Oh, the irony.

An inspector in the city of Santa Fe’s Historic Preservation Division has red-tagged the home of his boss — Land Use Director Carol Johnson, who is the city’s chief building officer — for failing to obtain a building permit for work on her house.

“This building in a historic district is not in compliance with the city of Santa Fe,” reads a violation notice stapled on a wooden post outside Johnson’s home in the 700 block of Dunlap Street, which she shares with her husband, Kevin Kellogg, who also works for the city as its asset development manager.

“Should compliance not be adhered to, a citation will be issued and you will be subject to” penalties, states the notice, which orders a halt to work at the home, which sits in a neighborhood near downtown, between Agua Fría Street and St. Francis Drive, just south of the Santa Fe River.

In a brief interview Tuesday at City Hall, Johnson said her husband has been dealing with the construction project. She did not respond to a follow-up email requesting additional comment.

Kellogg, in an email Tuesday evening, blamed the weather for his decision to get started on the work before he had a permit in hand.

“As the weather report is showing snow coming, and the ground has already frozen once, I installed some of the fence posts into the ground, fearing the frozen ground would delay the fence project for some time,” he said.

Inspector Gary Moquino said he was driving around the Westside-Guadalupe Historic District on Monday when he noticed that work at the couple’s approximately 1,700-square-foot historic home was underway. It was unclear if he knew the home belonged to Johnson when he posted the red tag.

“That’s my job,” Moquino said of the violation notice. “I drive around and make sure everybody has a permit.”

Construction work must stop when a property is red-tagged, he added. “It’s a stop-work order.”

Johnson became the city’s land use director in July 2018 under the administration of Mayor Alan Webber. Before joining the city, she had been the planning and development director of Maricopa County, Ariz., where Phoenix is located, and also worked in planning and development in Berkeley, Calif.

Kellogg — who began working for the city in April following a six-month stint as executive director of the nonprofit Housing Trust in Santa Fe — said in his email he understands the importance of the city’s historic and building codes “and why we have the strict process we have, and I support them wholeheartedly. I realize that I got ahead of myself and I regret that. I will wait for the permit to be issued before completing the fence.”

Documents show Kellogg applied for a building permit from the city Nov. 11. His application describes the project as “several vehicle entry gates and pedestrian gates placed on both sides and behind residence.”

Construction work began while part of the permit was still under review.

“There’s no way they could’ve started working,” said Robert Ortiz, a building permit specialist in the Land Use Department, in an interview Tuesday. “You have to wait until this [permit] is issued.” Johnson and Kellogg haven’t even received a yellow construction board to post at the home, notifying the public about the construction project, he added.

Ortiz said he’s been out in the field with Moquino as he inspects properties for signs of violations. However, he said, most violations are discovered through complaints, especially within the city’s five historic districts.

“You’ve got the neighbors calling 80 percent of the time,” Ortiz said.

The work at Johnson and Kellogg’s house is apparently tied to a request Kellogg had taken to the city’s Historic Districts Review Board in February. Kellogg sought permission to build a 964-square-foot detached casita, a 601-square-foot detached garage, a greenhouse and nearly 5-foot-tall “yard walls with vehicle and pedestrian gates.”

Kellogg disclosed at the beginning of his presentation before the Historic Districts Review Board that he was married to the city’s land use director, according to the minutes of the meeting.

The board approved the request 4-2 with a number of conditions, including that the yard walls be no more than 4 feet 4 inches high and that both garage doors have windows.

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.

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(7) comments

Jarratt Applewhite

Kudos to Sr. Mosquito. I wonder whether he's gonna get a Xmas card from his boss.

Stefanie Beninato

This is not the first time that Johnson has refused to enforce zoning codes--go to 1008 Don Cubero on nextdoor.com for an example.

The application of this power couple showed a building too close to qualify for an ADU--needs 10 ft separation--not 6 ft. This application was pushed through by the newly appointed permanent head of the Historic Preservation division.

No Webber and his cronies do not play by the rules--they are not transparent.

The permit process and every land use process has gotten even more labyrinth layers and much more expensive...so much for all that touting of digitalization of the process which BTW did not happen this past summer and is still not happening. And lowering of fees--if you believed that one, Fast Money Webber and Johnson/Kellogg have a bridge they'd like to sell you.

Martha Armijo

You know how high ranking official think...It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Vidal Garcia

They will get a slap on the hand, Guaranteed!

Marsden DeLapp

The City of Santa Fe built a 4.5 million dollar solar system for the Buckman Direct Diversion project in a flood plain and failed to obtain the required county development permit to build in a flood plain.

Why does the City get to build without permits and get away with it?

James D....

As a former high-ranking government official who is an appointee of our governor and regulated construction in excess of 28 years I am apalled the city official and mayor would allow this type of conduct He’s been rumored for a long time now in the mayor has made many allowances circumventing the law. It is now more apparent that the Land Use Director has no respect for the codes and rules she sworn to uphold. I highly commended inspector that took the initiative to do what was right in the face of adversity. It’s probably fair to say the Maryland nor this like every other action the benefits his turn. His disregard for the citizens and for life and safety are now very apparent. Is a high-ranking member of government I had a very strict rule, if you can’t see or do it on the 6 o’clock news I suggest you don’t do it. This is the exact reason why! Maybe the next question is, why bother with permits with a high-ranking officials in the city are allowed to circumvent the law?

Richard Reinders

Even Johnson thinks it takes to long to get a permit, if she is doing this so is everyone else. If they streamlined the process and added people to the permit process the city would get thousands if not millions of dollars from all the illegal building. If you make it to hard to go through the process they won't even the head official.

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