Robert Miklos

The Mesquite City Council unanimously approved zoning amendments Monday to establish new regulations for accessory structures.

The purpose of the zoning amendment is to allow garage doors and gates to rear car ports, clarify square footage for a car port and increase the setback for rear yard carports with doors or attached gates.

“This has come up for a lot of people due to security and protecting their property,” Jeff Armstrong, director of planning and development services said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the ordinance regarding car ports with garage doors or gates require a setback of 8 feet from the right-of-way and 5 feet from the property line. This is less than the previously required 20 feet from the right-of-way where the garage facing less than 90 degrees to the street.

“What we’re changing from the recommendation is the setback only applies if it’s an attached gate,” Armstrong said. “Not if it’s a gate attached to the fence and the car port is somewhere in the yard. Some of our thoughts with that if you want a port deep in your yard, it might be 40 feet from the alley, and if you have a gate right on the alley. We feel like it’s OK to just have the detached gate in line with your fence.”

Another change to the amendment will allow residents to build car ports with an area of up to 528 square feet rather than limiting residents to a maximum dimension of 22-foot-by-24-foot car port.

“We’ve had situations where a little more flexibility to do a different shape from almost square but still keep the same square footage,” Armstrong said.

Mesquite resident Daniel Lugo and his father spoke to the council in favor of the amendment. They discussed how they and others in their neighborhood recently constructed car ports outside of the current zoning ordinance and believed it best for the council to be more flexible.

“It is time we lighten up a little bit,” Councilmember Sherry Wisdom said.

Wisdom described how residents in her neighborhood will build a structure that will receive negative feedback from neighbors despite it looking nice. Meanwhile, she said, there are 10 other similar structures throughout the neighborhood that do not look as nice.

“I think there are bigger things in this city to worry about than whether or not someone built their car port properly or not,” Wisdom said.

Councilmember Robert Miklos also spoke in favor of loosening the ordinance saying the city should be as flexible as possible to allow residents to develop their property in a nice way that is consistent with their neighbors.

“I’m an advocate for not over regulating,” Miklos said. “You can’t let everything in. We still need to protect residents, but any chance we get to scrape off old regulations that are inconsistent, we ought to scrape it off. Reform and do things better.”

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