Shade structures illegal

SAN LUIS, Ariz. – Most of us like the option of shade, especially during summer months but some shade structures in San Luis are in violation of zoning laws.

“The issue we have is, not only were they built without permits, or plans, or engineering, but they are also in areas where structures cannot be built.” said John Starkey, who is the zoning administrator for the city.

He says, in the last year they’ve seen a lot of structures added to homes within the city. City officials say these shades are not only out of compliance but they are also a hazard.

“There is always a hazard in a side yard where a fire from one structure can travel to the next door’s structure. And unfortunately liability laws allow that if you have a fire in your house and it spreads to the house next door you can be liable for that damage.” said Starkey.

Raquel Munoz says she’s had her shading for six months and to hear that she might have to remove her $1,500 investment is bad news.

“One thinks it’s not luxury or because one just wants to do it. It’s almost a necessity because of the heat season is so strong.” said Munoz.

Munoz says she was told by other residents, who have shading like hers, she did not need a permit. She says she hopes something can be done about it to avoid being left without hers.

“It’s a lot of houses; it’s not just us that have it. We are going to have to gather signatures so that they don’t make us take them down.” said Munoz.

For now the city’s plan is to send out notices asking residents to remove the structures if they are not in compliance. Officials say residents will probably be given 30 to 90 days to do that from the day notices are sent out, if not the city will probably begin fining residents.

“I don’t think that many people are going to agree with that or probably not even take them off or refuse to pay. Because they don’t want to, I don’t think that they’ll want to pay again to have something else on top of that, or to have to build something else.” said Romeo Urias who also has a shade structure at his house.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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