Revised city codes cover future growth, past culture

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

A work session to review a proposed Unified Development Code for properties in Tucumcari went smoothly Tuesday night.
The City Commission met with members of the Planning and Zoning Commission to go over the proposed unified development code by Consensus Planning, Inc. of Albuquerque.

The cost of revising and updating the city’s codes is $38,500.

The majority of the cost, $35,000, was covered by a Community Development Block Grant, said Doug Powers, director of the city’s Community Development.

“The reason we want to update some of these codes is for improved growth of Tucumcari,” said Yvette Fazekas, project coordinator of the Community Development Department.

One of the areas covered in the new proposed code is single family dwellings. The proposed changes state that all newly built single family homes are to have a covered front porch with a minimum of 36 square feet and have no dimension of less then four feet. A rear porch would also be required with a minimum of 80 square feet and have no dimension less than five feet. The stoops would have to be constructed of concrete, brick, pavers or similar material, according to the proposed changes.

The proposed covered front stoop, and a rear stoop, also apply to manufactured and modular homes, according to the proposed unified code.

Another aspect of the proposed code addresses requirements for angle and parallel parking.

Members of the planning and city commissions had concerns about angle parking versus parallel parking spaces. The concerns over angle parking included narrow streets, fire department and ambulance access to areas and poor visibility by drivers that could lead to possible vehicular accidents.

Mayor Mary Mayfield suggested that the city contact the State Highway engineer to learn what impact angle parking might have on side streets along the state highways, such as Highway 104 or First Street.

Despite changes in the proposed unified development code, there would be no immediate cost to homeowners and business owners of Tucumcari, said city manager John Sutherland. Existing residential and commercial properties would be grandfathered in under the proposed code, he said.

However, if substantial changes were planned for a property they would probably trigger a review and request for approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission. Sutherland said.

Looking to the future, Sutherland suggested that the proposed changes should incorporate guidelines laid out in Tucumcari’s Comprehensive Plan which was published in 2004.

Sutherland cited sections of the comprehensive plan covering Community Character Goals “2” and “5” which were developed to: protect the unique neon signs along Historic Route 66 and preserve and enhance Tucumcari’s history and natural and scenic resources.
According to the plan, it calls for the city to:

• Adopt a Route 66 Overlay Ordinance to protect the existing historic neon signs along Route 66. These signs can be reused and adapted to meet new businesses, instead of being demolished.

• Establish “view corridors” especially on Mountain Road and First Street.

• Create an ordinance to protect the unobstructed views of Tucumcari Mountain from locations designated as a view corridor.
Although both commissions have reviewed the proposed unified code, it still needs a recommendation for approval from Planning and Zoning Commission and to be approved and adopted by the City Commission.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to review the unified code at its next meeting on Aug. 28.

Citizens can view a copy of the proposed code changes at City Hall, at the Planning and Development offices or request a copy via email by calling 461-2143.