Village of Los Ranchos Trustees were on a roll deferring agenda items at its August 10 meeting. They deferred a controversial residential subdivision approval at Guadalupe Trail and Chavez Road until November and deferred voting on a couple of moratoriums against some proposed developments around Fourth and Osuna. But yanking agenda items didn’t quash the dozens of citizens who signed up to speak.
Open Land/Urban Fringes
The item deferred at is a 21-unit residential development proposed for a 9.29 acre site which has an existing home and four casitas currently. The average home size is proposed to be 4,045 square feet on lots ranging from .17 to .38 of an acre. There would be 1.82 acres set aside for agriculture and conservation. Trustees were booed when they deferred the measure.
This is a clear picture to this reporter that this parcel, or at least the parcel without the existing house complex, should be saved as open space or some agricultural use. Hint, Hint there is vineyard and winery across the street. But this would require putting up or shutting up by Village lovers and paying fair-market price for the land. There may be time to get this piece of land as well as several other multi-acre open land properties that are listed for sale now, or could soon be listed. Maybe the Village government would match the amount raised? Worth a try. This development won’t be back on the table until November.
Modern Day Camino Real
There are three other developments that are causing some grief for some residents.
- The Palindrome project has already been approved, existing buildings are in the demolition phase and it will break ground soon. This is at the southeast corner of Osuna and Fourth Street. It is being tagged the Village Center. It is slated to have a three story hotel with up to 50 units on the second and third floors. One the ground level there will be small restaurants and shopping spaces. There will be a space for a working farm exhibit to highlight the Villages agricultural roots, a space for an event center, a speciality grocery store, an 204 apartment complex and up to 60 houses. If there is any location in the Village for this type of development then this is the location. These 13 or so acres have been blighted for decades. There will be a public meeting with this developer to express concerns and it seems if citizens stop the booing and name calling they might be able to get some of their concerns at least heard, if not addressed.
- Nijmegen Plaza Development is in the final stages of approval. It is 12-unit residential project located at Fourth and Willow just south of the Palindrome project.
- Another apartment complex is in the early stages of approval. The Sandia View Development is being proposed west of Fourth Street and the Palindrome project on Sandia View.
Welcome or Close The Door?
Much of the public comment has been said before at prior meetings by many of the same people. But there were a few new faces on both sides of the issue. One was an affable old timer that had been in the Village longer than any of the others speaking. He said that a Village Center like the one at Fourth and Osuna was always a vision for Los Ranchos, all the way back to the 1930s. He said he supported the Fourth Street revitalization projects. The crowd, who was prone to loud boos when someone said something they didn’t agree with, withheld some of their rude behavior with this speaker, thankfully. Booing is rude among civil proceedings according to some parliamentarian folks in the know. Clapping should stay at home as well. Both add nothing to the debate other than drama. As a side note, the Albuquerque City Council does not allow such outbursts. In the past, this reporter has seen unruly folks get escorted out of the big city chambers.
In a nutshell those speaking out against the developments said it would bring more traffic and threaten the rural nature of the Village. References were made to a petition with 600 signatures requesting a moratorium on high density development until a survey is done of the approximate 6,500 residents and dozens of businesses.
Another new face was an attorney hired by some Los Ranchos residents, to flex some verbal legal muscle, against any and all high density developments. This side had some outspoken members who do not want any more of a certain kind of people moving into the Village. At least not the kind of people that could live in new affordable housing along the mostly urbanized business corridor of Fourth Street and Osuna intersection. One woman, let’s call her Karen, said she worked her butt off to be able to afford to live in the Village and so should others if they want to live here. Hmmm, guessing many of the hard working folks that build and clean the many homes in the Village, who care for the young children, who keep the Village yards beautiful, who work in the Village’s restaurants, stores and other service industries are not “working their butts off” enough to earn the right (money) to live in this Village. Affordable housing gives Village residents more choices for all of life’s stages. Again, the details can be worked out through civil discourse.
More To Come
At the Trustees reconvened Aug.15 meeting, trustees approved the two moratoriums on high density developments until further studies and discussions can be held. For more information on Los Ranchos and on all of the proposed projects, traffic studies and future meetings log onto www.losranchosnm.gov.