Monday night’s vote by the Commerce City Council demonstrates its fundamental weakness. The council has little regard for the integrity of the ordinances it passes.
Case in point: A couple proposes to enlarge a dining room, but needs a variance in the side yard setback to do it. The city’s planning commission, doing its job, looks at the ordinance, sees that such a variance is not warranted and recommends that the council reject the request.
But the council looks just at the individual case. Members see no harm in allowing the ordinance to be violated — after all, none of the neighbors are opposed.
The result is that when the next person applies for a like variance and the neighbors do mind, the city will have no choice but to grant it. Monday night’s vote set a precedent. Essentially, it amended the ordinance without considering anything but the individual case brought before the council.
That kind of reaction undermines the zoning ordinance, land use plan and sign ordinance. The city is drafting a new sign ordinance, but it should have saved its money. The Commerce City Council has proven yet again it lacks the discipline to enforce any of its ordinances.
Thank you for a very timely editorial. This type of Council approval certainly demonstrates a lack of understanding of the purpose of of a Planning Commission and the need to be fair and consistant in the Council's deliberations. Additionally it most likely sends the wrong message not only to our citizens, but it also sends a message to future industrial and commercial prospects considering relocation to Commerce that the Council is inconsistant and pocesses a disregard for their own ordinances. Thanks again for sounding a needed Clarion Horn.
The planning commission denies a family a permit to add a dining room to their property that none of the neighbors have an objection. I think the planning commission should take a trip to the Georgia guide stones in Elberton, GA. One of its suggestions for the next society is "Remove petty laws and useless officials".