December 1, 2003 Minutes



DECEMBER 1, 2004


Ms. Ginna L. Sanders, Chairman.

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

Mr. Richard M. McCracken, Second Vice-Chairman.

Mr. Mark S. Goga, Member.

Mr. Michael M. O’Hara, Member.

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




Ms. Sharon L. Few, City Planner.

Ms. Linda Sanderson, Recording Secretary.


Ms. Isabel Scruggs, Mr. Frank Frazier, Mrs. Florence Frazier, Mr. Mike Nelson, Mrs. Theresa Nelson, Mr. Tommy French, Mr. Dennis Crimmins, Ms. Shyla Williamson, and other unidentified persons.

1. CALL TO ORDER. Chairman Sanders called the regularly scheduled December 1 2004, meeting to order at approximately 1:30 p.m. Chairman Sanders noted that a total of four (4) items was to be considered two (2) 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 one (1) of these requests at its meeting on December 7, 2004. The remaining requests will be considered at its meeting on December 21, 2004, to render final decisions.

2. APPROVAL OF AGENDA. Ms. Few noted there is a change to the second Case number on today’s agenda. The correct case number has been changed in this reporting. Commissioner Goga made a motion "TO APPROVE THE AGENDA, WITH CORRECTIONS". Seconded by Commissioner McCracken. All voted "AYE", passing the motion by a vote of 5-0-0.

3. MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 3, 2004 REGULAR MEETING. 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 5-0-0.


A CASE: Z-04-0636 (A). PETITIONER: Isabel Scruggs, owner, by Dennis Crimmins and Nell Crimmins, option holders. REQUEST: Approval of an ordinance to amend the official zoning map of the City of Alamogordo and change the zoning to District "D" (Business), or a more restrictive classification; which, if approved, would allow the property to be used/developed for commercial business uses, which could include a tanning salon. TOTAL AREA: ± 7,500 square feet. LOCATION: 1110 Hawaii Avenue. CURRENT LEGAL: Lot 5, Block 95, Alamo Blocks. CURRENT ZONE: District "C" (Multi-family Dwelling). Ms. Few stated that Isabel Scruggs owns Lot 5, Block 95, Alamo Blocks, at 1110 Hawaii Avenue. Through option holders, Dennis and Nell Crimmins, rezoning to District "D" (Business) is requested. The proposed rezoning will allow the property to be developed and used for commercial business uses, which could include a tanning salon. The property, 1110 Hawaii Avenue, is zoned "C" (Multi-family Dwelling) District. The proposed rezoning will create a spot of District "D" (Business) zoning within a multi-family zoning district. The "C" zone allows single family, two-family and multi-family dwellings plus professional office. General retail business is not allowed within District "C". The 2000 Comprehensive Plan designates this property to be developed as high density residential and offices. The current zoning of the property does conform 100 percent to the comprehensive plan, as adopted. Should the rezoning be approved, the structure must be brought into compliance with all fire and building codes applicable to the change of occupancy, particularly in the electrical systems within the structure. Building modifications must include accessibility and parking compliance and be performed under a City building permit. Pursuant to Section 29-01-020, of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Alamogordo, New Mexico, notice of the time and place of the public hearing was advertised on November 14, 2004, in the Alamogordo Daily News, and seventeen (17) notices were mailed to property owners within the 200 foot legal protest area on November 12, 2004. No protests to the requested rezoning have been received; however, the deadline for the receipt of protests by the City Planner is 10:00 a.m. on December 1, 2004. Staff Recommendation: As the request will create "spot zoning" and not conform to the 2000 Comprehensive Master Plan denial of the rezoning to District "D" (Business), is recommended.

Dennis Crimmins, option holder, expressed his concerns for the spot zoning. He doesn’t think it actually should be a spot zoning since the Post Office across the street is Zone "C" and the Alamogordo Public School in the next block is Zone "A". He stated that since this is already a commercial area, the residents that he has visited with are in favor of this rezoning. He also stated the homes left in this area are in real bad shape and any business that would go in this area would be good for the appearance and for the city. Ms. Few stated that the Post Office was not rezoned because it is a Federal Government entity and they are exempt. As for the school, any school can go into any zone. Mr. Crimmins also stated that the persons just to the North of the proposed area also wanted to submit an application but was told that it would not pass so they did not follow through. No matter how you look at it, this whole area is still commercial. Ms. Few stated that for land use purposes neither is considered commercial. During the original discussion, the applicant was advised it would be spot zoning and to do one (1) lot within the block would be very difficult to get rezoning. If the entire facing side of the block were to come in for something like neighborhood business, it would be more receptive.

Commissioner O’Hara asked why were they looking at that particular property when there is vacant property all over the city that possibly is already Zone "D"? Mr. Crimmins explained the with the property adjacent to the Post Office there would be a lot of drive-by traffic, it would be centrally located and convenient to the public which would increase her business. Commissioner McCracken asked about parking spaces and where they would be located. Mr. Crimmins noted they have not checked to see how many spaces they could put in the rear, but it is a very deep lot and should hold in excess of ten (10) spaces. Parking access in the rear will come off of Twelfth Street and Hawaii. This is where the employees will park and the customers. Because the house sets back forty-five feet (45’) from the street there will be two (2) diagonal spaces in the front. Ms. Few provided additional information regarding removal of curb to provide diagonal parking which would require a full variance and would not receive a recommendation from staff. The City is trying to minimize curb cuts on streets and backward movement of traffic, particularly on this high volume area. Mike Nelson, realtor, brought pictures of the property for all to view. Some people cannot afford to build new structures and smaller existing structures are being snapped up quickly. That is why this type of property is being looked at—look at the New York Street and Ohio Street areas—they are all full with nice looking buildings that once were sadly rundown. The City is promoting growth and needs to allow business people that are here, to have a business. This block has a vacant lot, a duplex, 2 houses and one of those is abandoned. I thought we were asking for rezoning of the whole block. Everyone that I have talked to is in favor of the block to be rezoned. They know their block is sadly deteriorated. This is a perfect spot for business.

General discussion followed between Commissioners, staff and Mr. Nelson concerning why the entire block was not proposed to be rezoned, the money that each resident was told they would have to pay for the rezoning and the additional money they would have to pay in property tax. Mr. Nelson explained that an error had occurred when applying for the rezoning. He thought it was for the entire block; that was his error. Initially, he had told one person that there would be a fee, shared by all residents to cover the application fee, but then he retracted that. After talking to the tax assessor, he was told that property owners would be taxed at their value regardless of their zone.

Additional discussion between Commissioners and staff occurred regarding a block zone or maybe another zone would be better, Zone "D" or "D2". Ms. Few explained the current zoning does conform to the master plan. If it went to full-retail Zone "D", any type of business could be put in, i.e.…offices, site constructed residential, car lot, grocery, bar etc. If it went Zone "D2", that would prohibit any single-family residents. Those that are currently living there would not be permitted to continue living there and would have to be moved. Zone D2 is set up as a transition zone to eliminate the single-family residential use. There is no "grandfather" clause involved like there is if property is annexed into the city existing and then rezoned against their will. Zone "D" does not provide the transition that the master plan envisions for what whole area between Tenth Street and Eleventh Street. The "D2" zoning is a moot point because we are talking about Zone D.

Pat McCourt, City Manager, made a brief statement saying that it sounded to him like this was a "cart-before-the-horse" situation. This is an area where the potential land use needs to be reviewed and to possibly update the comprehensive plan. Chairman Sanders stated that the options at this point were to withdraw and resubmit a new application for the entire block or the commissioners can table the case and give the petitioner a chance to reapply. Mr. Crimmins stated that he had waited long enough and wanted to get a vote today so it could be presented to the City Commissioners and he would know if he needed to look at other property.

Commissioner O’Hara made a motion "TO DENY APPROVAL OF CASE M-04-0636 (A) FOR CHANGE OF ZONING TO DISTRICT "D". Commissioner Glahn and Commissioner Goga seconded the motion. All voted "AYE", passing the motion by a vote of 4-0-1, with Commissioner McCracken abstaining. This case will be heard at the City Commission meeting December 21, 2004.

B. CASE: V-04-0475 (A) PETITIONER: Tierra de Suenos, Inc., owner, by Tommy French, President. REQUEST: Approval of a variance from Section 29-03-110, of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Alamogordo, New Mexico, governing side yard setbacks; which, if approved, would allow the construction of detached single family homes with no side yard on one side of the structure and a setback of not less than three feet (3') on the other side of the structure, rather than the side yard required by Code of either five feet (5') for single story or seven feet six inches (7'6") for two story buildings. TOTAL AREA: ±6.7 acres. LOCATION: 2506 - 2669 Los Alturas Ct. CURRENT LEGAL: Lots 1 through 37, Los Alturas Subdivision. CURRENT ZONE: District "A-1" (Townhouse). Ms. Few stated that Tierra de Suenos, Inc. owns Lots 1 through 37, Los Alturas Subdivision. They plan to construct detached single family homes, rather than attached units (typical townhomes) as allowed in the zoning district. The property, 2506 – 2669 Los Alturas Ct., is zoned "A-1" (Townhouse) District. The 2000 Comprehensive Plan designates this property to be developed as medium density (single family urban). Townhouses, by definition, do not have side yards and are exempt from side yard setback requirements as long as adequate provisions are made for fire- and soundproofing in common walls between connected units composing one structural entity. Townhouses at the ends of each structural entity shall have side yards with the same regulations as in the single-family dwelling district, which is a side yard for one-story building of a width of not less than five feet (5') and seven feet six inches (7’6") for two-story buildings. As proposed, the design of the units will either be 1) detached unit abutting a side lot line with at least a four foot (4’) setback to the next lot line [see option 1], or 2) two units attached at the property line [see option 2]. Public Safety has noted that in their opinion reducing side yard setbacks is not recommended because the potential for the extension of fire from one structure to another structure is significantly increased when side yard setbacks are reduced and fire fighting operations are negatively impacted when side yard setbacks are reduced (i.e. firefighter access to the rear of the structure, rescue from the side of the structure, access to the roof for ventilation, etc.). If two-hour fire walls were provided for any wall abutting the side property line, the added security that would be afforded to each structure would far exceed the requirements of either building codes or fire codes for these types of units and more than meet the intent of the setback requirements. 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. 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 November 14, 2004, in the Alamogordo Daily News, and sixty (60) notices were mailed to property owners within the 200 foot legal protest area on November 11, 2004. One (1) protest to the requested variance has been received, which represents 0.66% of the 200 foot legal protest area. 10:00 a.m. on December 1, 2004 is the deadline for protests to be submitted to the City’ Planner. STAFF RECOMMENDATION: Approval of the side yard variance with the requirement that all structures be constructed with a two-hour firewall at the side property line.

Mr. Tom French, owner, presented copies of IRC for the commissioners to view. He disagrees with the Public Safety comments for the following reasons: 1. Currently, townhouses go from property line to property line. There is no egress of any sort from front yard to backyard except through the structure. Egress for fire fighting and rescue from front to back yard is irrelevant. According to townhouse zoning, we can build lot line to lot line with no external egress from front to back. That’s where we are now. We are planning on a four-foot (4’) setback. But there will be a few that has zero lot line. The City adopted the IRC code, which is a good thing. The criteria are already on the books and we don’t need to impose arbitrary standard. By adopting the IRC code, officials have already agreed on what that code should be. Rather than specify a 2-hr. fire rating we should go with applicable codes. In practice there will be two (2) walls with 2-hr. rating. The code says this. If approved without the language staff is recommending, then each wall would have to be a 1hr. rating from both sides. On the second page of handouts, Section R317.1 addresses types of construction and R317.3.1 addresses wall penetrations. Point being, those safety concerns have already been met by IRC. Commissioner O’Hara asked what materials are required to go from 1 hr. to 2-hr. rating. He also commented that recently there was a fire in his neighborhood. They had the required five-foot (5’) setback but it still spread from one structure to another. Why not go ahead and give the homeowner the added assurance that there will be adequate time for evacuation? Commissioner Urey answered that 5/8" sheet rock gives a one hour (1hr) rating. You would just double that for a two hour (2 hr) rating. Mr. French stated that code requires fire resistant material on outside of the structure also. Fascia, soffets, siding etc.. must be constructed with fire resistant material such as cement base materials. All of this information is addressed in the codes. Fires usually start from within the structure. Commissioner Urey commented that codes provide for life safety and evacuation procedures, not for protection from another property. Ms. Few stated that according to the zoning ordinance, the common wall is required to have one hour thirty minute rating (1hr 30 minute), but the building department recommended a two hour (2 hr) separation to avoid concerns of penetrations. Mr. French stated that these structures would have two (2) one hour (1hr) ratings with an air gap between them. This will give us more than the two-hour (2hr) required. I have not heard any pressing reasons why we should vary from the code book.

Commissioner McCracken made a motion "TO RECOMMEND APPROVAL OF CASE M-04-0475 (A) APPROVAL AS REQUESTED". Commissioner Goga seconded the motion. All voted "AYE", passing the motion by a vote of 5-0-0. This case will be heard at the City Commission meeting on December 21, 2004.


A CASE: M-04-0317 (A) PETITIONER: City of Alamogordo, owner, by Texas-New Mexico Power Company, applicant. REQUEST: Approval of a ten-foot (10') wide utility easement for the extension of an electric distribution line and vacation of a parallel easement. TOTAL AREA: ±0.2781 acre. LOCATION: 500 LaVelle Road. CURRENT LEGAL: A 10-foot electric easement in Section 36, T16S, R9E, NMPM, lying 5 feet on each side of the following described centerline: Starting at the Southeast corner of said Section 36 and going North 89 degrees 52 minutes 55 seconds East along the South line of said Section 36 a distance of 1453.26 feet to the West right-of-way line of LaVelle Road; thence North 00 degrees 07 minutes 05 seconds West along said right-of-way line a distance of 3287.89 feet to the place of beginning of the herein described centerline; thence North 89 degrees 18 minutes 27 seconds along said centerline a distance of 1211.26 feet to the end of said centerline. CURRENT ZONE: District "F" (Industrial). Ms. Few reported that the City of Alamogordo owns the land on which the Bureau of Reclamation’s reverse osmosis test facility is being constructed. The Texas-New Mexico Power Company has requested correction of a utility easement (and vacation of the previous easement). The 2000 Comprehensive Plan designates this property to be developed as industrial. The proposed easement will provide a sufficient supply of power to the new facility and vacate the previously approved easement. STAFF RECOMMENDATION: Approval of the utility easement is recommended.

No discussion was received on this case.

Commissioner Goga made a motion "TO RECOMMEND APPROVAL OF CASE M-04-0317 (A) APPROVAL OF UTILITY EASEMENT". Commissioner Glahn seconded the motion. All voted "AYE", passing the motion by a vote of 5-0-0. This case will be heard at the City Commission meeting December 7, 2004.

B. CASE: M-04-0318 (A). PETITIONER: City of Alamogordo, applicant. Approval of an ordinance amending Section 22-01-010 and repealing Section 22-01-020 of the Subdivision Regulations of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Ms. Few stated the proposed amendments to the Subdivision Regulations would clarify the regulations on qualifying exemptions from the subdivision requirements and eliminate conflicts between City regulations and State law. STAFF RECOMMENDATION: Approve the proposed ordinance for Case M-04-0318 (A).

Mr. Pat McCourt, City Manager was available for comment if anyone had questions. He promised to keep his comments short. There were no questions asked by the Commissioners. Chairman Sanders asked the staff for clarification of the definition for subdivision (item 3-e-1). Ms. Few agreed to work on the terminology for this item.

Commissioner Goga made a motion "TO RECOMMEND APPROVAL OF CASE M-04-0318 (A) APPROVAL OF ORDINANCE". Commissioner McCracken seconded the motion. All voted "AYE", passing the motion by a vote of 5-0-0. This case will be heard at the City Commission meeting on December 21, 2004.

7. A. City Planner.

(1) January Agenda. At this time there are two (2) cases to be heard at the January 5, 2005 regular meeting.

(2) Expiration of Terms (Commissioners Glahn, McCracken, O'Hara & Urey).

(3) December Training Sessions

(a) December 7, 2004 @ 6:30 p.m. with the City Commission.

(b) December 21, 2004 @ 6:30 p.m. with the City Commission.


(5) Other. None

B. City Attorney. None

C. Chairman. None

D. Commissioners. None

(1) Representative from HAFB.

(2) Representative to County Planning Commission.

(3) General.


9. ADJOURNMENT - There being no further business to come before the Commission, Commissioner Goga made a motion "TO ADJOURN". Seconded by Commissioner O’Hara. All voted "AYE", passing the motion by a vote of 5-0-0. The meeting adjourned at approximately 2:35 p.m.

Approved: January 5, 2005

/s/ Ginna L. Sanders, Chairman


/s/ Linda M. Sanderson, Recording Secretary