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Land Use and Development FAQs

According to the Principals and Practice of Urban Planning (Goodman and Freund, 1968), zoning is probably the single most commonly used legal instrument available for implementing the comprehensive plan. It may be defined as the division of a municipality into districts and regulation of those districts in terms of height and bulk of buildings, lot coverage and open space, density and land use. These concepts and more are addressed within the Purpose and Intent of the 2001 Las Cruces Zoning Code, as amended and are all geared to help protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens it governs.

All requests for development are processed through the Development Services Department. Trying to circumvent this process could only lead to an increase in delays and your frustration. The sooner you meet with a planner regarding your proposal, the sooner we can begin the process.

An engineered site plan is the most useful tool in evaluating your proposal. Otherwise, if recorded, you may obtain a copy of your plat from the Dona Ana County Clerk’s Office and have that with you at the time of the meeting. You should also bring all pertinent information relating to your property and the proposed use(s) and/or improvement(s).

The Las Cruces Comprehensive Plan guides the review process of all development applications within the City. Within this document, development policy is addressed through eight elements representing our city fabric: Housing, Community Facilities, Urban Design, Utilities, Economic Development, Land Use, Transportation and Environment. A five tier framework within the comprehensive plan affords an opportunity to create more detailed policy at a more specific level of geographic area or topic such as the MPO Thoroughfare Plan, Stormwater Management Plan, Master Utility Plan, and Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan. These plans or documents are also used in the review process.

There are some instances when you may skip a pre-application meeting. Specifically for property which is already zoned for the use intended and has no additional submittal or review requirements. If you are not sure what requirements you maybe subject to, it is best to request to speak with the Planner of the Day (POD) to have them take a preliminary look. Any applications that are not straight-forward development applications require a mandatory pre-application meeting prior to submission.