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County names new Planning and Zoning director


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Jaramillo is a former Roswell planning administrator

A city of Artesia manager and former Roswell city employee has been chosen to head the Chaves County Planning and Zoning Department.

Louis Jaramillo, planning and zoning administrator with the Artesia city government for about four and a half years, will take the position of Chaves County Planning and Zoning Director April 22.

“It is a position I am very familiar with,” said Jaramillo. “We always worked hand in hand with the county when I was with the city.”

Jaramillo fills a position that opened after the resignation of Marlin Johnson in early February. Johnson had been with the county for seven years during two separate employment periods. He has become the planner for the city of Susanville in northern California.

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Chaves County Public Services Director Bill Williams said that Jaramillo was selected in large part because of his prior experience working with county and city departments and officials.

“He is highly qualified and we are really excited to get him,” said Williams. “We are looking forward to working more closely with the city Planning and Zoning and trying to work more cooperatively on projects. We think there are a lot of areas we can improve in, and both (Community Development Manager) Bill Morris with the city and (City Engineer) Louis (Najar) have indicated that they are looking forward to moving ahead together.”

Jaramillo said that he began working with the city of Roswell’s Planning and Zoning Department as a zoning technician in about 2004. He worked with the department for about five years, eventually becoming planning administrator, before taking the position with Artesia.

Prior to working in government positions, he said he was a survey technician, lab technician and drafter for Smith Engineering for seven years and was employed with Archaeological Survey Associates for about four years.

He is a Roswell High School graduate and has studied at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell.

Both Williams and Jaramillo said that, other than filling a recently vacated assistant planner position, no immediate changes are expected in the organization of the office, which currently includes the director and three employees.

Jaramillo said that his early goals include establishing communication with the city, working on Extraterritorial Zoning issues and to “really continue the progress that has been established with Marlin for economic improvement.”

Asked what he intended to do about an issue that has been raised at several ETZ Commission meetings regarding difficulties coordinating clean-up of properties in the ETZ area, Jaramillo said, “I want to make myself very aware of these issues and where the city stands and where we stand as a county and how we can work together.”

The county received eight applications for the position and three people were interviewed by a three-person committee, according to County Manager Stanton Riggs.

The county Planning and Zoning Department has authority over flood plain management, zoning, subdivision regulations and rural addressing for properties in Chaves County outside of the city limits. It also provides administrative support for the Chaves County Planning and Zoning Commission, the Roswell-Chaves County Extraterritorial Zoning Commission and the Public Lands Advisory Council.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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