Planning & Development Services


A variance is a discretionary waiver from the zoning requirements that allows property owners the ability to modify some of the standards listed in the Zoning Ordinance. These include requests for variance to the height, area, parking or density regulations of the ordinance. Examples where a variance might apply may be to build a gazebo in the back yard or to add a second story that exceeds the height requirement, or to allow the owner of an odd-shaped lot to reduce slightly the setback requirements in order to fit a building.

(All criteria must be met by applicant in order to apply for a variance.)

It is the burden of the applicant to prove:

  • There are peculiar, exceptional and unusual circumstances in connection with their land;
  • These circumstance are not generally found within the locality or neighborhood concerned; and
  • The variance is to the extent necessary to allow the owner reasonable use of the land.
  • Please click here for the zoning variance application packet. 

Conditional use

Conditional uses are expected, anticipated activities listed within each zoning designation of the Ordinance. Property owners are allowed to only make an application for a specifically referenced activity, and if approved, the conditional use does not change the underlying zoning of a property or a property or authorized other uses outside the scope of the request. An example of a conditional use may be a nursery school operating in an R-1 Zone (residential zone) or a church in an R-1 Zone.

(All criteria must be met by applicant in order to apply for a conditional use.)

It is the burden of the applicant to prove:

  • The site for the proposed use is adequate in size and shape to accommodate the proposed use, including all yards, open space, walls and fence, parking areas, loading and unloading areas, landscaping and other features required by the ordinance.
  • The site for the proposed use can be developed in such a manner that traffic congestion or similar hazards will not be created; and
  • The proposed use will have no adverse effect on the neighborhood nor seriously conflict with the character of the area.
  • Please click here for the zoning conditional use application packet.


It is a legal violation of the current zoning ordinance because the use of the land (or structure) existed prior to 1973 before the ordinance was adopted. Nonconforming uses are often referred to as "grandfathered" uses. An example of a nonconforming use would be a small neighborhood convenience store having parking spaces for 10 cars while current regulations require spaces for 25.

Administrative Amendments

Apply only to special use permits which have been previously approved by the Board of County Commissioners. The scope of these changes is limited to site layout, building placement, and/or a decrease in the overall area of the special use permit.

It is the burden of the applicant to prove:

  • The proposed amendment will result in an equal or less intense use of the land than that first approved by the Board of County Commissioners; and
  • No minimum requirement or additional requirement imposed on the development plan by the Board of County Commissioners will be modified. 
  • Please click here to access the administrative amendment application.

Appeal to County Board of Adjustment

The Board of Adjustment of Bernalillo County also serves as the County Planning Commission.

Appeal to County Commission

Any decision by the CPC can be appealed to the Board of County Commissioners.

Zonal Certification

Upon request, the Zoning Administrator will issue a written statement certifying the zone designation for a particular tract or lot located within the unincorporated area of the County.

Zoning Manufactured Home Permits

A manufactured home or modular home that is a single-family dwelling with a heated area of at least 36 by 24 feet and at least 864 square feet, constructed in a factory to the standards of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 (42 USC 5401 et seq.) and the Housing and Urban Development Zone Code II or the Uniform Building Code, as amended to the date of the unit's construction, and installed consistent with the Manufactured Housing Act (NMSA 1978, § 60-14-1 et seq.) and with the regulations made pursuant thereto relating to ground level installation and ground anchors.

Mobile Home

A vehicle without motive power, designed to be drawn by a motor vehicle and to be used as a temporary or permanent human habitation, including trailer coach, trailer home, mobile home and house trailer, whether the same be with or without wheels, and whether or not attached to or incorporated in a building and that part of any self-propelled vehicle, or removed therefrom, whether the same be with or without wheels, and whether or not attached to or incorporated in a building. Skirting is required in addition to a storage building of sufficient size to accommodate all outside storage.



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