Requests for two variances on setbacks in Carrington Place, a 55+ community, were tabled Jan. 27 by the Commerce Planning Commission. The questions were about what the rear setback of a lot in the development might be.

Nolan Craig, who said he is the general manager for Adams Homes, which was seeking the property variances in Carrington Place, said the company is trying to use the lots and to build a larger house. He said the company is trying to maintain the kinds of houses as the rest of the subdivision. But, he said, it could be that the company will build two-story homes, meeting the setback requirements and making the houses larger.

Craig said the variances would allow the company to build a single-story house on the property. One variance would be for the rear setback. Shoemaker said that is 15 feet, as are side setbacks.

Leffew said the subdivision has had “a lot of runoff issues” and one of the lots for which a variance is sought has a drainage easement across the back of the lot.

Craig and at least two residents of Carrington Place said the plats they have seen show all lots with a 25-foot setback. Joe Leffew, the planning commission chairman, said the commission should check the city ordinance and any requirements of the Homeowners Association.

Residents complained that the HOA representatives would not talk with them. Craig offered to help with the HOA.

More than 20 people who said they were residents of the area opposed the variances. Those who spoke quote Leffew’s words to him that if variances were granted, anyone could then apply for a similar variance.

The lots are .22 and .26 of an acre. Shoemaker noted that the commission’s requirements are for .25 of an acre.

Leffew and planner Melinda Cochran said the lots would not qualify for a variance.

She said reducing setbacks is “something we really don’t want to do.”

Residents of Carrington Place said conflicting information has come to them from city officials and plats produced by the county.

Jimmy Nash, a resident, said he had gotten 30 feet between houses – two 15-foot setbacks – were definite “and the city would not deviate from that” city employee.

Jim Yates, also a resident, said the Adams company is “no friend to the environment,” pointing at contractors who have violated standards.

Billy Chandler, Commerce’s municipal judge, said he had been trying to resolve difference with Adams for “two years.”

Leffew called on residents to “be kind” and stick to variance issues.

The commission passed, with little discussion, recommendations for the Commerce City Council about buffers between industrial and residential property.

Doug Makemson, who has been around Commerce much of his life and is a sculptor, told the commission the 50-foot buffer it adopted should be much larger.

“I feel like you, maybe, ought to have 500 feet,” he said. He characterized a 50-foot buffer as “practically non-existent.”

The commission recommended to city council a 50-foot buffer of industrial land and another 50-foot buffer for adjacent residential land for a total buffer of 100 feet. The buffer has a number of conditions, such as a percentage of evergreen and deciduous plantings.

Zoning administrator Jordan Shoemaker said fencing generally would be forbidden in a buffer, especially an electric fence. One exception, she said, could be fencing around residential lots, especially on a rear setback.

The commission also recommended buffer conditions for developments near an “arterial road,” which are defined as those with 30- to 50-mph limits. The rear of Carrington Place is near Mt. Olive Rd. and city council members have said guard rails should be installed in some areas.

The council asked the planning commission to make recommendations for buffers after a request from James Bouchard and developers of adjacent land into the Twin Creeks subdivision.

Bouchard requested that about 97 acres of his land be annexed into the city and re-zoned as M-1 light industrial. The request was made in October, tabled by the planning commission then was passed at the December meeting. The commission recommended that an 80-foot buffer be established between the industrial and residential property. However, no buffer area was proposed for the residential area.

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