By Kathleen Sloan
The City of Truth or Consequences’ Planning & Zoning Commission approved the division of a one-third acre plot into two plots, roughly the same size, owned by Craig and Judy Warwick at 352 Riverside Dr. The application for the summary replat division was an agenda item at the regular P&Z meeting, held Tuesday, May 1.
The land has two houses, two mobile homes and various outbuildings on the property.
The Public Utility Advisory Board reviewed the application and approved utility use. Separate utilities to each lot must be available.
Joey Perry was the only abstaining vote. She floated a motion to table approval for several reasons.
First, the application was not signed by Judy Warwick and all property owners must sign, according to code.
Second, the zone, which is R3, a residential zone, was not included in the staff report as required.
Third, Perry pointed out that although the buildings are grandfathered in, the new lot line division would create a greater non-conforming use.
The first greater non-conforming use would be side setback requirements. Perry said five feet is required and quoted code.
Building inspector Charlie Friberg said “zero or five feet” is required, but Perry said Friberg was referring to commercial building setbacks, and these are residential.
P&Z commissioners required the new mid-line division to skirt a house by five feet and have a shed torn down to meet this five-foot side setback in their subsequent motion.
The second greater non-conforming use is lot size. Perry pointed out that code states a lot must be “at least 45 feet wide.” The zigzag diagonal division of the lot did not meet this requirement.
Nevertheless, the aye-voting P&Z commissioners accepted Friberg’s explanation that “an average of 45 feet” was achieved in the division.
Perry pointed out that the city has now set a precedent for “average width” divisions of lots. Such precedent can be argued by future applicants, weakening the current 45-foot width requirement, making it essentially unenforceable.