COMMERCE - Jack Julian, Ward 1 council member for the City of Commerce and mayor pro tem, resigned from his position early Wednesday.

Julian, whose second consecutive term is set to expire in 2011, offered no explanation for his departure.

His announcement comes hours after the council failed to pass a property ordinance change that would have reduced lot restrictions for single family dwellings in Commerce.

Julian has attempted to bring the matter before the council more than once. On each occasion, the proposed change has fallen victim to a technicality that prohibited its passing - a state law that says ordinance change can only be passed by a majority of the full council.

Council woman Lena Enochs, voted against the ordinance change.

On Tuesday, Sandra ross and Julian cast votes in support of reducing a restriction in a city ordinance that prohibits construction or the introduction of mobile or modular homes on lots with frontage of less than 60 feet.

Billy Bissell, chairman of the city's zoning committee who modified a Nowata zoning code to fit Commerce, said it was an oversight on his part when he did not reduce the footage restriction to 40 feet.

“I overlooked it,” Bissell said. “My personal recommendation is to change the lot size from 60 feet to 40 feet.”

Bissell said 80 to 90 percent of the lots in Commerce are 40-foot lots.

As Enochs voted against the change, she said that the zoning committee members had collectively indicated to her that the ordinance is exactly what they intended it to be.

In its current form, according to Ross, the ordinance robs property owners of the value of individual 40-foot lots as it reduces the resale value to nearly nothing.

“A 40-foot lot is worthless (under the existing ordinance),” Ross said.

Ross has consistently maintained that people may not realize the ordinance prohibits all construction on 40-foot lots.

“If your house is on a 40-foot lot and it burns down, or a tornado hits it - you can't build it back,” Ross said.

Additionally, the city is without a mayor.

Clouding the issue in Commerce is a concern among residents that unsightly trailers will be allowed to be brought into town.

Despite city ordinances that require trailers and modular homes to meet council approval, residents complain that unsightly homes are slipping in.

Zoning committee members and residents who attended Tuesday's council meeting said their biggest concern is a lack of consistency on the part of the council to hold property owners to guidelines that are in place.

Councilman Bob Crawford, who abstained from the vote when it came before the council in February, was absent from Tuesday's meeting.

Additionally, the city is without a mayor.

The two votes cast in favor of

Clouding the issue in Commerce is a concern among residents that unsightly trailers will be allowed to be brought into town.

Audience members challenged council members to strive for constancy.

“I think we are missing an opportunity if we don't do this,” Julian said. “It will bring revenue to the city and it will save people who, if they lost their house in a fire, from the legal hassles.”

There is a process that will allow people to build back on property if their home is destroyed, but the process is complicated, city officials said.

With Julian's resignation, the city now faces the expense of a an election.

Additionally, with two members out, the council is left with only a quorum. If anyone is absent from a council meeting, the effort to conduct city business is jeopardized.