Commerce planners rejected a proposal last week for a townhomes project off Waterworks Rd.
The Commerce Planning and Zoning Commission voted 3-1 to recommend denial of a rezoning request from Presidential Oaks Properties for 8.6 acres at 155 Waterworks Rd.
The property is zoned R-5 and was previously used as a mobile home park. The site, located across Waterworks Rd. from Willoughby Homes and the city shop, has been abandoned for years.
Developers initially requested to put 64 townhomes on the site, but that number was reduced to 28 total units before the planning commission meeting Aug. 23. Each is proposed to total at least 1,750 square feet and have three bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a front-entry two-car garage.
A handful of area residents noted a number of concerns regarding the development, from infrastructure issues to increased pressure on the Commerce City School System.
“We have no more rooms in our building for more families to come in,” said Commerce teacher April Ruff. “We are struggling with what we’ve got right now.”
Existing traffic problems on Waterworks Rd. and on secondary streets in that area was top on some residents’ lists of concerns.
“People fly down Clayton (St.) over that hill,” one resident said. “They’re going to hit us. It’s a matter of time.”
Commerce resident Maddison Dean echoed the concerns about Clayton St., noting the narrow road isn’t properly striped.
“It’s not safe already as it is and it’s certainly not going to get any safer if we add 50+ more cars going down that street every day with this development,” she said.
Others cited concerns with how rapidly the city is growing. Resident Kelli Baugh said part of the draw to Commerce is the small-town feel where neighbors know one another and teachers know the students by name. But Baugh noted concerns that the small community could change with such an increase in development in the area.
“Development is coming. Nothing stays in its nice little bubble forever. The rate at which we allow that development is key to preserving what makes this place so great,” said Baugh.
Alicia Vargas, a Commerce resident and business owner, echoed that, saying the city needs “smart, educated growth.”
Chairman Joe Leffew and planner Melinda Cochran-Davis both said they were torn about the project, noting the property is a good location for the development since it’s near two existing higher-density developments, Willoughby Homes and Heritage Hills. But Leffew and Cochran-Davis voiced major concerns with traffic and safety in that area.
Ultimately, Leffew and planners Dwayne Wilson and Jimbo Stephenson voted to deny the request. Cochran-Davis voted against the motion.
The Commerce City Council is slated to vote on the request Sept. 20.
Also at its Aug. 23 meeting, the planning and zoning commission:
•voted to recommend denial of rezoning and variance requests from Michael Scott for approximately 20 acres at 935 Homer Rd., the Ashworth mobile home community. The property has been utilized as a mobile home park for decades. Scott requested a change from R-1 to R-5 to match the existing use of the property, along with variances for setbacks. Commission members cited problems with infrastructure in the neighborhood, specifically the roads, and a lack of reinvestment in the neighborhood on the owner’s part.
•approved a subdivision plat for Seth Cape for 1.68 acres on Hospital Rd., dividing the property into three lots for residential use.
•tabled an annexation and zoning request from Nicolas Marley for .57 acres at 593 Lathan Dr.