Planning commission looks at use of canvas buildings 2015.12.02

Morenci planning commission members continue to discuss the issue of canvas buildings used as permanent structures.

City administrator/clerk Michael Sessions explained that he's looked at accessory building zoning law in other nearby communities for ideas. He's read requirements including immediate repair of tears in the fabric; locating the structures only in back yards; limiting the size to 200 square feet and a maximum height of 12 feet.

One option, said commissioner Art Erbskorn, would be to prohibit them and avoid compliance issues, but mayor Jeff Bell stated that wouldn't want to see them banned completely because some play a good function, such as a gazebo over a grill. Perhaps seasonal usage should be considered, Erbskorn said, and maybe recreational usage.

An ordinance would need to eliminate the ambiguity between the various types of fabric structures, said commissioner Jeff Lampson.

HEARING—No comments was heard about a proposed amendment to the City's zoning ordinance to define the phrase "lot coverage." Commissioners voted to recommend the change to city council.

REGION II—Sessions and city code enforcement officer Ben Oram attended a meeting of the Region II planning commission in Jackson and spoke to a few of the members. The City pays $500 a year in dues and hasn't made use of the group's service in a few years. There is currently about $3,000 in credit built up for consulting services.

COMPLIANCE—Oram said his goal is to obtain compliance from residents and avoid citing them for an infraction.

"It's very few that I actually have to cite," Oram said. 

He starts off with a conversation, when possible, and follows that up with a door hanger. Finally, a certified letter is sent, with a week usually given between each step.

"So far it's working really well," he said. "The compliance rate is about 95 percent."

Most offenders are repeat violators.

The top five issues he deals with are garbage problems, front-yard parking, trash on lot, animal defecation and failure to shovel snow.

ZONING LAW—City attorney Fred Lucas will attend a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday to discuss zoning law. The meeting is part of a series of meetings to introduce council members and citizens to various operations of the city.