Zoning change would restrict building types, styles


AZTEC — The Aztec City Commission is moving forward with the creation of an overlay zoning district that would encourage pedestrian-friendly development and themed architectural styles along North Main Avenue.

The commission approved its intent to adopt an ordinance that would create the district on Tuesday. It will likely approve a zone change for 10 parcels — nearly 21 acres — of land located along North Main Avenue during its March 27 meeting.

If the commission approves changing the zoning of the lots to a North Main Avenue overlay district zoning, the owners would be restricted in the types of buildings that could be built there, as well what architectural style they could use.

Aztec community development director Steven Saavedra said a property owner or developer would not be able to put a metal building up to operate as a business. Because of that, he said, development on North Main Avenue likely will be more expensive.

The city is in the process of develop a pedestrian-friendly area with a plaza and trailhead connecting to the Animas River trail and Aztec Ruins National Monument. A landscape architect prepared designs for the area in 2014.

The overlay district is intended to go along with the city’s development of the corridor.

If the commission approves changing the zoning of the lots within the district, payday loan stores, pawn shops and gas stations would be prohibited.

Saavedra said the district and the zoning are intended to tailor development.

“From the city’s perspective, if we are going to invest in this corridor and make it look a certain way, then we would hope that the property owners adjacent to the corridor would do the same, too,” he said.

Saavedra said the overlay district is one of the first of its kind in San Juan County.

Because the city does not have experience with overlay districts, Mayor Sally Burbridge cautioned that it could have unintended consequences.

The commission was scheduled to vote on the zoning changes on Tuesday, but the item was tabled partially through the land use hearing due to legal concerns about having the zoning changed before the commission approved the overlay district itself.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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