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County group recommends new zoning additions

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Provisions for new types of housing developments in Chaves County were recommended by a commission Wednesday and will go before the Chaves County Board of Commissioners for a final decision.

Three members of the Chaves County Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend two amendments to the Chaves County zoning ordinance.

Article 21 would create new provisions for workforce camps — sometimes referred to as man camps — while Article 22 would enact new rules and regulations concerning recreational vehicle (RV) camps.

The group also recommended changes to the section of the ordinance regarding definitions and rules.

Similar provisions are being considered as amendments to the Roswell-Chaves County Extraterritorial Zoning Ordinance, which governs properties in unincorporated areas of the county but within about 2 miles of the Roswell city limits.

The ETZ Commission voted 6-1 on Oct. 15 to recommend Article 27 and Article 28. Those now will be considered by the county commissioners as well as the ETZ Authority, which consists of three county commissioners and two city councilors.

The zoning additions have been recommended in anticipation of possible housing crunches in Chaves County related to the large number of oil and gas workers in the New Mexico portion of the Permian Basin, which is in neighboring Eddy and Lea counties. Some cities in those counties have experienced severe housing shortages and the fast development of workforce camps and RV areas.

Louis Jaramillo, Chaves County Planning and Zoning director, has said that staff visits to some cities have revealed that lack of proper regulations have resulted in safety and health problems, such as overflowing septic tanks or parking or entrance areas that can become unsafe during rains due to lack of gravel or other ground cover materials.