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City seeks to streamline residential construction permits

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Anticipating new housing development next year, the city of Roswell’s Community Development Department is seeking to streamline the permitting process.

At its Dec. 9 meeting, the Roswell City Council will consider advertising for a public hearing on a resolution updating the site and drainage plan review process for new residential developments. The hearing would likely occur during its Jan. 13 meeting.

Community Development Director Kevin Maevers told the city council’s Infrastructure Committee on Monday he had hoped to implement the updates Jan. 1, so the city is already behind schedule.

Developers MAC Real Estate and DWD Consulting Inc., Piñon, announced in April plans for The Oaks, a 28-acre subdivision in northwest Roswell that would have about 800 homes when complete.

“If any of the predictions come true for the amount of housing that we need to do next year, we have to streamline the process, and this is streamlining the process,” Maevers said.

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Spencer Aiken, associate planner in the Community Development Department, told the committee the resolution will consolidate various permits including building, fencing, alley cuts and accessory structures on one form.

“We are proposing to consolidate the various permit forms that we have at the moment into a single document in order to speed up our review process,” he said.

The primary purpose, though, is to update the city’s site drainage plan review process to help ensure homeowners can obtain Federal Housing Administration loans, he said. To qualify, properties must comply with design and development standards set by the state and federal governments.

“Why are we going to all this trouble?” Maevers said. “First of all, one of the top priorities we have in our department is to put together a fast-track permitting program.”

The updated forms would be available online as PDFs that can be downloaded and filled out electronically as developers put together their site drainage plans, Maevers said.

“With this new checklist we should be able to review site drainage plans within a matter of minutes and then if anything is incomplete or missing we can inform the applicant right then and there what we need to see on their subsequent site plan in order for us to be able to approve and process it and move forward,” Aiken said.

Developers wouldn’t have to wait weeks or go through multiple checks before getting the site drainage plan approved, Maevers said.

He said it’s also intended to help improve the quality of plans the city receives.

“We must get better quality plans, more consistent plans and they must be complete. That’s a big problem we’re having right now,” he said.

“Right now the site plans that we’re getting do not meet FHA standards,” he said. “We’re spending so much time at staff level right now teaching people the process of doing these site development and site drainage plans.”

Councilor Daniel Lopez asked if the updates would increase costs for developers and if the Planning and Zoning Commission had any input on the proposal.

Maevers said because the proposal streamlines the permitting process, it should actually save money.

“In reality it’s going to cost the contractors and developers less money to comply with this, and do it in the manner that will also allow us to turn their plans around, allow them to build more homes quickly and allow them to do it better so they have the ability to get the appropriate funding they need to turn it over to the final end user,” he said.

Maevers said the proposal was presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission in October and members’ suggestions had been incorporated into the proposal presented to the Infrastructure Committee.

“I don’t believe we got a single bit of negative feedback,” he said.

Also in Monday’s meeting, the committee voted 3-0 to recommend several other items to the full council for approval. Committee chair Jacob Roebuck was absent.

• Awarding a sewer replacement project on North Garden Avenue to Adame Construction of Los Lunas for $637,295. The project will replace sewer lines between Fourth Street north to near the 1100 block of North Garden. The project is not included in the fiscal year 2022 budget, so will be on the regular agenda to be presented to the city council.

• Awarding a project to install variable frequency drives on water well No. 3 to Alpha Southwest, Las Vegas, for $369,936. The project is in the 2022 budget and will appear on the city council’s consent agenda. Consent agenda items are approved in one vote unless a councilor requests items be removed and placed on the regular agenda.

• Ratifying repair work for three manholes on North Atkinson Drive for $130,117. The failing manholes were discovered during an inspection for the pavement project on North Atkinson, City Engineer Louis Najar said. The repairs were not budgeted, so the item will appear on the council’s regular agenda.

• Budgeted replacements for large diameter valves near Third Street and Orchard Avenue to New Mexico Tap Master, Albuquerque, for $188,315. The item will be on the regular agenda.

• Establishing a pool of vendors for on-call utility repairs that includes AUI Inc., Albuquerque, J&H Services, Hobbs, SmithCo Construction, Caballo, Tap Master, and White Cloud Pipeline Construction, Roswell. The item will be on the consent agenda.

• Awarding a pavement rehabilitation project for Sunset Avenue to J&H Services for $1.1 million. The budgeted project will include a mill and fill for Sunset Avenue between Brasher Road and Poe Street and from McGaffey to Walnut streets. It will appear on the consent agenda.

• Rejecting a bid from J&H Services for rehabilitation of the Hondo River Trail. The New Mexico Department of Transportation, which is providing funding for the project, disqualified the bid because the contractor did not complete all the paperwork, Najar said. The project would be rebid at a later date. The item will go to the consent agenda.

• A purchase order of $500,000 to IPR Ltd., Albuquerque, for the micro surfacing of residential streets to begin in March. It will be on the consent agenda.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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