The Commerce City Council recently requested the planning commission to create a set of buffers between properties of different zonings.

The Commerce Planning Commission met Jan. 16 and the city council could adopt the buffers at its Feb. 17 meeting.

Currently, the only buffers Commerce has in place are 20-foot buffers between industrial and residential lands. Commercial lands and arterial roadways don’t have any buffers.

The planning commission decided on 50-foot buffers for industrial-side; 50-foot buffers for residential-side; and five-to-10-foot buffers along arterial roadways. No change is recommended for commercial-side, industrial-to-industrial and residential-to-residential.

The composition of the buffers was part of a discussion. Buffer composition typically includes fences, arbor and guardrails. For industrial-side and residential-side buffers, the planning commission decided to specify buffers as different situations arise.

The proposed buffers are in line with other towns on Interstate 85, as well as some on Interstate 75 which planner Jordan Shoemaker researched prior to the meeting. Shoemaker gathered data from Jackson County, Jefferson, Braselton, Buford, Suwanee, Duluth, Kennesaw and Cartersville.

Each of the towns had 50-foot industrial buffers with the exception of Braselton whose buffers are 75-feet, and Buford specified a buffer must be between 50-to-100 feet. Jefferson was the only town with a smaller minimum buffer requiring 40-to-75 feet. Jackson County’s industrial side buffers are 150-to-500 feet. Braselton, Buford, Suwanee, Kennesaw and Cartersville had requirements on the composition of the buffers.

All of the areas had varying commercial-side buffers ranging from Jefferson’s 10-to-30 feet and Jackson County’s 50-to-100 feet. Only Jefferson had residential-side buffers of five-to-ten feet.

Most of the discussion during the meeting was about arterial roadways however. The planning commission used the Carrington Place subdivision as the prime example of a need for buffers along arterial roadways. The back end of the neighborhood along Mt. Olive Rd. doesn’t have any buffers. Some residences have fenced-in back yards, but eight residences do not have any protection from vehicles that drive off the road.

The planning commission recommends guardrails on city roadways and buffers for such areas. The buffers would include arbor and/or fencing based on the topography of the area.

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