond me and everyone else in town. They are like a pack rabid pit bulls with a frothing mouth full of mayonnaise. Looking back 50 years on the peninsula, I cannot recall anything like this before. Its getting ugly out there, and its not going to get any better. I think they know they are losing and about to run out of political card to play. My only question now is where this is all going to end up. Think ill mow the yard.

  • Poor Zac and his family. Have you all heard of the “Adverse Possession” Rule? It states, simply,
    that any person or persons who have used a certain stretch of land as a trail for SEVEN years
    without the legal owner telling them not to any longer, or fencing people out, may continue to
    do so, and after seven years, the owner can no longer tell them they have to stop using that
    trail. If this “trail” across Zac’s land has been used continuously, as some claim, then they
    cannot be forced out. Is this the case? Or is there really a trail that has been in continuous use?
    So landowners, if someone wants to use your land to go from point A to point B, and you have
    let them do that for seven years, you’re out of luck shutting the gate, according to Adverse
    Possession law.
    Hmmmm…reminds me of our Legislature. They think they can intimidate everyone and make
    up new laws. Zac, we’re not all like these evil people in Homer. You build that house and enjoy
    life in Alaska. Welcome to the Last Frontier!

  • I have always enjoyed Zac Brown’s music, however I would not know him from Mayor Bozokowitz in a Police line up, unless of course the Mayor was wearing plaid as he does when he runs for Statewide office. That said, the larger question is what is happening to Alaska? We used to be more Egalitarian , our small towns forced us to be. We couldn’t field a basketball team if the kids from the housing project were excluded. Wealth and fame didn’t mean much then and shouldn’t now, who cares if a new comer moves to town? Give him the same respect you would want.

  • Alaska private property owners only have one right, to pay taxes. My sister and I fought a 7-year quiet title battle with DNR and lost. DNR won a 100′ RS2477 easement, a 20′ prescriptive easement (in a different location) on our parents homestead established in 1958 and the State collected over $225,000 for their litigation costs. Because we were the plaintiffs in court, we were seen as the complainers trying to block public access. Over the span of 40 years we had various documents from State DOT and DNR representatives stating we had no easements on our property; one court decision, and now we do. State laws and the court favor trespassing; our game camera photos were used by the DNR to show how many people were using one of the easements. DNR promised the photos would not be used in court, the court allowed it, but the court could not distinguish the photos of the property owners, owners friends, and even legal council that were shown in the photos. We had “no trespassing” signs posted on the property since the 1960’s. The court found that as evidence of property owners being hostile toward the public. Public available LIDAR images show where the historic trail is located 2 miles north of our property; DNR did not present that information to the court. The court found historic documents and maps not useful in locating the historic trail and instead used contemporary evidence. The court recently received a whistleblower letter from a DNR employee; letter says the State basically lied about several key facts in the case. Neither the court or State will investigate. I was born in Alaska and I am disappointed that private property owners have no protection from trespassers and public agencies that want to take property through the use of easements.

  • I never heard of him.

  • This is off DNRs site. It also says that you can’t post any no trespassing signs on the right of way but must be outside of it.

    Whenever private land is subject to public easements, there may be tensions between the two sets of rights. Phase 2 will seek to resolve these conflicts so that each of the parties can benefit from the right or rights that it owns. The law is clear, however, that landowners do not have the right to block public access on a public easement across their property. DNR’s regulations can’t change that legal relationship, nor would DNR want to.

  • https://www.facebook.com/aklandowner/

    This Facebook group is trying to fight for private property rights in Alaska. A lot of members are dealing with the same issues and we are stronger and louder when allied together. Please like and follow!

    • Sorry, no adverse possession law applies to an easement taking. AP applies when a single party continuously, uses an apparently abandoned property for 10 years or more. Other legal requirements must also be met by statute and/or common law. However, a prescriptive easement may be used to keep a trail opened, even if it is under private ownership. The owner must have noticed all users of the old trail by posting a sign and closing the trail for one day each year. Otherwise, a legal easement may be created, precluding the property owner from claiming exclusive use as to all others. If ZB wants a welcome stay in Homer, he might consider posting signs on the easement section and providing notice to all, that an easement is granted, but can be reclaimed by the owner. He can exercise property rights, but still be a welcome resident by allowing access at certain limited times of the day for hikers only.

  • The properties along the top of the bluff have been legally and safely accessible via a nice maintained road ( Skyline Dr ) for almost half a century, if not longer. So the whole {we need the old homestead access trails} story would seem to hold about as much water as a screen door. Some folks simply want free recreational trails on other folks property.

    Yes it would be cool to go back to the Homer of 1969.
    Other than the powdered milk, bad roads, State Income Tax ( yeah we had one) and clothes from the Cabin Shop in A.P. that looked like Forest Service hand-me-downs.

  • Michael what has happened to your integrity??
    You have always stood for right in the past. You wouldn’t want to be harassed or your family.
    Do unto others as you would want them do unto you. Proverbs
    What have Dunne and Fowler got on you? Two wrongs don’t make a right. They are wrong and is just wanting to live in privacy like I did and you do.
    Former resident and friend
    Gloria Corey

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