The Commerce City Council will likely postpone voting on a conditional use permit for a composting facility at its Sept. 21 meeting.

During its Sept. 8 work session, the council discussed plans for the facility, but wanted to tour one of the firm's other sites before making a final vote.

“The worse thing that could happen is people who have houses that they built and are proud of and they take care of and then somebody comes in and puts something like that in there and it ruins their homes,” said councilman Keith Burchett. “That is not what we want.”

Atlas Organics of Greenville, S.C. has requested an annexation and conditional use permit of 106 acres on Yarbourgh Ridgeway Rd. for an organic composting facility. The firm operates other facilities in the Carolinas, Texas, Tennessee and Florida. The sites render leaves, clippings and food waste into compost that is then sold to farmers.

City Manager James Wascher said there is always a possibility of odor coming from the facility.

“If they are not doing their process right, there could be some potential odor issues but they wouldn’t be obnoxious type issues,” said Wascher.


In other business Sept. 8, the council reviewed a proposal to roll back the city's millage rate.

 “Good news, we aren’t raising taxes this year,” Wascher said.

The 2020 millage rate will go down slightly from 3.88 mills to 3.86 mills.


In other business, the council:

• reviewed a request for use of a shipping container for a pool house at 8494 Jefferson Road. Although the planning commission recommended approval with a stipulation that the owner place siding on the container, city staff is recommending denial of the request because shipping containers are a prohibited material under city ordinances. According to Wascher, a lot of the work has already been completed on the property and no permits have been obtained by the homeowner. Wascher said the request for use of shipping containers does not meet city variance requirements and is actually a prohibited building material. The property owner is in violation of a number of regulations including failure to obtain required permits, beginning construction without permits and failure to install a fence around the pool as required. 

• reviewed amendments to the city zoning map to make the zoning map more consistent. Any current or permitted use in an area that is changing will be allowed to continue for the life of the structure as a non-conforming use. The council is also considering regulations to allow homeowners to replace their non-conforming residence with another non-conforming residence in the event of catastrophic damage as long as the structure is owner occupied at the time of the occurrence.

• reviewed an agreement for Rooker Development to build Bana Industrial Road. The first phase of the road construction will be completed within 18 months from the beginning of the project. At the end of construction, the road will be deeded to the city.

• reviewed an amendment to city requirements for subdivision improvement guarantees. The proposed changes will address the types of infrastructure requiring improvement guarantees. “We want to be able to protect Commerce and the citizens from potential builders going out of business in the middle of a project,” said Wascher. The guarantee will allow the city to require performance bonds before a develop can begin a project to ensure any issues met by the city where the infrastructure is not completed by the developer, the city will have the resources to complete installation of the infrastructure. “Over the years there have been several instances and several substandard roads the city has inherited but hopefully moving forward this will strengthen our position and give us the resources to fix a road if it doesn’t get completed,” Washer said. “There is a risk. I think it will make it more expensive to develop in Commerce but I think this is worth the risk. We are here to represent the citizens and make sure we have quality development in the city.”

• reviewed an annexation and rezoning request from A1 in the county to R1 in the city of 2.069 acres on Lakeview Drive. The applicant, Ritz Homes, LLC, is also requesting a lot size variance, dividing the parcel into three separate lots.

• reviewed an annexation and rezoning from R1 in the county to R2 in the city for approximately 4 acres located at 91 Casey Court. This is the final lot in Whitehill Meadow subdivision.

• reviewed an annexation and rezoning for additional parcels connected to the Bana Road development. The applicant, Brian Cardoza, is requesting annexation and rezoning of 47.432 acres from HI in county to M-2 in the city.

• reviewed the appointment of Andre Rollins, Jimbo Stephenson, and Melinda Cochran-Davis to the Planning Commission Board for a term of four years

• reviewed the appointment of Tracey Newcomer, Nicky Wilbanks and Christy Johnson to the Library Board for a term of 48 months.

• reviewed the reappointment of Jon Massey to Recreation Board.

• reviewed setting rental fee of recreation department fields at the recreation department to $40.00 per practice for non-recreation teams on fields.


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