The owner of a decades-old mobile home park on Homer Rd. in Commerce wants to have the property rezoned for its current use, but city officials have balked at approving what is usually a routine action.
Officials can't find any records of when the property was annexed into the city or why it shows up on city zoning maps as R-1 (single family homes) rather than R-5 for mobile home parks.
City manager James Wascher told the Commerce council at its Sept. 7 meeting that he wants to "get to the bottom" of several unanswered questions about the property before he recommends a final action to the council.
Wascher said a search of city records didn't turn up any documents that tell the history of the property's annexation or rezoning. He said the county government also searched and couldn't find any documents about the property.
In addition, Wascher said there was apparently an agreement between the city and property owner for an easement in return for providing taps for the mobile homes, but again, no records of that agreement have been found.
Property owner Michael Scott reportedly wanted to bring in a few more mobile homes to the property, but was told the property didn't have the proper zoning for a mobile home park despite its long history as being one.
Scott then filed a request to rezone the property from R-1 to R-5 to match the existing use of the property, along with variances for setbacks. Rezonings to fix old problems or to reflect current use are common and usually non-controversial.
The Commerce Planning Commission voted to deny the request, citing problems with infrastructure in the neighborhood, specifically the roads, and a lack of reinvestment in the neighborhood on the owner’s part.
Those issues weren't discussed at the Commerce council meeting, however.
Wascher said that if indeed the city had agreed to trade taps for an easement, the city should probably honor that agreement and allow additional mobile homes to be put on the 20-acre tract.
Other rezonings discussed by the council on Sept. 7 and slated to be voted on Sept. 20:
• A request to rezone 8.6 acres at 155 Waterworks Rd. from R-5 to R-6 to build 28 townhouse and two single family homes. The issue was controversial at the city planning commission meeting where planners recommended denial. The property at one time was a trailer park and could still be used for that, officials noted. Wascher noted that one reason the commission recommended denial was due to a lot of pushback from neighbors in the area. "I understand where they're coming from," he said. "But you've gotta not make an emotion decision on stuff like this, it's got to be a logical one." Wascher said that under the existing zoning of R-5, "what could go there would be less-desirable than what's being proposed."
• A conditional use at the old Harmony Grove Mill site for part of it to be used as a church.
Other business slated to come before the council Sept. 20:
• The approval of package beer and wine sales at 517 South Elm St.
• The approval of road closures and beer garden for the Oct. 2 Bands, Brews, BBQ & Car Show.
• The approval of street closures for a 5K event on Oct. 23.