Can Commerce improve its tax digest and increase housing values by mandating larger houses? The Commerce City Council will try to figure that out at its “work session” meeting on Monday, April 7, at 6 p.m. at the Commerce Civic Center.
The Commerce Planning Commission voted unanimously on March 24 to recommend that the city council approve a series of amendments to its zoning ordinance that will require all new houses and apartments built in Commerce to be larger — and thus more expensive.
The planners want the city to increase the minimum square footage of new housing units in every category except R-1E as follows: up 400 to 2,200 square feet in R-1, up 600 to 2,200 square feet in R-2; up 600 to 2,000 square feet in R-3, and up 400 to 1,600 square feet in R-4.
With residential construction running at $100 per square foot, implementing the changes would increase the cost of new houses in Commerce by $40,000 to $60,000.
In addition, the planning panel voted to recommend that the city council amend the zoning ordinance to more closely regulate what kinds of building materials are used on the exterior of houses, apartments and townhouses.
Both moves, planning commission chairman Joe Leffew said, are aimed at increasing the value and quality of housing.
Leffew reminded his board of how Commerce housing values stack up compared to those nationwide, in Georgia and locally.
“What we found, unsurprisingly, is that our median house… is worth $68,000,” he said. “To give you an indication, the U.S. is $220,000. We’re about half of what the state is and half of what the rest of the county is.”
The city council will act on the recommendations on Monday, April 21, at 6 p.m. at the Commerce Civic Center. It can accept or reject any or all of the recommendations or send them back to the planning commission for reconsideration.
For the full story, see the April 2 edition of The Commerce News.