Saturday, September 27, 2008

Taos County Neighborhood Land Use Code

Taos County Neighborhood Land Use Code (TEMPLATE DRAFT 5/26/08)
To be modified and adapted by each Neighborhood to their planning boundary area
Prepared by:
Charlie Deans, CommunityByDesign
Robert Odland, Land Use Attorney
Heather Yarayan, Community Planner
Miguel Santistevan, Agriculturalist
Section I. Purpose and Intent
Section II. Land Use District Designations
• RC- Resource Conservation
• A/DR- Agriculture/Development Reserve
• IA- Irrigated Agriculture
• RR- Rural Residential
• SC- Sustainable Community
• TV- Traditional Village
• C/E- Commercial/Employment
• SHC- Scenic Highway Corridor
Section III. Allowed Land Uses
• Permitted Uses
• Conditional Uses
Section IV. Development Standards
• Lot Characteristics
• Building Placement
• Building Height
Section V. Special Provisions
• Building Types
• Building Efficiency/Materials
• Non-residential Development
• Cluster Development
• Farming, Agriculture and Acequias
• Site Restoration/landscaping
• Stormwater Management/Water harvesting/Graywater
• Solar and Wind Generation
• Wildland Urban Interface
Section VI. Transportation/Walkability
• Street and Pedestrian Standards
• Road Standards
• Pedestrian/Bike pathways
• Transit/Park and Ride/Rideshare
Section VII. Community facilities
• Plazas/parks
• Neighborhood centers
• Schools/churches/fire stations/postal facilities/
• Recycling facilities
Section VIII. Provisions Applicable To All Districts
Taos County Neighborhood Land Use Code
Appendix ___ to the Land Use Regulations of the County of Taos
____________ Neighborhood Land Use Regulations
Section I. Purpose and Intent
A. Official Regulation. This appendix is incorporated into the Land Use Regulations of the County of Taos.
B. Establishment. This appendix establishes the Neighborhood Land Use Regulations for the neighborhood
of ______________________. The boundaries of this neighborhood and the boundaries of zoning
districts established herein are described and shown on the _____________ Neighborhood Land Use
Map in the Taos County Planning Department.
C. General Intent. The intent of this appendix is to assist the ____________________ Neighborhood in
achieving the following objectives:
(this will be based on the vision and goals of the NA’s plan and the GMP Phase I)
Section II. District Designations
RC: Resource Conservation: 1 residence/36 ac: areas mapped as high sensitivity such as riparian areas,
major arroyos, floodplains/wetlands, and high slopes where development is not appropriate.
A/DR: Agriculture/Development Reserve: 1 residence/36 ac: an area that is presently under agriculture uses
such as grazing or dryland farming that have low development sensitivity and may be appropriate for future
development but due to distance from services and infrastructure should remain as undeveloped and reevaluated
in ten years .
IA: Irrigated Agriculture: 1 residence/parcel (or up to 4 residences/acre when clustered within buildable
area) - areas that historically or are presently irrigated by ground or surface water (typically acequias) that are to
be protected and maintained in this use.
RR: Rural Residential: 1 residence/3 acres (or up to 4 residences/acre when clustered within buildable
area): generally an existing low density residential development with limited services.
SC: Sustainable Community: 1 residence/acre (or up to 10 residences/acre when clustered within
buildable area and meeting performance standards): These areas should be developed in a manner that
encourages sustainable community practices such as clustered housing , community infrastructure (alternative
water, wastewater and energy systems), a mix of land uses and densities, and adequate community facilities
such as schools, parks, community centers and neighborhood retail. They should encourage multi-modal
transportation (bicycling, equestrian, ride-share, park and ride and transit) and walkability (pathways and
TV: Traditional Village (TV): 4 residences/acre (or up to 15 residences/acre when meeting performance
standards): these are existing historical villages that typically have a plaza and a mix of land uses associated
with them, e.g. Ranchos de Taos, Arroyo Seco, Costilla, Penasco, etc. , that are intended for future growth in a
manner that represents the traditional settlement pattern. This pattern is of a clustered mixed use around a public
space or church with residential housing in compounds close to the street (no setback) and on the dry uplands
away from the irrigated agriculture lands.
CE: Commercial/Employment: 4 to 12 residences/ac; up to 70% lot coverage non-residential uses:
larger commercial retail, employment/industrial and institutional/civic uses that are clustered on highway corridors
to serve the region.
SHC: Scenic Highway Corridor: designated corridors to a depth of 500’ from right of way edge: these are
corridors with high scenic values and high sensitivity to strip development. These corridors would allow cluster
development with limitations on building heights, side or rear parking areas, landscaped buffers along street
setbacks, and monument signage.
Section III. Allowed Land Uses
P = Permitted
S= Special Use
Residential Uses RC A/DR IA RR SC TV C/E SHC
Bed and Breakfast
Day Care
Livestock Raising
Mobile Home Parks
Multiple Family
Private- Preschool
Residential Care Facilities
Single-Family Attached
Single-Family Detached
Non-Residential Uses
Alcoholic Beverage Sales
Animal Boarding
Animal Care
Assisted Living
Arts and Cultural Enterprises
Automotive– Repair
Automotive–Car Sales
Automotive–Parts Sales
Automotive–Service Stations
Automotive Salvage
Building Material Sales
Business & Professional
Dance & Fitness Studios
Day Care Facilities
Energy Production–Renewable
Farmers Markets
Food & Beverage Sales
Hospitals & Clinics
Animal/Livestock processing
Maintenance Yards
Mining- sand and gravel
Plant Nursery
Recycling Services–Consumer
Repair Services–General
Repair Services–Limited
Research & Development
Retail Sales–General
Retail Sales–Regional
Section IV. Development Standards
A. Lot Characteristics
Lot Area – Minimum
Lot Width – Max/Min
Lot Depth – Max/Min
B. Building Placement
Max/Min Front Setback
Max/Min Side Street Setback
(corner lot)
Minimum Side Setback (interior)
Minimum Rear Setback
Percentage of Building Built to
Maximum Front Setback
Maximum Lot Coverage
C. Building Heights
Principal Building Max/Min
Accessory Building Maximum
D. Scenic Highway Corridor (SHC)
A. Setbacks from Highways
1. Any building containing a residential unit shall be set back a minimum of 100 feet from the edge
of the right-of-way of a state or county highway. Native vegetation should be retained or replanted
in this setback area.
2. Any building containing only non-residential uses shall be set back a minimum of 50 feet from the
edge of the right-of-way of a state or county highway. Native vegetation should be retained or
replanted in this setback area. Pedestrian walkway and access is on the front and parking is
located on the side and/or rear of the building.
3. If a parcel in existence at the time of the adoption of this ordinance does not contain a building
site meeting the required setbacks, a single family residence may be permitted if the County
determines that the residence will be adequately buffered from highway noise. Berms,
landscaping and use of existing terrain are acceptable methods for buffering.
C. Noise Walls. Noise walls facing a federal, state, or county highway are prohibited. Additional setbacks or
landscaped berms may be used to reduce noise impacts.
D. Screening
1. Service areas, loading areas, outdoor storage areas, and trash receptacles for other than singlefamily
houses shall be screened with buildings, walls, berms, vegetation, and/or existing terrain.
The screening for loading areas and outdoor storage areas shall be a minimum of 6 feet in height
and a maximum of 8 feet in height. All screening shall provide protection of the enclosed area
from animals and wind.
2. Parking areas shall be screened from adjacent residences by walls, berms, or a combination
thereof that are a minimum of 3 feet in height and a maximum of 5 feet in height.
E. Signs
1. Billboards or other signs advertising a product, service, or business not located on the same legal
lot as the sign are prohibited.
2. Signs shall not exceed 60 square feet in area.
3. Signs shall be permanently mounted or affixed to the ground or a permanent structure.
4. Letters shall be large enough and have adequate contrast with the background to be readable to
the intended viewer.
5. Neon, flashing, and intermittently lit signs are prohibited.
Section V. Special Provisions
This section of the Code describes several provisions that may be regulatory and enforceable or advisory as
A. Building Types (this section needs more work, especially specific to Taos County)
Building types describe the form and placement of the buildings on the lot for each of the land use districts. They
are not architectural designs but provide guidance on massing, setbacks, parking, and access.
Single family detached residential with detached accessory
structures are permitted in all districts.
Non-residential buildings should be to the street with
pedestrian access in front and parking on the side and/or
rear yards. These building types are permitted in
Sustainable Community, Traditional Village, and
Commercial/Employment Districts.
B. Building Efficiency/Materials
A. Intent. Buildings should be designed and built to use resources efficiently and provide a healthy
environment for their occupants. Natural landforms and habitats should be conserved whenever
possible. Styles and materials from the Taos area should be used to provide a link back through the
region’s history. At the same time, new building materials, technologies, and processes should be used
to move toward a sustainable region.
B. Major Developments. An applicant for a major development, as defined by the Taos County Land Use
Regulations, shall complete and submit the appropriate LEED checklist developed by the U.S. Green
Building Council. The checklist shall be submitted with the application for a special use permit. This
requirement is for informational purposes and does not commit the applicant to participate in the LEED
certification process.
Heating and Cooling
A. Building Insulation. A building used for human occupancy should have the following insulation:
1. Walls: R factor of 21
2. Ceiling: R factor of 34
B. Foundation Insulation. All foundations, including slab floors, should be insulated with at least R-4
C. Windows. All windows should be ENERGY STAR labeled or have equivalent performance.
D. Window Shading. South-facing windows should have overhangs or awnings. (see section G Renewable
E. Garages. Whenever feasible, garages should not be located along the southern side of the building.
F. Passive Solar. Passive solar heating and cooling techniques should be incorporated into the design and
construction of the building.
G. Natural Ventilation. The building and its window locations should be designed to provide natural
H. Roof. Light colored roofing materials should be used in order to reflect the sunlight.
1. A roof with a slope of less than 2 feet vertical to 12 feet horizontal should use a roofing material
with a minimum solar reflectance index (SRI) of 78.
2. A roof with a steeper slope should use a roofing material with a minimum solar reflectance index
(SRI) of 29.
I. Whole House Fan. A whole house fan should be installed to reduce or eliminate the need for air
J. Garage Fan. A separate exhaust fan should be installed in attached garages in order to prevent
contaminants from entering the living area.
L. HVAC System. Heating and air conditioning systems that are ENERGY STAR labeled or have equivalent
performance should be installed.
M. Solar Hot Water System. If a solar hot water system is not installed during construction, the house should
be oriented to provide for a south-facing roof area and pre-plumbed for the solar hot water system. (see
section G Renewable Energy)
N. Heating Water
1. Solar hot water heaters should be installed whenever feasible to provide hot water for the
2. On-demand tankless water heaters are the second most efficient hot water heating system after
solar systems. The on-demand tankless hot water heater should be installed when a solar
heating system is not feasible.
3. If conventional gas water heaters are used, they should be should be properly sized and energy
efficient (minimum Energy Factor of 0.63). Electric hot water heaters are very inefficient and
should not be used.
4. The layout of the internal hot water distribution system should minimize the total length of pipes in
order to prevent heat loss.
5. Insulation. All hot water pipes should have R4 insulation.
Electricity Use
A. Photovoltaic Systems. A photovoltaic system should be installed to provide on-site electricity. (see
Section G Renewable Energy) If the system is not installed during construction, the house should be
oriented to provide for a south-facing roof area and pre-wires for the photovoltaic installation. (see section
G Renewable Energy)
B. Lighting. ENERGY STAR labeled light fixtures or ENERGY STAR labeled compact fluorescent light bulbs
should be installed.
C. Lighting Controls. Motion detectors or timers should be installed to turn off lights when lighting is not
D. Appliances. ENERGY STAR labeled refrigerator, ceiling fans, dishwasher, and clothes washer should be
E. Bathroom Fans. ENERGY STAR labeled exhaust fans should be installed in each bathroom.
Water Use
A. Efficient Faucets. All bathroom and kitchen faucets should have an average flow rate equal to or less than
2.0 gallons per minute.
B. Efficient Shower Heads. All shower heads should have an average flow rate equal to or less than 2.0
gallons per minute.
C. Efficient Toilets. All toilets should have an average flow rate equal to or less than 1.3 gallons per flush.
A. Reuse. All or parts of an existing building should be reused whenever possible instead of demolishing the
building and starting over.
B. Recycled Materials. Recycled materials or materials with recycled content should be used whenever
possible during remodeling or new building construction.
C. Local Materials. Building materials that have been extracted, processed and manufactured within 500
miles of the building site should be used whenever available.
D. Wood Products. Wood products should be used that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship
E. Construction Waste. Construction waste should be minimized and what remains should be recycled.
F. Paints. Low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, finishes, and adhesives should be used to
improve the interior air quality.
G. Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde-free materials for should be used cabinets and other applications to
improve the interior air quality.
H. Ceramic Tiles. When using ceramic tiles, only those with recycled content should be used.
I. Carpets. Carpets that have the Green Label standard developed by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)
should be used.
J. Space for Recycling. Space should be provided in or near the building for materials to be stored prior to
C. Cluster Development Option
A. Purpose. It is the purpose of these provisions to cluster development on a portion of the larger land area
(cluster development area) while preserving the remainder in open space (open space area) in order to:
1. Encourage creative and flexible site design that is sensitive to the land’s natural features and
adapts to the natural topography;
2. Protect environmentally sensitive areas of a development site and preserve on a permanent basis
open space, natural features, and agricultural lands;
3. Promote cost savings in infrastructure installation and maintenance by such techniques as
reducing the distance over which utilities, such as water and sewer lines, need to be extended or
by reducing the width or length of streets;
4. Facilitate a sense of community and reduce the need for vehicle trips by having residential and
non-residential uses within walking distance of each other; and
5. Provide opportunities for social interaction and walking and hiking in open space areas.
B. Applicability. Cluster development shall be permitted as of right in the following districts:
1. RR Rural Residential;
2. SC Sustainable Community;
3. CE Commercial/Employment;
4. SHC Scenic Highway Corridor.
C. Open Space Area: Characteristics. The open space area should restrict development on lands with the
highest environmental values and the highest level of natural hazards.
1. Areas that should be included within the open space area include the following:
a. Wetlands;
b. Floodplains;
c. Creeks and rivers;
d. Riparian buffers;
e. Agricultural lands;
f. Acequias;
g. Arroyos;
h. Well-protection areas (public wells);
i. Habitats;
j. Habitat corridors;
k. Natural drainage areas;
l. Aquifer recharge areas;
m. Views of scenic features;
n. Scenic ridgelines and hilltops; and
o. Cultural features and archaeological sites.
2. The configuration of the open space area should comply with the following principles:
a. The open space should be contiguous if possible;
b. The open space should maximize common boundaries with other open space;
c. The open space should maximize trail connections;
d. No single area of open space shall be less than 100 feet in its smallest dimension;
e. The boundaries of the open space area should be marked by natural features wherever
possible; and
f. If marking boundaries of the open space area by natural features is not possible,
landscaping or fences should be used to distinguish the open space from private land.
D. Open Space Area: Size. The percentage of the gross area to be retained in open space is shown in the
following table:
District Percent Open Space
RR Rural Residential 50%
SC Sustainable Community 50%
CE Commercial/Employment 35%
SHC Scenic Highway Corridor 35%
E. Open Space Area: Uses. The following are allowable uses within the open space area:
1. Agriculture;
2. Community gardens;
3. Trails, parks, playgrounds;
4. Stormwater detention and/or retention;
5. Natural areas; and
6. Other similar low-impact uses.
F. Cluster Development Area: Characteristics. The cluster development area should be the portion of the
land that is most suitable for development. Some criteria for selecting this area are:
1. The area has already been disturbed;
2. The area has good access to public road; and
3. The area possesses none or a minimum of the characteristics of an open space area (see
G. Cluster Development Area: Uses. All principal and accessory uses otherwise allowed by right or by
special use permit shall be allowed in the cluster development. In addition, the following uses are allowed
without a special use permit:
1. Two-family dwellings (duplexes);
2. Townhouses (two or more single-family dwelling units physically connected on one or both sides);
3. Commercial uses less than 3,000 square feet.
H. Cluster Development Area: Amount of Development.
1. The number of permitted dwelling units within a cluster development area shall be calculated in
the following manner:
a. Measure the gross area of the proposed site in acres;
b. Subtract from the gross area the area of public and private streets and other publicly
dedicated improvements;
c. Divide the area in acres as determined above by 0.75; the result is the number of
residential units allowed in the cluster development area.
2. One or more residential-unit allocations may be converted to non-residential uses using a
conversion of 1 dwelling unit equals 2,500 square feet of non-residential use.
I. Cluster Development Area: Standards. Development shall comply with the following standards.
1. The minimum area of the cluster development shall be 2 acres;
2. The number of driveways leading to and from the public right-of-way shall be minimized in favor
of common driveways and internal streets;
3. Parking requirements may be applied to the entire cluster development site rather than to any
individual lot;
4. No minimum size, width, or depth of an individual lot shall apply;
5. A minimum separation of 10 feet shall be provided between all principal buildings and structures;
6. A minimum yard or common open space of a least 25 feet in depth shall be provided as
measured from all public streets and from the boundary of the open space area; and
7. More than one principal building or structure may be placed on a lot.
J. Protection of Open Space Areas
1. The open space area may be owned by any of the following:
a. A homeowners association;
b. A governmental agency;
c. A non-for-profit conservation organization; or
d. An individual.
2. Regardless of the ownership, the open space area shall be restricted in perpetuity to open space
uses by a conservation easement, deed restriction, or other legal instrument that runs with the
3. The legal instrument shall clearly state if the public or residents of the cluster development have
access to the open space area.
K. Application. A site plan for a cluster development shall be submitted for approval and shall be approved
before any ground disturbance or construction takes place.
1. The site plan shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following information:
a. The maximum number and type of dwelling units proposed;
b. The size and description of non-residential buildings proposed;
c. The areas of the site on which the buildings are to be constructed or are currently located
and their size (this may take the form of the footprint of the building or a building envelope
showing the general area in which the dwelling unit is to be located);
d. The calculations for the permitted number of dwelling units or non-residential space;
e. The areas of the site designated for common open space and their size;
f. The areas of the site designated for parking and loading, and the size of individual
g. The vehicular access to the public right-of-way and the internal street system;
h. The location of sidewalks, trails, and bike paths;
i. The number and percentage of dwelling units, if any, that are proposed to be affordable;
j. The number of acres that are proposed to be preserved as common open space.
2. The proposed ownership and management plan for the common open space shall be submitted
with the site plan.
L. Approval Process. The Planning Director shall review and approve, approve with conditions, or
disapprove a cluster development in the manner provided for in the Taos County Land Use Regulations.
1. The review criteria are as follows:
a. The site plan satisfies the requirements of Section K above;
b. The project meets the requirements of this Chapter Clustering Provisions;
c. The project is consistent with any adopted plan for the area;
d. Vehicular access to public rights-of-way is minimized;
e. Parking is adequate but not excessive;
f. Individual lots, buildings, structures, streets, and parking areas are situated to minimize
the alteration of natural features, natural vegetation, and topography;
g. Existing scenic views or vistas are permitted to remain unobstructed, especially from
public streets;
h. Historic, cultural, and archaeological features of significant value are preserved;
i. Floodplains, wetlands, and other environmental features of significant value are protected
from development;
j. Pedestrians can easily access the open space area, if such access is allowed; and
k. The ownership and management plan for the open space area is feasible, will ensure that
the area is properly maintained, and will protect the open space area from development.
2. The Planning Director may apply such special conditions to the approval of a cluster development
as may be required to promote the objectives and purposes of any adopted plan or ordinance
applicable to the area.
Clustered Development Lot Sizes and Densities
Min lot size
for one unit
5 acres 1 acre ¼ acre 1/2 -1/4
1/2 -1/4
No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Max number
of clustered
N/A N/A 4 du/ac or
6* du/ac
4 du/ac or
10* du/ac
6 du/ac or
15* du/ac
Area for
N/A N/A 50% of lot 50% of lot
Max lot
coverage for
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 70% 70%
*asterisk means that higher cluster density is allowed if at least two of the following elements are accessible within
¼ mile distance from the cluster development:
Park (min 2 ac in size) Public school Community center
Transit stop or facility Civic facilities Post office
Open Space
within lots
Open Space as
common area
D. Irrigated Agricultural Lands and Acequias
The purpose of this Section is to protect and preserve the agricultural lands, the acequia systems, and the ground
and surface water resources of Taos County by establishing criteria for review and approval of development,
subdivisions, or division of land located within irrigated agricultural lands.
The specific purposes are:
1. To promote the clustering of lots, homes and structures on irrigated agricultural land in order to protect
agricultural uses and cultural values in Taos County while accommodating new development.
2. To ensure the integrity and availability of irrigated agricultural lands in Taos County for future generations.
3. To promote the conservation and efficiency of the water resources of Taos County for sustained and
beneficial use and maintain the viability and health of the historic acequia system.
4. To minimize and reduce potential contamination of underground and surfaces water supplies from the
proliferation of septic systems associated with new development.
5. To protect the water supply of Taos County by regulating land use development, subdivisions or division
of land, homes and other structures, private and community wells, and liquid wastewater disposal
systems on irrigated agricultural land.
6. To require more compact development with irrigated agricultural land set aside to protect the historic
settlement patterns and important visual qualities which make Taos County a special place to live.
7. To protect the agricultural uses from the negative impacts of development and from uses that are not
compatible with irrigated agriculture.
8. To create development criteria that allows for harmonious development within irrigated agricultural land.
All the land within the Irrigated Agricultural District Zone is separated into the following areas:
a. Buildable area; and
b. Agricultural area.
1. Purpose. The purpose of the buildable area is to provide housing and accessory structures associated
with agricultural uses such as a greenhouse, garage for farm equipment, corral, barn or other similar uses and
structures on a portion of irrigated agricultural land lots.
2. Calculation of Size of Area. The maximum size of the buildable area for irrigated agricultural lots existing
as of the effective date of this Section VII is set forth in the following table.
Size of Lot
Percentage of Lot
Defined as
Buildable Area
Less than 1.0 acre Not Applicable
1.0 to 1.99 acres 40
2.0 to 3.99 acres 35
4.0 to 5.99 acres 30
More than 6.0 acres 25
3. Characteristics. Only one buildable area is allowed on a parcel.
4. Allowed Uses. The following uses do not require County approval but require review by the County
Planning Director as set forth in Subsection 8 below:
a. Single-family residences;
b. Agricultural uses
c. Home/Cottage industries
5. Development Standards
a. When a shared alternative liquid waste disposal system is proposed, a 20-foot wide
ingress/egress easement connecting the buildable area to the agricultural area shall be
designated on the plat.
b. A shared well shall be required for lots less than ¾ acre in size within the buildable area. The
appropriate easements shall be provided. Individual domestic wells shall be allowed for lots
which are ¾ acre or larger within the buildable area, but shared wells are encouraged.
d. Impervious surfaces within the buildable area should be minimized. Shared driveways and
access are encouraged.
e. Design flexibility is encouraged to accomplish the purposes of the Agricultural Overlay Zone
6. Administrative Review. All development shall be reviewed by the Planning Director for the purpose of
ensuring that it complies with the provisions of this Section.
1. Purpose. The purpose of the agricultural area is to retain land in productive agricultural uses, encourage
locally grown produce and livestock, and provide economic stability for future generations.
2. Calculation of Size of Area. The size of the agricultural area is determined by subtracting the size of the
buildable area from the size of the total irrigated agricultural land lot.
3. Allowed Uses. The following uses do not require County approval but require review by the County
Planning Director as set forth in Subsection 5 below. Allowed uses shall be limited to agriculture,
livestock and liquid waste disposal systems required for development in the buildable area.
4. Special Uses. Special uses are limited to the allowed uses described for the Buildable Area provided the
maximum Building Area percentage for the lot is not exceeded.
5. Administrative Review. All development shall be reviewed by the Planning Director for the purpose of
ensuring that it complies with the provisions of this Section. The property owner shall provide the County
a recorded deed restriction enforceable by the County designating the Agricultural area as in compliance
with Section E, or a recorded conservation easement on the Agriculture area to a non-profit conservation
Incentives to maintain irrigated agricultural lands in production:
• Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
• Farm To Table Programs
• Conservation Stewardship Organizations (CSO)
• Rural Historic Districts
• Conservation Easements
Acequias should remain open and uncovered, have easy access and be unobstructed from fences, and retain a
minimum 12’ maintenance easement on at least one side.
Red line= Property line Purple line = Buildable Area Yellow line= Parcel split(s) or subdivision
E. Site Restoration/landscaping
A. Existing Vegetation. Existing trees and other vegetation should be retained whenever possible.
B. Shade Trees.
1. Shade trees should be planted on the east side of the building to provide shade from the morning
2. Deciduous shade trees should be planted on the west side of the building to provide shade from
the afternoon sun.
3. Shade tress, including deciduous trees, should be planted on the south side only if they do not
adversely affect the solar energy system. (see Section G Renewable Energy)
C. Plant Types. Native and drought-tolerant plants should be used for landscaping.
D. Efficient Landscape Watering. Captured rainwater or recycled graywater should be used for landscape
E. Drip Irrigation. Any irrigation needed should be provided by a drip system in order to minimize water
F. Permeable Paving. Permeable paving should be used because it will help retain rainwater on site, which
will minimize the need for irrigation.
G. Walkway Lights. Photovoltaic walkway lights should be installed to save electricity and provide for safety.
F. Stormwater Management/Water Harvesting and Graywater
Stormwater and drainage concepts serve to preserve
and enhance the natural arroyos. The natural arroyos
channel the water off the site and maintain the habitat for
resident wildlife.
Harvesting Rainwater and Water Harvesting
With an annual average precipitation rate of 12 inches,
water availability is and will remain one of the most critical
issues facing Taos County. The county intends to
conserve this vital resource by encouraging water
conservation practices, harvesting rainwater, re-use of
gray water for landscaping, and effectively managing
stormwater through ecological design.
Principles of Successful Water Harvesting
(Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Brad Lancaster, 2006)
• Start at the top (highpoint) of your watershed and work your way down. Water travels downhill, so
collect water at your high points for more immediate infiltration and easy gravity-fed distribution. Start at
the top where there is less volume and velocity of water.
• Start small and simple. Work at the human scale so you can build and repair everything. Many small
strategies are far more effective than one big one when you are trying to infiltrate water into the soil.
• Slow, spread, and infiltrate the flow of water. Rather than having water erosively runoff the land’s
surface, encourage it to stick around, “walk” around, and infiltrate into
the soil. Slow it, spread it, sink it.
• Always plan an overflow route, and manage that overflow as a
resource. Always have an overflow route for the water in times of
extra heavy rains, and where possible, use the overflow as a resource.
• Maximize living and organic groundcover. Create a living sponge
so the harvested water is used to create more resources, while the
soil’s ability to infiltrate and hold water steadily improves. 
• Maximize beneficial relationships and efficiency by “stacking
functions." Get your water harvesting strategies to do more than hold
water. Berms can double as high and dry raised paths. Plantings can
be placed to cool buildings in summer. Vegetation can be selected to
provide food.
For a thorough introductory description of water-harvesting principles and
additional ethics see Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1
(Rainsource Press, 2006).
Roof and Surface Rainwater Catchment Areas
There is potential for nearly any surface to be used to catch water. Structural surfaces, hardscaped areas and
landscaped surfaces (vegetated, gravel, bare) all can create invaluable sources of water if designed accordingly.
On average 1" of rain can produce 600 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet of catchment surface, and on a
larger scale 27,000 gallons on 1 acre of catchment surface. Below are two equations that can be used to estimate
volume of runoff off catchment surfaces.
Estimated Net Runoff from a Catchment Surface Adjusted by its Runoff Coefficient
catchment area (ft2) x rainfall (ft) x 7.48 gal/ft x runoff coefficient = net runoff (gal)
* To account for potential loss, determine the runoff coefficient that is appropriate for your area and impervious
catchment surface (0.80 to 0.95)
• Desert uplands (healthy indigenous landscape): range 0.20–0.70, average 0.30–0.50
• Bare earth: range 0.20–0.75, average 0.35–0.55
• Grass/lawn: range 0.05–0.35, average 0.10–0.25
• For gravel use the coefficient of the ground below the gravel
(referenced from Harvesting Rainwater for Drylands and Beyond, Brad Lancaster, 2006)
A simple system usually consists of catchment area and means of
distribution, which operates by gravity. The water is deposited in a
landscape holding area, a concave or planted area or planted area with
edges to retain water, where it can be used immediately by plants.
A more complex system can include a storage tank such as a
cistern, and a distribution system though an underground irrigation
Effective rainwater harvesting design and systems include:
• Above ground cisterns (larger quantities) and rain barrels (smaller quantities)
• Below ground cisterns and storage tanks
• Swales designed on contour and vegetated swales
• Infiltration zones (stripped landscaping, ponds, basins)
• Pumice wicks
• Permeable and vegetated surfaces*
• French drains
• Retention ponds
Graywater Systems
Graywater systems can utilize waste water from bathroom sinks, showers and washing machines as a
supplemental source for landscape irrigation.Reuse of gray water helps conserve our fresh water supplies by not
applying drinking water to the landscape.
In New Mexico Gray water is defined as,
"untreated household wastewater that has not come in contact with toilet waste and includes wastewater from
bathtubs, showers, washbasins, clothes washing machines and laundry tubs, but does not include wastewater
from kitchen sinks or dishwashers or laundry water from the washing of material soiled with human excreta, such
as diapers."
The 2003 Legislature passed House Bill 114, codified at 74-6-2 and 74-6-4 NMSA 1978, that set conditions
whereby up to 250 gallons per day of residential gray water may be used for household gardening, composting or
landscaping irrigation without a permit. Gray water harvesting systems designed to discharge more than 250
gallons/day requires a permit issued by the New Mexico Environmental Department (NMED).
Drought tolerant garden planted with pumice wick water harvesting system (above) and Design for Pumice Wick
(left): Santa Fe Permaculture
Gray water harvesting and reuse systems must comply with the following regulations (NMED)
• Gray water should not be used in vegetable gardens to irrigate root crops or edible parts of food crops that
touch the soil. However, gray water can be used on fruit trees.
• The gray water distribution system must be constructed so that overflow from the system drains into the
sanitary sewer or septic system. In some cases, a liquid waste permit may be necessary if an on-site septic
system is modified.
• If gray water is going to be stored, it should not be held more than 24 hours to prevent growth of bacteria. A
gray water storage tank must be covered to restrict access and to eliminate habitat for mosquitoes or other
• Gray water should be discharged only in areas where there is vertical separation of at least five feet between
the point of discharge and the ground water table to protect ground water resources from possible
contamination. Current liquid waste disposal regulations require that gray water not be applied within 100 feet
of a domestic well or within 200 feet of a public water supply.
• The gray water system must not be located in any area susceptible to flooding.
• Gray water pressure piping should be clearly identified as carrying non-potable water and not be connected
with the drinking water system. (Purple pipe is traditionally used to denote gray water piping, but any easy-toidentify
labeling is sufficient.) Alterations or additions to a plumbing system should be made by a licensed
plumber, or a homeowner must apply for a homeowner’s plumbing permit.
• Gray water must be used on the site where it is generated and may not run off the property.
• Gray water should be applied in a manner that minimizes the potential for contact with people or domestic
• To avoid contact, gray water must be applied to a mulched area or through a subsurface piping or irrigation
• Ponding of gray water is prohibited, and application of gray water must be managed to minimize standing
water, encourage infiltration, and prevent over-saturation of the soil.
• Gray water must not be sprayed.
• Gray water must not be discharged to a watercourse. Current liquid waste disposal regulations require that
discharges of gray water be made at least 100 feet from streams or lakes or 25 feet (plus the depth of the
arroyo) from an arroyo.
• Gray water use shall comply with all applicable municipal or county ordinances, local building codes, state
laws, and related regulations and guidelines.
A more complex community wastewater system can be a constructed wetlands system that is an alternative to
individual septic fields and tanks. The reclaimed water from this system can be used to irrigate landscape areas
but not food crops.
G. Solar and Wind Generation
Solar Energy
A. Intent. It is the intent of the County of Taos to encourage the use of solar energy systems in order to
reduce reliance on imported oil, minimize environmental impacts, and reduce the costs of energy to
building owners. Solar energy systems include those used to produce electricity (photovoltaic (PV)
systems) or used to produce hot water or hot air (solar thermal systems).
B. Codes. The solar energy system shall meet all applicable county and state building, plumbing, and
electrical codes.
C. Interconnections. A photovoltaic system intended to be connected to the electric utility grid shall not be
operated until the electric utility provider has been notified in writing of the machine owner’s intent to
D. Building Orientation. The longest axis of the building should generally run in an east-direction with the
largest face of the building at an azimuth (compass reading) between approximately 205 and 175
degrees, with the ideal being approximately 190 degrees.
E. Solar Access Protection. The area beyond the south-facing wall of a building should be a solar access
protection area. This area is shown below.
Within the Solar Access Protection Area, trees and structures should be restricted as
a. 0 to 10 feet from the building: no obstructions
b. 10 or more feet from the building: fences allowed
c. 17 or more feet from the building: tree or structure with a maximum 12 foot-height
d. 39 or more feet from the building: tree or structure with a maximum 24 foot-height
e. 100 or more feet from the building: no height restrictions
degrees Solar Access
Protection Area
2. A technical solar analysis may be substituted for the above, especially if the ground is uneven.
F. Trees. Deciduous trees are encouraged on the east and west side of the building. All trees, including
deciduous trees, planted within the Solar Access Protection Area should comply with the setback and
height restrictions above.
G. North-South Streets. On north-south streets better control over solar access can be achieved by allowing
or requiring all of the side-yard setbacks to occur on the south side of the building with no side setback on
the north side of the building (zero-lot line development).
H. Overhangs. Overhands should be used to assist in passive solar heating and cooling. The method of
calculating the optimum overhang is shown below. It provides full 8 weeks of sun around the winter
solstice and 8 full weeks of shall around the summer solstice. The lower edge of the overhang should be
located at the point of intersection of the two dashed lines as shown below.
I. Reflective Ground-level Surfaces. Highly reflective surfaces at the ground level should be avoided within
the Solar Access Protection Area during June, July, August, and September.
Wind Energy
A. Intent. It is the intent of the County of Taos to encourage the use of wind machines in order to reduce
reliance on imported oil, minimize environmental impacts, and reduce the costs of energy to building
owners. This section applies to non-commercial wind machines used to produce electricity primarily for
the use of the owner of the lot on which the wind machine is located.
B. Setbacks. A wind machine shall have a minimum setback from the property line a distance no less than
the distance from finished grade to the maximum height of the turbine blade.
C. Height: The maximum height from finished grade to the blade hub is 40 feet.
C. Location. The wind machine tower and any of its guy wires shall not be located in the front yard of any
residential or commercial building.
73 degrees
36 degrees
Point of Intersection
D. Speed Control. All wind machines shall contain an internal governor or braking device that engages at
wind speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour.
E. Advertising. Advertising is prohibited on any portion of the wind machine.
F. Illumination. Wind machines may not be artificially illuminated except where legally required by a
governmental agency.
G. Condition. All wind machines shall be kept in good repair, free from rust, and without damaged supports,
framework, or other components.
H. Non-operating Machine. An abandoned or unused wind machine shall be removed within 12 months of
the cessation of operations. If the machine is not so removed, it shall be deemed a nuisance subject to
legal abatement and removal.
I. Noise. The noise level of the wind machine shall not exceed the lesser of 60 decibels (dBA) or the local
noise level applicable to the lot upon which the machine is located.
J. Codes. The wind machine shall meet all applicable county and state building and electrical codes.
K. Grid Connection. A wind machine intended to be connected to the electric utility grid shall not be operated
until the electric utility provider has been notified in writing of the machine owner’s intent to interconnect.
H. Wildland Urban Interface:
Intent: Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) can be defined as an area where structures and developed areas abut or
interface with undeveloped wildland and where fire can move readily between structural and vegetative
fuels. It is the intent of the County of Taos to encourage landowners to reduce the threat of catastrophic
wildfires, and the risk of human endangerment and property damages resulting from wildfires by creating
appropriate defensible space around homes and structures and taking simple precautions to remove
debris and dead vegetation near homes, structures and potential ignition sources.
WUI Area Defined for Taos County: Two Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) have been completed for
Taos County, the Enchanted Circle CWPP 2006 and Taos County CWPP 2007. The CWPPs established
a WUI area and boundary (see map titled Wildland Urban Interface, Taos County) as well as identified
communities in Taos County at risk of wildfire based on population and location, vegetation classifications
and access to fire and emergency management resources (for community risk of wildfire, see table 1
below). These plans were adopted, through resolution, by Taos County in 2006 and 2007.
Table 1: Taos County Communities Wildfire Risk, Enchanted Circle CWPP, 2006.
The International Wildland-Urban Interface Code (published by the International Code Council, Inc.), in its entirety
or portions thereof, should be adopted by Taos County Commissioners. Guidelines under this code include
access to communities and structures, appropriate defensible space, water supply, ignition-resistant construction
materials, roofing materials, protection of ignition sources such as propane tanks and vegetation control. Adoption
of this code could facilitate efforts to protect communities and infrastructure in Taos County.
Amalia Moderate
Arroyo Hondo Moderate
Arroyo Seco Moderate
Cerro Low
Chamisal Moderate
Costilla Moderate
El Prado Low
La Lama Low
Latir High
Penasco Low
Pot Creek High
Rodarte Low
Shady Brook High
Sunshine Valley Low
Trampas Low
Vadito Moderate
Valle Escondido High
Defensible space should be created and maintained around structures and ingress and egress access ways to
reduce and slow the spread of wildfire. Defensible space may be designed in a series of management zonesbeginning
with the area immediately around a structure and extending outward towards the property lines.
Approximate guidelines are as follows:
• Zone 1= 15 feet around structure: Zone 1 is the area with the maximum amount of modification and
treatment. In this area low growing vegetation should be minimized to limit potential surface spread and areas
around larger trees should be cleared to reduce potential ladder fuels and risk of canopy fire. This zone
should also be cleared of debris, dead vegetation, fuel tanks and firewood.
• Zone 2= approx. 75-125 feet from structure (variable with slope, vegetation, aspect). Fuels in Zone 2 should
be reduced in a way that allows canopy openings between trees and that limits ladder fuels underneath larger
The International Wildland-Urban Interface Code may be referred to for more extensive landscape, land-use and
vegetative treatments for adequate defensible space.
Defensible space can save your home from wildfire, 2006,
Additional homeowner precautions include:
• Creating a fire protection plan and escape plan
• Keeping immediate area around house clear of debris, dead vegetation, firewood and flammable chemicals
• Clear ALL flammable vegetation from within 10 feet of propane tanks
• Trim tree branches within 10 feet of a chimney or stovepipe
• Screening vents to prevent debris accumulation
• Thinning and clearing ladder fuels under tall trees
• Using non-flammable building materials for fences, walls and boundary lines
• Creating an emergency water supply through a cistern or other catchment systems
• Incorporating stone and other hard surfaces and non-flammable materials into landscaping immediately
surrounding house
• Remove all needles and leaves from beneath decks and within two feet of any structure; in open areas,
restrict needles and leaves to a depth of 2 inches to prevent erosion
For more fire prevention resources homeowners can turn to:
Section VII. Community facilities
Community facilities, such as plazas, parks,
neighborhood centers, schools, churches and postal
facilities should be sited within a ¼ mile or on a 5 – 10
min walking distance within the neighborhood.
Recycling facilities are also important community
facilities that should be conveniently located within
each neighborhood and have easy automobile access.
These recycling centers do not need to be co-located
with solid waste transfer stations.
Plazuelas and courtyards can also be incorporated into housing and
neighborhood designs as a central courtyard feature. Pedestrian
pathways can also serve as access to front porches on the front yards
to create a sense of neighborhood.
Section VI. Transportation/Walkability
Streets, Pedestrians and Bikes
Adequate right of way should be
provided in all new
developments. In most
residential developments, a
minimum of 50’ of right of way is
needed. Wider rights of way
may be necessary at
intersections and on major
corridors. A residential street
should provide 10’ travel lanes
with flush or no curbs to allow
water runoff to the landscaped
edges. Pedestrian walkways
should be provided in both sides
of the road. If only on one side,
the pathways should be a
minimum of 8’ wide to provide
both pedestrian and bike uses.
Road Guidelines
Unpaved roads are prevalent in Taos
County and are a major factor in soil
erosion and reducing water quality in
surface streams. Turbidity, due to soil
erosion, is the number one cause of poor
surface water quality in New Mexico.
Many issues with soil erosion from
unpaved or dirt roads can be alleviated
with proper road construction and
Proper crowning and drainage of the
roadway will improve maintenance
requirements and allow opportunities for
water harvesting from the road surface.
Permeable road surfaces are available
such as Polypavement and RoadOyl that
are organic emulsifiers that when mixed
with or applied with native soils will
reduce dust and erosion, and provide a
natural looking surface that is pervious to
water infiltration.
Section VIII. Provisions Applicable To All Zones
A. Off-Street Loading. Example: Any use requiring loading space for normal operations shall provide
adequate loading space at the rear of the building, so that no vehicle being loaded or unloaded in
connection with normal operations shall stand in, or project into, any public street, walk, alley, or way.
B. Trailers. Example: Trailers that are unattended and or abandoned and not attached to a vehicle and
metal storage units or containers on or off wheels or franchise units shall not be located within 100 feet of
the highway easement and must be partially screened with a minimum of a 6-foot fence from view of
neighbors and the highway and if located on the property more than 6 months must be painted a earth
tone color.
C. Abandoned Vehicles. Any inoperable vehicle (as defined in Taos County Ordinance 2004-2 and Taos
County Ordinance 1987-3) shall be repaired and made operable, stored in a garage, or removed from the
premises within 30 days and must comply with all New Mexico State and Taos County nuisance laws.
D. Waste. Example: The project must be permitted for Waste Water Treatment by the New Mexico State
Environment Department. No open garbage pits shall be maintained or used and no brush, trash or other
waste materials shall be burned on the premises without a Taos County or Arroyo Hondo Fire
Department burn permit.
E. Landscaping. Example: Landscaping and xeriscaping are strongly encouraged, and should be designed
and maintained with consideration of the neighbor’s views.
F. Access. Example: The development or project must be permitted for access road construction by Taos
County and New Mexico Department of Transportation when the property access is from a New Mexico
State Highway.
G. Building Color. Example: All buildings must have an exterior color which approximates one of the earth
tone colors in a current “commercial stucco color chart” except for natural wood exteriors.
H. Signage. Signage shall comply with the following provisions: Examples:
1. Signage is restricted to signs up to a maximum of 7% of the face of the building or 100 square
feet, whichever is less per business. This figure includes all exterior signs whether attached or
free standing.
2. Signage is restricted to that which applies only to the business on the property.
3. All signage must comply with state regulations and the existing Taos County Signage Ordinance.
4. Neon signs must be installed inside the building and any larger than 8 square feet are prohibited.
5. Billboard signs are not allowed.
I. Dark Skies. Example: All artificial exterior lighting must be shaded to meet New Mexico State “dark skies”
laws and any Taos County Ordinances for “dark skies” conditions at night. Exterior lighting systems shall
meet the functional and security requirements of the proposed land use, without producing nuisance glare
or light trespass or does not adversely impact adjacent properties or the community.
J. Underground Utilities. Example: All new utilities installed after the date this ordinance becomes effective
must be underground and comply with all county, state and federal government regulations.
K. Noise. Example: No improvement or use is permitted which emit noises louder than 60dB (A scale)
measured at the perimeter of the property. Short, infrequent exceptions are permitted.
L. Outdoor Storage. Example: No permanent (longer than 6 months) outdoor storage except for that which
is integral to the use of the business and which does not present a significant negative visual impact on
the surrounding commercial neighborhood. Upon completion of construction of the business, all
construction equipment and surplus building materials shall be promptly removed from the premises,
stored in an appropriate storage room, or adequately screened from view of neighbors and roadways.
M. Views. Example: The views of the adjacent parcels and existing improvements should be preserved to
the maximum extent possible. This can be accomplished by orientation, changing the roof design,
clustering, or reduction in the maximum heights of new improvements depending upon the elevation
relative to other sites.
In addition to the definitions included in Section IV of the Taos County Land Use Regulations and Article Two of
the Taos County Subdivision Regulations, the following terms and definitions are included.
1. Advanced Liquid Disposal System – Any treatment system that stabilizes liquid waste through the
addition of supplemental air or dissolved oxygen by means of mechanical or diffused aeration.
2. Agricultural Land – A consolidated area set aside as permanent agricultural land.
3. Buildable Area – A consolidated land area that may be used or subdivided for buildings and associated
development purposes that is located along and abutting the existing access or roadway frontage.
4. Built-upon Area – The area on irrigated land that has been previously built upon with houses, garages,
other structures and access roads.
5. Cluster Subdivision – A subdivision or division of land that provides buildable lots grouped together so
that the irrigated agricultural land is permanently maintained.
6. Impervious Surface – Surfaces that do not absorb water. They may consist of all buildings and associated
developments such as parking areas, driveways, roads, sidewalks, and any other areas of concrete or
7. Irrigated Agricultural Land – Those lands listed as “Irrigated Agricultural Land” by the Taos County
Assessor on the effective date of this Section VII; those lands identified by hydrographic survey that are
described as having historically been used for irrigated agriculture; or those lands that are shown to be
irrigated by acequia, mitigation wells or groundwater-pumped irrigation systems in the records of the
acequia association and Office of the State Engineer.
8. Liquid Waste Disposal System – A generally recognized system for disposing of the discharge from a
liquid waste treatment unit and includes, but is not limited to, seepage pits, drain fields, evaporation
systems and mounds, filters, and approved surface applications, all as defined by the New Mexico
Environment Department
9. Primary Liquid Waste Disposal System – A liquid waste treatment process that takes place in a treatment
unit and allows those substances in wastewater that readily settle or float to be separated from the water
being treated, as defined by the New Mexico Environment Department. Primary Liquid Disposal Systems
are associated with conventional wastewater septic systems used in lots ¾ acre and larger.
10. Secondary Liquid Waste Disposal System – A wastewater treatment system process used to convert
dissolved or suspended materials into a form more readily separated from the water being treated. The
process is commonly a biological treatment process followed by settling a clarification, as defined by the
New Mexico Environment Department
11. Shared Well – One well that is shared by at least 2, and up to 6, residences.
12. Shared Alternative Liquid Waste Disposal System – A liquid waste disposal system shared among the
lots using a secondary or advanced waste water system, depending on the design of the subdivision or
division of land and the approval of the New Mexico Environment Department.

Taos County Growth Management Plan

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vision and Objective of Des Montes Neighborhood Association

Our vision of the Lower Des Montes Neighborhood is that of a rural community which continues and encourages the traditional residential use of the land along with compatible farming and ranching activity. Central to this vision is the espiritu of the land which includes open spaces, rural atmosphere and natural beauty of place.


I. Enhance residential use of the land

A. Preserve adequate clean water sources.

1. Develop or adopt in conjunction with county / state officials, regulations to preserve and conserve potable water sources.

2. Develop an educational program to tell our residents of these regulations.

3. Encourage water conservation with a LDMNA developed educational program.

B. Limit commercial activity

1. Establish a land use regulation that limits commercial activity to cottage industries.

2. Develop an educational program to tell our residents of this regulation.

C. Maintain a clean, litter free community

1. Establish an active team of community volunteers which will periodically, on specific schedules, visit each public area Lower Des Montes to pick up and dispose of

trash and other debris.

2. Develop an educational program to encourage a litter free community.

D. Encourage reasonable control of neighborhood animals.

1. Develop an educational program on animal control in the neighborhood.

E. Control light pollution

1. Develop, with Kit Carson Electric, a project to shade existing pole/building mounted mercury vapor night lights.

F. Promote clean air

1. Establish within the neighborhood a shared objective of eliminating the use burn barrels.

2. Develop an educational program to tell residents of this objective.

G. Encourage safe firearm usage.

1. Research the existing ordinances on firearm use and make this information available to residents.

II. Encourage and support ranching and farming activity

A. Protect and preserve acequias

1. Develop a formal program to support the efforts of parcientes and ditch association to maintain and preserve the acequias.

2. Develop an educational program to tell residents of this program.

B. Promote a farmer's market

1. Research the farmer's market possibilities. Make known the opportunity to use the commercial food preparation kitchen at the Taos County Economic Development Park.

2. Develop an educational program around these possibilities

C. Encourage diversity in farming

1. Research local, county and state resources to determine diverse types of farming that can be pursued in Lower Des Montes.

2. Gather and disseminate a developed traditional and alternative farming practices pamphlet.

D. Encourage perma-culture home gardening

1. Establish a standing committee to gather information on perma-culture home and gardening practices which involves water conservation practices.

2. Gather and disseminate this information.

III. Preserve open spaces

A. Conserve view sheds

1. Identify and record on maps specific view sheds that should be conserved to protect the open spaces important to our neighborhood.

2. Identify specific methods for conserving view sheds, such as protective covenants and conservation easements and undertake an educational program to teach the community how to use these methods.

B. Protect existing tree stands and encourage xeriscape tree planting

1. Form a committee to locate and describe tree stands that require protection and recommend specific actions.

2. Develop the necessary tactics to protect these tree stands

C. Protect natural drainage (arroyos) from erosion and pollution

1. Develop in conjunction with county planners a plan to preserve natural drainage from erosion and pollution.

D. Encourage conservation easement

1. The LDMNA shall function as an information gathering source and contact point between interested members and the Taos Land Trust similar organizations in land conservation and protection.

IV. Promote neighborhood safety and security

A. Initiate a neighborhood crime watch

1. Identify sections of the community who wish to organize a crime watch

B. Complete an accurate addressing system.

1. Form a committee to work with the county to bring the addressing system up to acceptable standards.

C. Promote fire protection awareness

1. Work with local fire departments to collect and disseminate information regarding fire prevention and protection of lives and property in the event of fire.

2. Sponsor periodic educational programs, in conjunction with the appropriate authorities, to increase fire protection and prevention awareness.

D. Introduce informational presentations

1. The board of directors, independently or when prompted by interested residents, shall identify and consistent with the vision, goals and objectives of the Association.

E. Request road improvements

1. Monitor conditions of roads and make specific recommendations to appropriate agency for needed repair, maintenance and signs for traffic control.

V. Regulate land use

A. Review and make appropriate use of state/ county subdivision regulations

1. Designate individuals who will agree to review the regulations and determine how the association can effectively use them .

2. Ask the County Planning Dept. for a summary of these regulations.

3. Offer comments to the Planning Dept.

4. Adopt the county subdivision regulations consistent with our vision statement.

B. Create appropriate density ratios

1. Develop density ratios appropriate to the vision statement, so that the concentration of buildings is balanced by open space.

C. Encourage enforcement of building codes

1. Pursue a campaign to impress the County Commissioners of the critical need for adequate staffing in the permitting and inspection departments

D. Require manufactured and mobile homes to meet the same site development criteria as constructed houses.

1. Develop or adopt in conjunction with county/state officials, regulatory criteria for siting and installing manufactured homes that are consistent with those of constructed homes.

VI. Encourage awareness of the espiritu of the land

A. Share stories of the early development of this place

1. Gather and share oral histories from long time residents and other reliable historical sources, regarding the early development of Des Montes.

B. Celebrate our pride in living in this community

1. Consider for appropriate media publication significant neighborhood events or accomplishment by members of the community.

2. Publish a newsletter.

C. Encourage community projects.

1. Organize projects and events to promote community spirit, encourage getting acquainted with our neighbors, and support those who give valuable services promote our association and its vision, goals, and objectives.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Agenda For April 18th Meeting


  1. Condos on Hondo Seco Road Linda Moscarella
    update on construction
    review of permitting process and what didn’t happen
    possible rescheduling of meeting with Nick Jaramillo and planning people
  2. Spring Clean up May 13, 2006 Mandy Stapleford
    recruiting neighbors to participate
    pot luck lunch arrangements and planning
  3. Meeting and event schedule for remainder of 2006 Kate Duffy
  4. Other news and any updates

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Meeting April 18th 2006

Hello Neighbors!
We will be having a meeting at the Arroyos Del Norte Elementary school this Tuesday night, April 18th at 6:30 pm. Nic Jaramillo, County Commissioner, Tom Blankenhorn, County Attorney, and, hopefully, the new Planning Director, Nathan Lucero, will be attending. Our main topic will be land use zoning and how we all want to see our
beautiful Des Montes area grow. We will also be discussing the condo
project that is underway at the west end of the Hondo-Seco road. The annual Spring Cleanup Day on Saturday, May 13th is also on the agenda.
There will be a pot-luck get together at my house afterwards (just below the school). We hope you all can attend this meeting! Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Thank you,
Vice President Des Montes Neighborhood Association

Mandy Stapleford
PO Box 477
Arroyo Seco, NM

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Thoughts on meeting with commissioner

Hi Mandy, just a few thoughts if you're going to ask for a meeting with us and the Commissioners: According to county landuse regs. a building permit is required (Secton VII, a). In Section IV, a. and b (under requirement for Special Use permit) density and compatibility with existing uses need to be reviewed, visual compatibility included. There is a comment period for neighbors and Neighborhood Assocs.
Under Section VI and Section V ----under Definitions- are listed the requirements of areas of notice (300 feet) and required notice to Neighborhood associations, if any. This is for non-special use building.
I didn't know if you had the Land Use Ordinance- 1997. I hope this is helpful. At the least, the neighbors and the Neighborhood Assoc. should have been notified and allowed to comment on this development.
Thanks for your work on this.
P.S. I don't have a copy of the Ordinance passed as a result of our action. The resolution mentioned in the Taos News. Do you?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Comments on condo development


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Update on Condos 3/23/06

Yesterday my daughter Rachel called the planning dept. code enforcement and informed them that dirt work was proceeding without a building permit. Today the County visited the site and were shown a building permit which was not posted. A worker there insisted that it was not necessary to post the building permit while preliminary dirt work was all that was happening. I have no idea if this is true. I also saw the building permit when I came by later.

This morning Nic Jaramillo called me. Andy Montoya had tipped him off that work was beginning, which was news to Nic He said that Allen Vigil had signed off on a zoning clearance for this project before Dec. 7. Nic requested that Vigil notify the neighborhood association that this had been done, so that we could file an appeal within the 30 day period allowed. Vigil replied that this was not usually done and was not required by law, but apparently said he would do it. Nic checked with the planning dept. today and learned that this had not been done. He spoke to Tom Blankenhorn, pointing out that the neighborhood association could not file an appeal if they didn’t know about the action. Nic said to me that he thought DMNA should file an appeal because we were not notified about the zoning clearance. Blankenhorn told him that the 30 day period would begin the day we first saw dirt work start – Mar.16

Later this morning, Tom Blankenhorn called. He said that Allen Vigil had to give the developers their zoning clearance because they had fulfilled the requirements before the grace period for the Land Use Ord. Amendment expired – Dec. 7. The project was then grandfathered. He said an appeal would fail, because there was no legal basis for it. He recommended not filing an appeal. I said I understood his argument, but that Des Montes Neighborhood Association might file one anyway

The 30 day window means we cannot wait until the next board meeting to discuss this. So some kind of decision made by email and/or phone is going to be necessary. The question is will this appeal benefit DMNA’s agenda in any way? As a neighboring land owner I do not see that filing the appeal would further any agenda of mine. Will it help us to be a minor thorn in the side of the County? Nic seems to think so, but maybe he was just trying to give us something to do.

What does the rest of the board think? How should we go about making a decision? As president, it might be a good idea for Kate to weigh in on this first, and we can follow any procedural process she suggests. There is a time constraint.

Looking forward to a quick reply.