Alpha Subdivision Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) FAQs

The CC&Rs empower the Alpha Committee of Architecture (ACA) to enforce the CC&Rs, and grant variances to those CC&Rs, as it deems appropriate.  The following describes current ACA policy toward some contemporary issues; issues caused primarily by the age (recorded in 1969) of the CC&Rs.

Please note that each variance request is considered individually by the ACA, i.e. the following policies indicate how the ACA typically responds, but are not guarantees of a variance being granted.  That said, the ACA is comprised of Alpha residents, and our intent is to assist future residents in building the home they desire and not act as obstructionists.  However, we need to consider the effect of variances upon adjoining neighbors and the community as a whole.

Q – In Article 1 the CC&Rs state “… No structure of a temporary character, trailer, tent or shack shall be allowed on any parcel, nor shall any basement, garage, barn or other outbuilding be used at any time as a residence either temporarily or permanently without express written permission from the “Committee of Architecture”. Does this mean we cannot build planned “guest quarters” (i.e. shown on the project application) first and reside in them during construction of the primary residence?

A – If the “guest quarters” are 1,000 square feet or more there is no issue.  The issue arises when they are below the 1,000 sq. ft. minimum required by Article 8 and are not attached (e.g. share the same roof) to the primary residence.  A few residents, in the past, had built the secondary residence, but never completed the proposed primary residence. This resulted in a few homes that are smaller than the minimum size requirement.  These occurrences have been met with much dissatisfaction by the majority of landowners.  Hence, the ACA is willing to consider such a variance, but the applicant should consider and provide assurances such that the ACA is convinced the primary residence will be constructed.

Regarding trailers, the ACA will consider a variance with regard to using trailers as housing during construction.  However, the trailer must be removed whenever there is no construction activity on-site.  There are additional restrictions that will be provided upon request.

View of Pagosa Peak from Alpha

View of Pagosa Peak from Alpha

Q – In Article 1 the CC&Rs state “… All buildings or structures erected, placed or permitted upon said premises shall be of new construction and no buildings or structures shall be moved from other locations onto said premises.”  Does this mean I cannot utilize a shipping container on my parcel?  Does this mean I cannot utilize a prefab storage shed?

A – Utilization of a shipping container is allowed, under a variance to the CC&Rs, if no portion of the container is visible to any other parcel within Alpha.  A request to the ACA for a variance shall be made before the container is moved to a parcel.  The request shall include proposed location of the container and a detailed description/drawing of how the container will be hidden from sight.  However the container is concealed, e.g. fence, wall, etc., it must be permanent, i.e. if the container becomes visible it must either be removed or hidden from sight by the approved visual screen.

A prefab storage shed will also require submission of an application to the ACA.  However, such sheds are typically of a higher aesthetic than shipping containers, and, therefore, may not require being concealed.

Q – In Article 2 the CC&Rs state “… the period of construction (not to exceed 150 days) …” implying construction must be completed within 5 months, is this true?

A – The ACA typically grants a variance(s) to extend this period appropriately.  Appropriately means the owner has a current, valid building permit from the county.  If the permit lapses due to inactivity, the owner must reapply to the ACA for project approval.

Q – In Article 3 the CC&Rs state “No pigs or swine shall be bred, raised or allowed on any parcel; not more than two goats or sheep shall be bred, raised or allowed on any parcel; not more than 25 horses for each 10 acres owned shall be bred, raised or allowed thereon; no chickens, other than as domestic pets, shall be allowed to run at large.” Are there any other restrictions on the types or numbers of animals/livestock allowed in Alpha?

A – Yes, county zoning restrictions also apply to parcels within the Alpha subdivision. Restrictions dealing with animals are listed in Section 5.6.2 of the Archuleta Land Use Regulations. Most parcels within Alpha are zoned as Agricultural Estate, (AE) parcels over 35 acres are zoned as Agricultural/Ranching (AR). Note that there are overlapping restrictions imposed by the CC&Rs and the county – the more stringent restriction(s) is applicable. (See: https://www.archuletacounty.org/247/Land-Use-Regulations .)

Q – In Article 8 the CC&Rs state “Not more than three residential dwellings shall be erected, placed or permitted per acre; …”.  Does this mean, as an example, I can build 15 residences on a 5-acre parcel?

A – No.  The CC&Rs were recently (March 20, 2018) modified to conform to county density requirements. Hence, no lot, parcel, or tract shall be smaller than five (5) acres. Residential dwellings are limited to not more than two (2) dwellings per lot, parcel, or tract up to thirty five (35) acres.

Q – In Article 8 the CC&Rs state “… no residential dwelling shall be located closer than 55 feet from any parcel boundary line; …”.  May I request a variance to build closer to the lot line(s)?

A – Yes, such a variance will be considered. However, all such variances will be discussed with the adjoining landowner and any negative response on their part will result in the variance not being granted.

Additionally, there is a 30-foot utility easement on all property lines for each parcel.  The ACA does not have the authority to grant encroachment on that easement. The landowner will have to seek permission from the affected utilities.  As a related aside, if, as an example, one purchases two 5-acre parcels and wishes to combine those parcels into a single 10-acre parcel, the easement will remain (i.e. there will be a 60-foot wide easement) through the center of the parcel until the owner has the affected utilities vacate the easements and the county vacates the road easement.

Mule deer fawn, late summer in Alpha

Mule deer fawn, late summer in Alpha

Q – In Article 8 the CC&Rs state “… No residential dwelling shall contain less than 1,000 square feet of actual living area. …”.  Does this mean I can’t have “guest quarters” less than 1,000 sq. ft. in another structure, i.e. not in the primary residence?

A- The ACA will consider such a variance on a case-by-case basis.  However, if the variance is granted, this secondary residence will mean construction of any other residence on the parcel will be denied by the ACA.

Q – In Article 8 the CC&Rs state “… No structure of any kind shall exceed 25 feet in height.”.  Is this restriction currently enforced?

A – Variance requests for height are very common, i.e. currently the majority of projects request a height variance.  This is due primarily to changes in building code with regard to roof design and contemporary design trends for “great rooms”, etc.

A variance request for up to a 30-foot structure height will generally be granted.  However, adjoining parcels with residences will be consulted and their responses taken into account.  It is quite likely a variance will not be granted if the proposed structure is in the site line(s) of an existent, adjoining residence.

A variance request for more than 30-foot will be considered, but it will be carefully considered in the context of the project, the location, the location of neighbors, etc.  All adjoining landowners will be consulted, whether their properties are occupied or vacant.

Q – In Article 10 the CC&Rs state “… No building, fence, patio or other structure shall be erected, altered, added to, placed, or permitted to remain on any parcel until …”.  Does this mean, as an example, if I have a deck and wish to replace the planking I need to submit an application to the ACA?

A – In this example, no an application is not required.  Maintenance of existing structures does not require an application.  The ACA interprets this article to mean substantive changes (or additions) to structures, not changes required by normal maintenance or compliance to contemporary building code.

Q – In Article 10 the CC&Rs state “…It shall be the general purpose of the Committee to provide for the maintenance of a high standard of architecture and general construction in such a manner as to enhance aesthetic properties and structural soundness and the Committee’s decision to allow or deny the construction of any building, fence, patio or other structure shall be final.” What does the Committee consider when reviewing a proposed project?

A – It is the responsibility of the ACA to insure a proposed design shall provide for the maintenance of a high standard of architecture and general construction in such a manner as to enhance aesthetic properties and structural soundness. The improvement shall not detract from the appearance of the parcel(s) and may not, in any way, be detrimental to the public welfare, property value, or to the value of property of other persons located in the vicinity. The climate, terrain and existing vegetation within Alpha are all important factors which should be considered in the design of any structures on, or improvements to, parcels within Alpha. Furthermore, the design should be consistent with Alpha’s “character” of single-family residences in an agricultural or wooded setting. Custom designs by a qualified architectural or engineering firm are recommended as they tend to be more aesthetically pleasing, enhance property values, and are structurally sounder. The typical design would incorporate a “high country”, rural architectural style with appropriate regional adaptations, but this style is not required.

Exterior materials should be of a material(s) and color that are compatible with the native landscape and design of the structure. The predominant materials will typically consist of wood, native stone, stucco, and brick. Exteriors of other materials such as metal, fiberglass or composite siding, plywood, concrete block, etc. are acceptable as long as their use results in an aesthetically pleasing structure. Exterior colors should generally be subdued to blend with the landscape and the use of bold colors should be limited to accents or trim. No matter what style of structure is proposed it should enhance the value of the property and neighboring properties. Designs that appear to be inappropriately commercial, industrial, prefabricated, etc. will likely be rejected.

Q – In Article 10 the CC&Rs state “No building, fence, patio or other structure shall be erected, altered, added, [sic] to, placed, or permitted to remain on any parcel until and unless the plans thereof … shall have been first delivered and approved in writing by a majority of the Architectural Committee”.  Can a landowner submit an application for a non-residential structure without an existent residence or a residence as part of the submitted application?

A – No.  The ACA will not accept project applications for non-residential structures when a residence is not in existence or part of the proposed project.  Article 1 states “Said parcels are hereby restricted to single family residential dwellings for single family residential use;…”, therefore, a residence must exist on an occupied (non-vacant) parcel.  If the project includes the first residence, that residence must be constructed simultaneously with other structures, i.e. a delay in residential construction is not acceptable.

Applications for erection of a fence(s) or establishment of utilities will be considered without a residence.  A plat showing the location of the fence, or the location of structures to be served by the utilities, will be required as part of the application.

Future residents that have questions regarding the CC&Rs, their interpretation, and variances to the restrictions are encouraged to contact the ACA via our contact form.