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County proposes ordinance change

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Chaves County officials are considering an ordinance change that would allow staff to make some decisions without involving planning commissions or elected officials.

Chaves County Planning and Zoning Director Marlin Johnson introduced the suggested amendment at the Tuesday meeting of the Chaves County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Now Article 13 of county ordinances requires that every change in the use of property in industrial-zoned areas comes before the commission and the Chaves County Board of Commissioners for consideration.

“I’ve worked a lot of places, and this is the only ordinance I have ever seen that is like this,” said Johnson.

The commission voted 3-0 to approve the suggested change. Now the Chaves County Board of Commissioners will consider the issue during its June 21 meeting.

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Johnson also told commission members that a similar ordinance change will be brought before the Extraterritorial Zoning Commission and the ETZ Authority, which make planning and zoning rulings regarding county property within a few miles of city limits.

Johnson explained to commission members that the amended ordinance would allow the planning director, in consultation with the county manager when necessary, to make decisions when a new use for the industrial property would have an equal or lesser impact than its previous use.

Impact, according to county staff, includes such factors as hours of operations, noise, air quality, water and watershed issues, and aesthetics.

Johnson also told the commission that a case they heard Tuesday was an example of why the amendment made sense to avoid “micromanaging” of zoning issues.

In that case, an owner of property on East Calusa Road in Dexter has asked to use the property for a dairy-related trucking operation, rather than for a construction yard and oil and gas well servicing business, which had been approved earlier by elected officials.

The commission voted 3-0 to recommend approval for the property’s change of use. That matter also is scheduled to go before the Board of Commissioners later this month.

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

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.