The Commerce News
July 14, 1999
Embarrassment For City
Something is amiss with the Commerce system for zoning enforcement
if a proposal can get through the planning commission to the
mayor and council before anyone discovers that the plan is massively
out of compliance with the zoning ordinance.
Such was the case with the proposed planned unit development
(PUD) "Kensington Park" proposed by Broughton Cochran
for the Mount Olive-Ridgeway Road area. It came before the Commerce
City Council Monday night with a "do-pass" recommendation
from the Commerce Planning Commission.
Apparently, no one, including the planning commission, building
inspector or developer had fully read the PUD requirements in
the zoning ordinance. The proposal was in conflict with the PUD
provisions in the ordinance, and its handling by the planning
commission was muffed as well.
We'll write that off to the fact that this was the first PUD
to come before the planning commission, but let it be a reminder
for those involved to do their homework in the future.
The development itself, with a mixture of houses on small lots,
townhouses and a commercial strip has been a subject of concern
for area residents who worry over density, traffic, upkeep of
common areas and impact on the community. But since the neighbors
also recognize that the land is better used for residential purposes
than for anything else, the potential for compromise between
the citizens and the developer is quite good.
Any major development in Commerce is likely to attract resistance
and should draw careful scrutiny by citizens and government.
Part of the citizens' protection should be the city's thorough
knowledge of what can and cannot be done under the city's zoning
ordinance. Someone designated as the zoning administrator should
be knowledgeable about the fine points of the ordinance, and
the members of the planning commission should review provisions
of the ordinance under which they are expected to make recommendations.
The PUD snafu is embarrassing. Neither the city nor the developer
did their homework. In the future, let's be sure the city is
prepared and has a full understanding of what the zoning ordinance
The Commerce News
July 14, 1999
- Vacations Help
Going To Work
There's nothing like a good vacation to make you anxious to go
back to work. Indeed, probably the most important function of
the vacation is to make one realize how nice and relaxing work
is by comparison.
I have heard it alleged that people have taken vacations just
to relax, and have succeeded, but it has never happened to me.
Barbara and I experienced a lot more stress on our vacation than
our jobs produce. By the time I'd found a parking place at the
Atlanta airport as we left on our last trip, I was a candidate
for hospitalization. (Memo to self: avoid Atlanta airport whenever
Our vacation was just the two of us. A family vacation is much
worse, even if it's just a trip to the beach.
God did not intend for families to spend eight hours cooped up
in an automobile the size of your smallest bathroom while en
route to a destination never favored by more than two of the
four family members. If two are excited about going to the beach,
one would prefer to head to the mountains and the fourth is angry
about having to be with the other three.
Then, upon arrival where a second mortgage on the house has secured
a condo for a week, things finally go well. For as long as a
day. On the second day of a beach trip, the beach has become
boring. Father wants to go somewhere to fish. Mother and daughter
want to shop. Son wants to go para-sailing. Regretfully, there
is only one car, and it can go only one place at a time, much
to the frustration of at least half of the family. Father decides
to buy two six-packs instead of one.
Meals are exercises in stress management. If they are taken in
a restaurant, two family members are sulking because they would
rather be someplace else. If meals are cooked in the condo, there
is always mumbling about "why can't we eat out."
Children believe that it is written in the Constitution that
they should be allowed to avail themselves of every activity
offered on the Grand Strand, from scuba diving to bungee jumping
financed by Mom and Dad, of course.
During the first three days of the trip, Mom and Dad are trying
to get over the stress they incurred at work trying to get ready
for the trip. Unless you work on an assembly line, chances are
you have to do much of the vacation week's work in advance. Then,
the last four days are spent with the knowledge that once you
get back to work you're in for a hellacious week of catching
up and worrying about whether the house is still standing and
the pets are still alive. If it's a really good vacation, the
worrying also includes recovering from the expense.
Also, on a typical trip, the air conditioning in the condo or,
worse, your car, fails, you get booked next to a family whose
teenage sons are into heavy metal music or someone in the family
comes down with the chicken pox or mumps. Possibly all of the
By the time you actually finish your vacation, you're anxious
to return to the office. The first week will be hell, but once
it is over, you can settle into a predictable if not comfortable
A good vacation will make you thankful you have to go to work.