September 3, 2003 Minutes





Ms. Ginna L. Sanders, Chairman.

Mr. Jack M. Glahn, First Vice-Chairman.

Mr. Mark S. Goga, Second Vice Chairman.

Mr. Preciliano J. Martín, Member.

Mr. Mark S. Urey, Ex-Officio Member.


Richard M. McCracken, Member


Ms. Sharon L. Few, City Planner.

Ms. Edna Gill, Recording Secretary.


Mr. Myron D. Cowell; Mrs. Betty L. Cowell; and other unidentified persons.

1. CALL TO ORDER. Chairman Sanders called the regularly scheduled September 3, 2003, meeting to order at approximately 1:30 p.m. Chairman Sanders noted that a total of one (1) item was to be considered, under Public Hearing. Recommendations to the City Commission are to be made by the Planning and Zoning Commission for approval or denial of the requests. The City Commission will consider these requests at its meeting of September 23, 2003, to render final decisions.

2. APPROVAL OF AGENDA. Commissioner Glahn made a motion "TO APPROVE THE AGENDA, AS WRITTEN". Seconded by Commissioner Goga. All voted "AYE", passing the motion by a vote of 4-0-0.

3. MINUTES OF AUGUST 6TH REGULAR MEETING, AUGUST 12TH SUBDIVISION ORDINACE SPACIAL MEETING AND AUGUST 28TH INSPECTION TOUR, 2003. Commissioner Glahn made a motion "TO APPROVE THE MINUTES, AS WRITTEN". Seconded by Commissioner Goga. All voted "AYE", approving the motion by a vote of 4-0-0.


A. CASE: V-03-0463(A). PETITIONER: Myron D. Cowell and Betty L. Cowell, owner. REQUEST: Approval of a variance of fifteen feet (15') or less from Section 29-03-040, of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Alamogordo, New Mexico, governing rear yard setbacks; which, if approved, would allow the construction of an attached patio cover eight feet (8') or more from the rear property line, rather than the twenty-three foot (23') setback required by Code. TOTAL AREA: ±8,220 square feet. LOCATION: 2617 St. Andrews Court. CURRENT LEGAL: Lot 19, Desert Hills Unit 5. CURRENT ZONE: District "A" (Single Family Dwelling).

Ms. Few reported that the property, 2617 St. Andrews Court, is zoned "A" (Single Family Dwelling) District. The 2000 Comprehensive Plan designates this property to be developed as medium density residential. A rear yard of thirty feet (30') or twenty percent of the lot depth, which ever is less, is required. The proposed patio cover is to be constructed with a rear yard setback of eight feet (8'). Therefore a variance of fifteen feet (15') is required. The applicant has indicated that they would accept a smaller variance and construct a patio cover twelve feet (12') from the property line. A variance to dimensional regulations may be granted where: (1) such action will not be materially detrimental to the public interest; and (2) such action, will not grant a discriminatory benefit to the land owner and/or harm neighboring properties; and (3) such action, owing to conditions peculiar to the property or the neighborhood and not the result of actions or the situation of the applicant, a literal enforcement of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Alamogordo, New Mexico, and not in conflict with any other adopted code, would result in practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship. No justification of hardship, beyond the control of the applicant, accompanied the application to support the requested variance. The subdivision does not have alleys and the lots have typically been constructed with buildings that are the maximum legal size for the lot. This situation creates a delicate balance between property owner desires and issues of health and safety (such as fire access, available percolation area not covered by structures, air circulation, light and noise spill over, etc.) Additionally, in 2000, a front setback variance was granted to allow a garage addition on this property. The property is located within the jurisdiction of the Alamogordo Municipal Airport Hazards Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 4, Article 4-07, of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Alamogordo, New Mexico. An Avigation Easement was executed with the subdivision. The patio cover may not be constructed under any power line and gas lines may not run under the foundation or slab. Pursuant to Section 29-01-070(c), of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Alamogordo, New Mexico, notice of the time and place of the public hearing was advertised August 17, 2003, in the Alamogordo Daily News, and twenty-seven (27) notices were mailed to property owners within the 200 foot legal protest area on August 15, 2003. One (1) protest to the requested variance was been received. The protest represents 5.58% of the 200-foot legal protest area. The Protestants noted that they would not oppose a smaller patio cover with a resulting twelve-foot (12') setback. Staff did not recommend approval of the variance.

Mr. Myron D. Cowell was available to speak. Mr. Cowell explained that if variance were approved, the patio cover would be a frame structure with matching brick. Mr. Cowell indicated he was requesting the variance for two reasons. He would like to have an outdoor entertainment place for friends and family and for consideration of keeping the heat load down and saving on utilities since the side of his house has twenty-two feet of sliding glass doors. Mr. Cowell indicated that he owned the smallest lot in the cul-de-sac and the patio cover would not restrict the view of the mountains from the neighbors. The neighbors directly behind the Cowell’s residence have a sharp pie shaped lot and they have recently planted trees, which will eventually impact views more than the patio cover. Mr. Cowell clarified that he was asking for approval of a twelve-foot setback instead of an eight-foot setback.

Discussions determined that Mr. Howell had a twelve-foot (12’) slab and all utilities are on the side or front of the house. Discussions also determined that approval of the variance restrict space for fire equipment in the case of a fire. Mr. Cowell commented that no fire equipment could be brought in from the back of the house since it is abutting another cul-de-sac. Mr. Cowell said that all the utilities are accessible on both sides of the house. It was clarified that if a patio cover was added the pillars would be brick to match the house and the roof would be shingle roof to match the house. Commissioners expressed some concern that this is the second variance that has been requested. A variance had already been granted for an area in the front of the house.

Commissioner Martin made a motion to "DENY CASE NO. V-03-0463(A)". Seconded by Commissioner Goga. Commissioners Martin, Glahn, Goga voted AYE, and Chairman Sanders against, passing the motion by a vote of 3-1-0.



A. City Planner.

(1) Ms. Few stated that eight cases would be heard in the October meeting, six of them under public hearing

(2) The Subdivision Ordinance meetings are progressing.

(3) The Comprehensive Plan book is under review and should be to the printer within the next two weeks.

(4) A discussion was held regarding eliminating the Inspection Tour.

Commissioner Goga made a motion to "Drop the Inspection tour from Public Notice". Seconded by Commissioner Martin. All voted AYE, approving the motion by a vote of 4-0-0.

(5) Ms. Few stated she would pursue the issue with the City Attorney regarding remedies available when a property builds and does not have sufficient parking.




7. ADJOURNMENT - There being no further business to come before the Commission, Commissioner Goga made a motion "TO ADJOURN". Seconded by Commissioner Glahn. All voted "AYE", passing the motion by a vote of 4-0-0. The meeting adjourned at approximately 2:00 p.m.

Approved: October 1, 2003

/s/ Ginna L. Sanders, Chairman


/s/ Edna Gill, Recording Secretary