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ETZ Authority to meet about zoning code changes

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Some changes to zoning codes related to properties in the extraterritorial zoning area are due to be considered by a local governing group Thursday, but they are not the possible future changes that drew a large and upset crowd in March.

The Roswell-Chaves County Extraterritorial Zoning Authority is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. at the Chaves County Administrative Center, 1 St. Mary’s Place.

The group consists of two Roswell City Councilors and three members of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners. The authority meets as needed and makes the final decisions regarding the Roswell-Chaves County Extraterritorial Zoning Ordinance, 80-1, which pertains to county properties within 2 miles of the Roswell city limits.

Chaves County Planning and Zoning Director Louis Jaramillo said that he and his staff have decided to bring the intended changes before the authority in much smaller units than it did on March 10, starting with fee adjustments and changes he characterized as fairly minor.

In March, the county had proposed adding two new articles to the zoning code and amending 17 others.

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“We tried in March to lump it all together and it just became too much, so now we are just taking it piece by piece so that it is real clear,” Jaramillo said. “The idea is to take it piece by piece over the next few months so that it can be digested a little bit easier, not just by our commissioners and councilors but with the public.”

In March, the two new articles — creating new zoning designations and regulations for workforce camps and recreational vehicle parks — passed 4-1 without public comment. But ETZ Authority members voted unanimously to table the amendments to the 17 existing articles after some in the packed commission chambers voiced frustration, confusion and anger.

A few spoke out about what they called a lack of information and notice from the county about the suggested changes, while others had concerns about the proposed amendments themselves for a variety of reasons. The most upset were those who said that the amendments that would require city water and sewer connections for properties smaller than 5 acres with living units on them represented “backdoor annexation” attempts and would defeat their reasons for choosing to live outside the city limits.

“We don’t want people showing up thinking we are talking about annexations,” Jaramillo said. “We don’t deal with any annexations.”

The fee changes on the agenda for Thursday would institute flat fees of $300 to $350 for zone change requests, special use permits and variance applications. New fees also would be implemented to cover permits and renewals for RV parks and workforce camps.

The articles that could be amended — 17, 19, 20, 21 and 25 — pertain to the flight zone district of the Roswell Air Center; outdoor advertising near roads and in rights-of-way; lots sizes and required setbacks; additional height, area or usage requirements for properties in the ETZ; and special use permits.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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