By Lorri Ooley
During the most recent regular schedule meeting for the City of Elephant Butte Council, held on the afternoon of Wednesday, Dec. 10, the city’s ordinances regarding accessory building requirements in residential areas and temporary overnight use of public grounds received updates.
Additionally, the council acted on previously voted upon ordinances concerning two residential properties under observation for nuisance.
City Planner & Zoning Administrator Bradford Dyjak reported to Mayor Eunice Kent and councilors regarding the current experience for both residents and the Planning & Zoning committee – which is in a need of streamlining regarding request and approval for residential property owners’ addition of accessory buildings. The current process is “going through the motions,” as Dyjak explained to the councilors, as the properties more often than not approved by the committee.
With the recommendation of both the committee and Dyjak, the council unanimously acted to amend City Ordinance #147 to allow for the process, instead, to go before staff for approval, with similar code requirements still in place as a checklist for properties and owners when seeking to construct additional buildings.
Councilor D. Rodgers voiced his concern over whether this move would align with the city’s current city planning project.
Dyjak clarified that any buildings that are approved under the new ordinance would in essence be “grandfathered” into the system if the ordinance were later amended to reflect a different city council’s policy on accessory buildings.
City Manager Alan Briley reported to the council regarding the need for current policy regarding overnight use of city/public facilities. The city has approved the use of its event grounds for upcoming events, which have requested special permits for overnight use. Briley explained that by amending City Ordinance #148, the city would provide a broader opportunity to events that do require overnight use of public facilities.
This would, however, not include a private, all-inclusive use, that is to say, events are still required to seek approval for overnight use, and the city will still maintain a strict checklist for its approval of such use.
With recommendation of both staff and Planning & Zoning, the city council unanimously acted to amend the ordinance to allow for special use of public facilities overnight.
Regarding the city’s two current nuisance cases, previously reported by The Herald, the staff presented updates for both residences, located on Calle del Contento and Camino Encantado. Concerning the first, the property owner provided information for the resident’s caretaker, who has since made significant improvements to the property. During the meeting, the council heard from David Willis. At such time, the council unanimously acted to defer enforcing Resolution 14-15-332, effectively tabling the matter until the city’s first meeting of 2015, to be held on Wednesday, Jan. 7.
Similarly, the council unanimously acted to defer enforcement of Resolution 14-15-333, which addressed the current nuisance conditions of the residence located on Camino Encantado. The city was contacted by legal representation that explained the current situation of probate the property was in. However, the city council expressed the need for the property’s condition to still be improved, regardless of its status in probate court. William R Brummett, legal council for Alice Macahan, expressed in writing that there would be significant improvements to the property through his assistant over the weekend of Nov. 8. Staff provided the council with updated photographs of the property during the meeting; however, councilors expressed concern over the type of improvements occurring.
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