Marvin Salazar should know how the process works. As a Las Vegas Planning & Zoning commissioner, he should know how to apply for permission to place a manufactured home on property owned by his daughter.
But he didn’t follow his own site plan. By placing the home within three feet of the property line, he violated the city’s setback and site plan requirements — so the home was illegally placed on the property.
Consequently, the city sent him a letter, notifying him of the violation. He verbally discussed it with city officials but he never responded in writing, as the city required. So the city sent him another letter, telling him that the property was being declared a public nuisance and that the matter was being turned over to the city attorney and code enforcement for prosecution. Then he responded, by applying for a variance so he wouldn’t have to move the manufactured home. He wanted to keep it where he had illegally placed it in the first place.
Moreover, the city also made mistakes in the process. With an administrative moratorium on new sewer taps in that particular area of town, the manufactured home shouldn’t have been connected, but it was. And even though Salazar failed to get the required permit to park the manufactured home on the property, he managed to get his utilities set up anyway.
So here we are, nearly six months after the home was illegally placed and set up on the property and Salazar’s variance request comes before P&Z — of which he’s a member. And in a divided vote last week, and to the dismay of more than a dozen residents who live nearby, commissioners gave him the variance. This despite the fact that they were told city rules don’t allow variances to be approved for self-imposed hardships.
Indeed, it would have been a self-imposed hardship if the commissioners had made Salazar move the home. He didn’t follow the site plan he submitted, so it would have been his own fault.
This from a man who should know how the process works. We certainly hope he wasn’t expecting favorable treatment because he’s a commissioner — because that’s not at all how the process should work.
In his defense, Salazar provided his fellow commissioners with a list of other variances granted to other property owners, arguing that precedence has already been set. He has a point there, but it’s a weak point, considering his working knowledge about how the process works. Variances aren’t supposed to be given out just because someone decides not to follow the proper procedures.
We understand that the process is complicated, so much so that even a commissioner might fall short of dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s. But things like setbacks and placements aren’t minor details — they have an impact on the neighbors. That’s why we find this matter so disconcerting.
At best, Salazar was sloppy in navigating the process he helps to oversee. At worst, he got preferential treatment because he’s a P&Z commissioner. We hope it was the former and not the latter, but either way, we hope this kind of approach is never allowed to happen again.