Building and Development Services FAQ
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A. All property in Santa Fe County is currently zoned for agricultural and residential use. If you are placing a home on a legal lot, you do not need zoning as this is a permitted use throughout the County. Commercial Districts are established through a Master Plan process, and must be approved bythe Board of County Commissioners. To divide or subdivide your property other criteria will be applied based on current Code, water availability, and access.
A. No person may engage in development within the County until such person has obtained a Development Permit for such development, Meeting the requirements of the Santa Fe County Land Development Code. Development includes: construction, alteration addition or repair to a structure (including walls, fences, homes accessory structures and replacement of a manufactured or mobile home).
A. The Growth Management Department has prepared submittal checklists for development permits. These standardized lists provide all information including what type of documents and number of plan sets you will need to submit when you apply for your permit. You can access this information on the County website: www.santafecountynm.gov or pick up the forms in the Building and Development Services office, 102 Grant Ave.
A. All applications are sent to Code Enforcement for an initial inspection and are also inspected by County Fire. If during these inspections any Code violation is evident on your property, you will be required to address the violation before your permit is released.
A. For standard permit applications that do not require a public hearing, the standard time frame from start to completion is fifteen working days. Certain types of permits (walls, fences, etc.) are expedited and you may receive a call that your permit is ready for pickup in as few as five working days.
A. Permit fees are based on several factors, including valuation of the project you are constructing and the type of process required prior to permit issuance. For example, fees for subdivision applications are more expensive than fees for constructing a single dwelling because the more complex applications require a public hearing and added reviews by County staff.
Permit fees are found in Ordinance 2008-12, which is available online or in the Building and Development Services office.Fees must be paid at the time of application.
A. Yes, accessory structures are a permitted use on residential property, submittal requirements are outlined on the accessory structure checklist. Accessory structures cannot be used as dwellings, so they may have either a kitchen or a bath, but not both. If the proposed accessory structure is larger than 2000 square feet, a public hearing is required.
A. The County does not differentiate between a house and a guesthouse, they are both considered to be dwelling units and your lot must be large enough to meet current minimum lot size requirements. Minimum lot size is based on hydrologic zones and range in size from 0.75 acres in traditional communities to 160 acres in the Homestead Zone. Land use staff will be able to tell you which hydrologic zone your property is in by looking at your survey plat.
If you have a shared well system or recorded water restrictions this may preclude placement of a guesthouse regardless of how large your lot is. Each dwelling unit must have a minimum of 0.25 acre feet per year to support the additional dwelling unit.
The New Mexico Environment Department has additional requirements for property on an individual liquid waste disposal system (septic tank). Lot size requirements are based on the number of bedrooms proposed. An updated liquid waste permit issued by the NMED is required with most permit applications.
A. Illegal contruction activity can be reported by emailing email@example.com, filling out a Complaint Form in person at the Building and Development Services Office, 102 Grant Ave. or faxing a complaint form to Wayne Dalton (505) 986-6389.
We will need some specific details, including an address or detailed directions in order to locate the property, and a brief description of your complaint.
A. The need to hire a licensed professional is primarily determined by the New Mexico Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors, and by the Architectural Licensing Board. The State of New Mexico requires professional seals on construction drawings submitted for permit in order to protect the public's life, safety and welfare-based on size, occupant load, height and other factors. You may call County staff at 986-6223 or the Board of Licensure at 505.827.7561 for exact requirements. County staff requires that certain slope and drainage analysis are sealed by an engineer or licensed surveyor based on Code criteria and on Ordinance 2008-10 (Floodplain and Stormwater Management) requirements.