After a contentious Village of Los Ranchos Planning and Zoning meeting held May 9, Commissioners approved three appeals of administrative approvals for site plans for a major multi-use and affordable housing development located on the south east corner of Fourth and Osuna.
The developer is Palindrome Communities who developed the Historic El Vado Auto Court Motel, across from the Bio-Park on Central Ave, into a multi-use residential/retail space. The group is also proposing a future development in the Barelas area.
In a nutshell, the non-profit Friends of Los Ranchos filed three appeals challenging the legality of the development site plans that were administratively approved in February 2023 by the Village Administrator and Planning and Zoning Director. Three appeals were needed because there were three separate tracts totaling about 5.9 acres where the affordable housing is currently being built.
The entire massive project is on about 13-acres of property that was deemed blighted and a Metropolitan Redevelopment Area (MRA) back in 2007. Bernalillo County is partnered with Los Ranchos to the tune of $29 million to help fund the 204 affordable housing unit sections of the development under fire from the non-profit group.
There were several hours of public comment from residents, staff and attorneys on both sides before the seven-member board asked a few questions, then on a 5-2 approval recommended that the Board of Trustees to do the same.
Nann Winter, the village attorney, said at the meeting there was no wrongdoing under Village ordinances because this is in a MRA; therefore things such as site plans can be administratively approved.
A well intended speech by Commissioner Mary Homan seemed to sway enough of the commissioners to win approvals. Homan served as a Village Trustee for 15 years until she lost her reelection bid in November 2019 to Current Trustee Sandra Pacheco.
Village Trustees recently canceled the June 9 regular meeting prompting the Friends of Los Ranchos to file a request for an emergency hearing on the appeals. On May 22, Trustees held a Special Closed Meeting to discuss this and other pending litigation.
Village Attorney Winter sent an email to the Friends of Los Ranchos after Monday’s closed meeting saying there is no emergency pursuit to the Open Meetings Act, therefore no emergency meeting would be scheduled. She said there have been additional appeals filed regarding the P&Z decision and a hearing date will be set for late July.
In addition, Winter said that the site development plan was properly considered and approved in February 2022 in compliance with village ordinances and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Act. She said the P&Z Commission has no authority to approve or deny a site development plan and no authority to declare compliance or not with the Governmental Code of Conduct.
The Village fight over the mega development is far from over. There are complicated District Court lawsuits filed by the Friends of Los Ranchos regarding this and a residential development project at Guadalupe Trail and Chavez Road.
To check out what the Friends of Los Ranchos are all about go to FriendsofLosRanchos.com and for agendas, videos of past meetings and all other official Village business log on to losranchosnm.gov
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