Talon News - Good Local News

By Debbie Israel


Feb. 28 meeting


Before the City of Aztec’s regular commission meeting on Feb. 28, two workshops were on the schedule.

Enforcement of the city’s sign code was the first topic, and ended up taking most of the hour for discussion. A slide show was presented by the community development director, Steven Saavedra, and pointed out that there are many businesses in Aztec that are not in compliance with their signage. Saavedra’s question to the commissioners was, “How do we balance?”

According to the city’s sign code, “The purpose and intent of Sign Code is to regulate signs in a legal and reasonable manner that promotes economic vitality, public safety and ensures compliance with constitutionally protected First Amendment rights.”

Saavedra further told commissioners he needed their direction because one business owner, when approached about a sign on his property, asked the enforcers of the code to just “look the other way.”

A decision was made to hold a longer workshop, most likely two hours, and open the meeting up for public input. That meeting will be scheduled for some time in April and will be advertised in order to get participation from business owner about the code, enforcement, or changes that might need to be made. City Manager Joshua Ray said, “The way it’s written is the way it has to be enforced.”

The second part of the workshop pertained to zoning, regulations and requirements for solar or wind power supplies. Saavedra asked questions about what rules should be required of those proposing those projects ... where they would be acceptable, height, hazards, screening from vision, safety, etc. The city will also shedule another workshop for public input on this subject, and will welcome comments.

Three items were listed as business, and were all approved by 5-0 votes from commissioners: a new contract with Transit Waste for solid waste collection in the city; An Intent to Adopt an ordinance changing the rates for solid waste; and a resolution to oppose CS/HB-174, a local election act which would make changes to the way city and special elections are held.

Kirk Carpenter, Aztec’s Superintendent of Schools, was at the meeting, as well as the school’s Finance Director Gary Martinez, to discuss their proposed solar field that would be constructed near McCoy Elementary School. The Land Use Hearing was requested by the Aztec Municipal Schools in order to use 3.41 acres to place 1,596 solar panels. After much consideration and discussion, commissioners voted to approve the application with conditions. The schools will be required to submit a complete professional engineered stamp drawing for the development project; provide a visual mitigation plan (landscaping and screening if applicable); professional engineered stamp drawings indicating changes that may be made to historical stormwater runoff; an agreement for maintenance of W. Martinez Lane if significately impacted; and construction and development plans that pertain to the oil and gas pipelines, easements and right-of-ways in the area.

Carpenter told commissioners, “We want to be good neighbors.”

After the meeting, Mr. Martinez said AMSD has made a proposal to the city that will enable them to move forward with the project before the utility rate study is completed, but they haven’t heard if that proposal has been accepted. “There are always hoops to jump through, with any project, and we’re committed to do that in order to keep this project going,” he said. Mr. Martinez explained said that because of the budget cuts coming from the state, it is important for the school district to save money, and that this solar project is a way to do that.


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