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Zoning issues get approvals at city meetings

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Although some neighbors originally expressed opposition to a land developer’s plans, the Roswell City Council has approved dividing the parcel into five lots for future homes. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

[The following article has been updated concerning the purchase date and sales price of lots on Carver Street.]

A couple of contested city zoning matters have been resolved.

One matter led city of Roswell officials to contact area sellers of portable buildings to inform them about required permits and codes, noting that a “risk to health and safety” has been encountered in some instances. The other issue allows a local developer to move forward with his plans, which initially met with some neighbor objections.

Bill Dennis, a local land developer, said he is pleased with the Roswell City Council’s vote May 10 to approve a plat to subdivide what is now a vacant lot in south Roswell but was once a pool. Now up to five residences can be built on the corner lot in the 2400 block of Carver Street.

“I am just glad I got it approved and can move ahead with it,” Dennis said. “I put a lot of investment into it.”

After Dennis purchased the land in March, he tore down the unused and dilapidated Mesa Park neighborhood pool, removed debris and filled in the cavity where the pool had been with the intention of selling lots to homebuilders.

When the matter was first brought to the public on April 24 at the City of Roswell Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, city staff recommended the commission’s approval. But five people spoke in opposition to the plat, which divided the parcel into five lots. They said the houses would be too small and would increase traffic in the neighborhood. Some of those also did express their appreciation that the pool was cleaned up.

City Engineer Louis Najar also told commissioners that 23 percent of the property owners in the area had notified the city of opposition to the plat.

But, in spite of the meeting comments and a petition with 16 signatures opposing the plat sent to the city, no one spoke against the developer’s plan at the city council meeting.

City Planning and Zoning Manager Bill Morris said that the councilors voted unanimously to approve the plat “based on compatibility with the adjacent neighborhood and being consistent with infill policies in the City Comprehensive Master Plan.”

Dennis, who also developed some lots in the Enchanted Hills West subdivision, said that he will begin selling the lots on Carver Street to prospective home builders for a starting price of about $20,000. He noted that the lots provide a more affordable option to homebuilders than the Enchanted Hills lots, which go for about $30,000 to $50,000 each, which is why he went forward with the southside project.

In a separate matter, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted Tuesday night to approve a homeowner’s request for variances for a portable structure used as a garage that was erected without a building permit, as well as for the driveway built to the garage. Both the structure and the driveway on Cedar Drive in south Roswell were “red-tagged” by city staff for being in violation of several city codes, according to city Planning and Zoning staff.

Morris and some commissioners said that they considered the ones most responsible for the code violations to be the contractors who erected the structures and the sellers of the portables.

The matter had been tabled at a March 27 meeting to give the homeowner an opportunity to address safety concerns, including tensioning of electrical wires that city staff said were too close to the portable and demolishing an older structure between the house and the new portable to meet a city fire safety requirement to have at least 10 feet between structures.

Because Garcia had complied with commissioners’ requests, city staff recommended approving his requests for variances.

Morris also said that, since Garcia’s notification to the city that he had done as asked, “We have made some noise with the storage people.”

He explained the the city had sent out certified letters to area companies that sell portable structures to inform them of city ordinances and requirements and asking that they share the letter with those who signed contracts to purchase the structures.

“If it happens again, we can get a lot more snarky,” he said.

“I agree with Bill,” said City Engineer Louis Najar. “Most of the problems reside with the industry. The industry failed to comply with the rules and regulation of the city and did not serve their client well.”

According to the letter dated May 15, companies were informed that “All portable buildings and structures are required to have a permit before being installed on property within the city boundary. This includes storage sheds, carports, garages, gazebos and any other portable structure. All permit applications must be submitted with a site plan.”

The letter also provided more detailed information about permit requirements and stated that both the sellers of the structures and the contractors installing them must have current city business licenses to do business within city limits.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.