COMMERCE - One of the city's biggest zoning issues returns to the table today as the city council gathers for its first meeting since the election of a new mayor.
Michael Hart, who was sworn in Aug.1, will call the council to order today and the group will address a 16-item agenda - to include discussion of changing a zoning ordinance to allow for placement of homes on lots with with 40 feet of street frontage.
In July, council members Sandra Ross and Jack Julian cast votes in support of reducing a restriction in the 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.
Council member Lena 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 maintains that people may not realize the ordinance prohibits all construction on 40-foot lots.
The council has been unable to force a change in the ordinance, due to a statutory rule that mandates ordinance changes be carried by a majority of the council membership.
After the July meeting, when the proposed change was defeated a second time, Julian resigned from the council.
The council will address procedures for replacing Julian as they convene today.
The council will also discuss a request from Henry Hart for de-annexation, temporary placement of a travel trailer at 117 N. Vine St. and giving the court clerk an increase in compensation.
The council meeting is set to follow the monthly meeting of the Commerce Development Authority which will convene at 6:30 p.m. at the Commerce city hall.