Church bells

Church bells could soon be ringing again in Commerce following action on Sept. 27 by the Commerce Planning Commission.

The board gave a recommendation of approval to a decibel level variance for Commerce First Baptist Church to install a digital system that would chime bell sounds in town. Todd Chandler, the church's minister of music, said that unlike real bells, the volume of sound with a digital system could be controlled.

"It's been a long time since we had church bells ringing in Commerce," said vice-chairman Andre Rollins about the system.

The church plans to install a 3,200 watt Carillon Bell System with four quad-flute outdoor speakers that reproduce the sounds of heavy bells.

In its letter of intent, the church said the reason for the system is to "bring inspiration to the community and church."

The church is proposing to chime on the hour  from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays with a short hymn and noon and at 6 p.m.

On Sundays, the plan is to chime at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. and on the hour from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. with a short hymn at both 12:15 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The chime system could also be used for special occasions, such as weddings, funerals and holiday events.


In other action on Sept. 27, the planning board gave a thumbs down to a proposal to rezone 10.8 acres on Mt. Olive Rd. from manufacturing (M-1) to multifamily housing (R-4) for 25 homes.

The board cited several problem with the proposal, including a dangerous intersection where three roads meet, the lack of greenspace and a question about the availability of water and sewer for the project.

Several area neighbors spoke against the proposed rezoning.

The board also voted down a request for a subdivision plat approval at 168 M.L.K Jr. Drive  to allow three existing lots to be divided into five lots for housing to be built by Habitat for Humanity.

Planning staff pointed out issues with road access and setbacks. Planning board members also said there may be graves on the property, but no survey of that had been done.


In other action, the planning board:

• tabled a proposed annexation and rezoning of 22.5 acres at 1532 Ridgeway Church Rd. from A-2 to M-2.

• approved a rezoning of .55 acres at 3787 Old Maysville Rd. from R-2 to C-2 for a hydraulics shop.

• approved annexation and rezoning of .57 acres at 593 Lathan Rd. from A-2 to R-1.


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