Commerce leaders voted to table a request this week to reduce setbacks on two newly-constructed residential properties.

The Commerce City Council tabled the variance requests from Ponder Development at its Feb. 15 meeting. Ponder has asked for a significant setback reduction for homes that have already been constructed at 2262 Remington Dr. and 2280 Remington Dr.

At its Feb. 1 work session, the council discussed tabling the item until the company settles a myriad of issues with the development.

Ponder reportedly started building homes without getting any permits or contacting the city. Severe soil and erosion issues on the lots led to stop work orders, which have since been lifted after the problems were repaired. Fines have been issued and are going through the court system process.

Adding to the mess was an executive order from Governor Brian Kemp during early COVID-19 days, which allowed builders and contractors to utilize third-party inspectors. Ponder opted to use a third-party inspector instead of the town’s inspectors and Wascher said that third-party inspector was supposed to verify that all of the guidelines and building rules were being met. That would include the setback requirements.

Wascher said that when they were working on the soil and erosion issues, the city “picked up pretty quick” that the homes didn’t meet setback requirements.

The two variances would have to be approved before certificates of occupancy are issued.

At the Feb. 1 work session, Wascher recommended tabling the request until they get inspection and engineering reports and “a host of other things.”

OTHER APPROVED ITEMS

Also at its Feb. 15 meeting, the council approved:

•a rezoning request from WizTech GA, LLC, for almost 2.5 acres at 4778 Maysville Rd., from C-2 to M-2. The company, based out of Opelika, Ala., will provide “electrical, plumbing, equipment, fencing and other necessary services for other companies.” WizTech plans to service the nearby SK Innovation site. According to the letter of intent, the company won’t manufacture parts, but will provide electrical and other services to customers. “Installing main electrical panels, power connects for machines and making automated control machines (robot arms) would be the main services,” the letter of intent indicated. A 12,000 square foot warehouse is planned. In the future, WizTech plans to build an approximately 10,000 sq. ft. display/showroom.

• a list of paving projects for FY2021. Streets that will be funded through the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (with a $24,560 local match) are: Pine Ave. from Homer Rd. to Cedar Dr.; Carson Dr. from Homer Rd. to Brookwood Ave.; Shankle Heights from Williford St. to Shankle Rd.; McArthur St. from Williford St. to Victoria St.; Andrew Jackson St. from Wilson Dr. to Hwy. 98; and Parkview Dr. from Clayton St. to the dead end. The city also has a number of paving projects planned using $111,608 from special purpose local option sales tax VI revenues, including: Victoria St., 930 feet; Williford St., 1,172 feet; Wilson Dr., 1,993 feet; Hospital Rd., 1,500 feet; and Belmont Park Dr., 970 feet.

•an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from FEMA for the Commerce Fire Department, which will help fund a bunker gear washer and dryer (which help remove carcinogens from firefighter gear). The city also approved a bid for the purchase to Wholesale Commercial Laundry for $21,994. The grant is for $26,000 with a local match of $1,238.

•street closures for a bike race planned May 2 with Top View Sports and State Street Bicycles.

OTHER BUSINESS

Also at its Feb. 15 meeting, the council:

•tabled submitting the city's comprehensive plan to the Department of Community Affairs pending regional review.

•held a 40-minute closed session on a legal matter, with no action following.

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