Friday, May 22, 2009


In the news today: "Santa Fe Mayor David Coss said Thursday that he'll seek a second term." Also, 4 of 8 City Councilor positions will be open for election next March. Although we can not vote, it is imperative that County residents get involved. Even before formal annexation, the City will be dictating planning, zoning, density, and many other areas of County resident's lives.

If you have not already, please read the new City Rural Residential Zoning Ordinance (thanks to all of you who worked so hard to get the City to belatedly post it!).

It is a dense read, and difficult to fully understand as it refers to and incorporates many other City Ordinances. A few observances from one of our astute members:

Although the density table gives a maximum density in the RR of 3 per acre (plus more, to meet the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, but the table doesn't say how much more) elsewhere are figures for lot sizes that conflict with this density. Page 11 B refers to lot sizes 2,000 to 4,000 square feet (these are equal to roughly 10 to 20 DUs per acre); Exhibit B page 7 gives a minimum lot size of 4,000 square feet, which can be reduced to 3,000 square feet if common open space is provided; Exhibit A page 1 states that "in the RR district multiple family dwellings are limited to four per lot." I don't understand what is meant by a "lot" in this context, since the density table (Table 14-7.1-1) gives the figures we've heard before, of one DU per 2.5 acres down to 3 per acre plus whatever the affordable housing bonus is.

Page 11 looks like it has a loophole--it says densities are limited, "unless approved by the Governing Body as a rezoning action or other action authorized by this chapter."
Another red flag: projects under 6 units, in the RR and in R1 through R6, get administrative (staff) approvals. We could see serial subdivisions, which have happened in the County, without the (theoretically) more thorough oversight required for larger developments.
A number of uses are not permitted which are puzzling, including photographer's studios, dance studios, healing arts offices, and arts and crafts studios, but home occupations are allowed--so these may be in conflict. No transit transfer facilities are allowed, either, which seems contrary to their ideological posture of reducing the impacts of "sprawl." I hate that word, since they use it as a derogatory smear against any kind of rural residential lifestyle.

Meanwhile, page 2 retains protective language: (H) Rural Residential District (RR) Purpose and Intent: The Rural Residential District is intended to respect the existing rural residential character of the area and prevent urban densities.

Also, if you are new here, please read through this blog, as it contains many useful contacts, past articles, and information.

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