Add Use District And Zoning For Agriculture For County Code Revisions To Chapters 16 And 18

Los Alamos

Dear County Council,

When I moved to Los Alamos seven years ago I was surprised to learn that the county had no provisions in the building code for agriculture use.  Whether at the Stables, the County fairgrounds, or within the Pajarito Acres area of White Rock, the construction of barns, sheds and fences were regulated by residential standards because there was no other code adopted.

I saw that many livestock owners, trying to get permits, were given unreasonable requirements for the construction of a simple animal shed, for example.  Such as: need for insulation,  airtight spaces, or, very odd, a demand for a concrete perimeter footing for a pole structure.  Such demands by the County were silly, and would be counterproductive in the future.

This code update is the right time to address this deficiency. 

Please add, in Part 16-3, Use Standards, a listing for 3-2(F) Agriculture. The Stables is a specifically measured, and regulated piece of land, deeded for equestrian use by the Department of the Interior. The property is unique, in its use and its long history in our company town, and I think it would be valuable to recognize this in the Code with a Zoning Map Overlay.

We have been told that there will be some remedy, in that the new code will not be used against stable owners unless there is a complaint. 

But please consider Section 18-51 (example) as applied to a livestock barn. 

The proposed code reads (Chapter 18-51):  “All siding and masonry joints, as well as those between the building envelope and the perimeter of windows, doors, and skylights, shall be maintained weather resistant and watertight.”  So there’s a complaint, some disagreement between neighbors; someone complains- “that barn has a crooked door and it’s not weather-tight!”  What would the county do?  

If the code covered agricultural use, it could solve some problems in the future.