Sunday, May 31, 2009


See Councilor Romero's reaction to the Santa Fe New Mexican's recent editorial in today's paper. Note how she omits the central facts, including the fact that the PRESTO CHANGO happened behind closed doors and without public homeowner input and allows 3 DU per and 5 with "affordable housing". Further, these areas are now under City authority, even before annexation, with out a voice in City elections.

Also see related article about the Northwest Quadrant plan. We have many friends in that area that have been engaged in opposing the City's plan. Note a new provision in the plan "Other options include creating a public-improvement district for residents of the project who would pay up to $98 per month in additional taxes on top of homeowner association fees". The City planner told us in a meeting "the City really never does that".

Stay involved and stay informed.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Brief update on today's meetings.

Commissioner Vigil:
Was open to our concerns, but indicated this RR Ordinance may be the best we can get. City planner was there and helped clarify
1. Although the City accepts Neighborhood Agreements and Covenants, should an individual member wish to apply for lot splits ( up to 3 per acre) it would be up to the homeowners association to sue that member.
2. Indeed, when City water/sewer is available, homeowners are expected to pay to connect. How and when to be determined.
3. Although "rarely used", the City can levy a special revenue district upon a neighborhood for improvements, including roads.

There was a good turn of people from diverse areas and backgrounds who spoke out against Annexation and the Rural Residential Ordinance. The City proposed the Ordinance be adopted immediately, to be reviewed and formally adopted in 4 months. The Commission voted with the City, 3 to 2. The ELUA determined that they did not have to consider the ELUC's recommendation for a 3 month delay for public input.
From now on, all development/additions/zoning/permits/etc will be handled by the City. There was some vague promise of "public outreach" to explain the changes during the next 4 months.

It is time to re-group and re-stratagize. Thanks for everyone who attended. BTW, a podcast of my interview today on KSFR is now available here. It is the lead interview in the broadcast and I answer questions articulating our concerns.

Stay tuned. Thanks everyone,



Save Santa Fe has just learned that radio station KSFR 101.1 FM is covering today's ELUA meeting (6 PM, 102 Grant St.) and the annexation issue in general. Member Sid Monroe was interviewed about his concerns and experience regarding the Rural Residential Ordinance. Tune in to 101.1 for more.


The ELUA is meeting this Today, Thursday, 6 PM at 102 Grant Street, and the annexation issue is on the agenda.We have also been invited to meet with Commissioner Vigil and County Attorney Steve Rosson Thursday, May 28, @ 4pm in the County Legal Conference room, 102 Grant Ave, regarding the Rural Protection Ordinance.

Meanwhile, last night the City Council voted to postpone the City budget. Further budget cuts are necessary and the City will not meet the June 1 filing deadline.

" Councilors Rebecca Wurzburger, Ron Trujillo, Matthew Ortiz, Patti Bushee and Carmichael Dominguez voted in favor of the postponement and cuts, while Councilors Rosemary Romero and Miguel Chavez dissented. Councilor Chris Calvert, who said last week that he thought at least part of the proposed budget could be approved, did not attend Wednesday's meeting."
Said Mayor Coss: " This city has never done anything like this since the Great Depression. We are reducing $13 million". " ---Albuquerque Journal North

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


From today's Albuquerque Journal North:

Time is running out for the Santa Fe City Council to approve its 2009-10 spending plan. But some councilors still don't think the budget's ready for prime time. “I think we should reject this budget and work on it some more,” Matthew Ortiz said Tuesday of the staff-developed budget that will come before City Council at today's meeting. Ortiz said the total dollar amount that needs to be cut is an ever-changing target. Recently, he said, the finance department identified an additional $680,000 in revenue. “My faith in the budget numbers are at an all-time low,” Ortiz said. The city has until June 1 to submit its budget to the state for the fiscal year that begins July 1. At tonight's council meeting, Ortiz said, he'll call for putting off a vote on the budget. If the vote isn't postponed, Ortiz said he'll recommend staff reductions. The cuts would include deputy department directors, at a savings of $780,000, a couple of office manager positions and up to three positions in the Office of Constituent Services.

And the Santa Fe New Mexican (full Editorial here):

So what surprises can Santa Feans expect from our eight councilors by way of finding the $5 million cut the city will need even if it relies on reserve funds instead of whacking the other $9 million?

How about a political purge? Is tonight when councilors decide that positions held by officials unwilling to kiss certain boots are, come to think of it, expendable? Like the recent decision to annex new territory first, and worry later about the cost of providing police, firefighting and other services to new city residents, it's possible that a council majority already has huddled in secret over who is offered up as human sacrifices to tough economic times. As for mayoral guidance, David Coss — busily preparing his candidacy for re-election — didn't show up, even as a spectator, for last week's Finance Committee meeting. That was the session at which Chairman Matthew Ortiz apologized for the confusion over this year's budget process; one in which the public has been kept largely in the dark.
Get informed. Get involved.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


The ELUA is meeting this Thrsday, 6 PM at 102 Grant Street, and the annexation issue is on the agenda.

We have also been invited to meet with Commissioner Vigil and County Attorney Steve Ross
on Thursday, May 28, @ 4pm in the County Legal Conference room, 102 Grant Ave, regarding the Rural Protection Ordinance.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


The first study of the costs associated with the City's plan to annex 1o,000 acres and 14,000 people was issued to the City Council last week. Among the troubling findings that he Santa Fe New Mexican reported today are: that the Fire Department will need more fire inspectors and that the City is already short of inspectors; 2 new fire station are needed, along with equipment and personnel; new tanker trucks are needed for areas that do not have water; and many homes cannot be accessed because of bad roads. See the full article here.

Not to mention that the new personal would not be familiar with the new areas they would respond to!

In fact, at the time Councilor Ron Trujillo said he questioned "cuts to public safety programs in light of the city's plans to annex thousands of additional acres over the next five years."

Meanwhile, perhaps from an alternate universe: "Cutting spending while adding new city customers will be a challenge, but City Manager Galen Buller believes it can be done." THE FIRE DEPARTMENT ALONE NEEDS $14 MILLION but the City belives it can CUT SPENDING AND ADD NEW CUSTOMERS. How?


"Would it help us to have more money to address those annexation questions? Sure," he said. "The annexation is a policy issue that has been decided, and we will make it work within our budget. That's our job."


please, get informed. Get involved.

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.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


'Confusing' city budget now in council's court

As the City rushes headlong into annexation of 10,000 acres and countless numbers of households, while assuring everyone that City services will be available, in fact the City is looking to cut its budget. See today's Santa Fe New Mexican article.

"Councilors who are not on the Finance Committee, but who attended the meeting, also seemed divided. Councilor Rosemary Romero said the effort was the city's "best foot forward," while Councilor Ron Trujillo said he questioned cuts to public safety programs in light of the city's plans to annex thousands of additional acres over the next five years."

In reality, there are NO PLANS for fire, police, transportation, etc. in the Annexation plan.

And, the Albuqerque Journal has a grimmer take: "The city's Finance Committee couldn't settle on a budget recommendation Wednesday night for the upcoming July 1-June 30 fiscal year, raising questions about whether the city will be able to meet a June 1 deadline for submitting its plans to the state. Committee members did send a proposed budget forward to the May 27 City Council meeting, but without suggesting whether they thought it deserved to be approved or not. Councilors complained that they weren't offered a wide enough range of budget-cutting scenarios, that they were given few ideas that would shake up the status quo, and that it took too long to get some information they requested. "

Get informed. Get involved.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Finally! The revised Rural Residential Zoning ordinance is now available on line. I wonder if the numerous phone call and emails ti City and County officials had any influence?

(Note, all other Annexation material on the city's website still has the previous Rural Residential Zoning designations - 1 du per 2.5 acres, 1per acre if City Water Sewer available; 2 per acre in both available. THIS INFORMATION IS NOW VOID)

Stay tuned for more updates.


So, as we know, last week the City passed a new Rural Residential Zoning Ordinance established greater number of units and density per acre. The "old" plan remains on all City/County materials and websites, with the "old" zoning. This discrepancy was pointed out at yesterday's RPA meeting - the public does not have access to the new RR Zoning.

It was just brought to our attention by an astute member that there is a legal ad in today's classifieds for the ordinance passed by City Council last week. See page E-5 of the New Mexican. It states that the ordinance was approved and is available at ; "click on Government CityClerk/Ordinances."

So I just followed the instructions in the legal ad, but the webpage ends with ordinance 2009-11. Number 12 is the previous RR ordinance, so none of the new stuff is posted yet, even though the legal ad says it is. Isn't that deceptive advertising?

Please contact the City to complain:
City Attorney
City Clerk

Invitation to join the United Communities of Santa Fe County

I am William Mee, President of the Agua Fria Village Association, and I know the results of the Santa Fe City Council meeting on last Wednesday night are tough to swallow. Especially, in light of the last minute deal to co-opt the intent and meaning of the Rural Residential Ordinance. One of our Association's founding members (Olivia Tsosie, who died in 2007) proposed this ordinance in 1992-93. I don't have any quick fixes to the problem and we in Agua Fria have been fighting with the City of Santa Fe since 1895.But I do want to invite you to join the United Communities of Santa Fe County it is a new group that formed in March to serve the common interests of traditional and rural communities, neighborhood associations, acequia and water associations, and other groups.Our mission is as follows:
“The United Communities of Santa Fe County shall serve as a united voice for the interests and needs of communities in Santa Fe County and be an effective guide and adviser to government agencies to achieve the coordinated and combined goals of our communities.”
I know it is going to be hard to be thinking about joining another organization, or even attending another meeting, when you are involved in the fight of your lives against City annexation and the impacts on your quality of life. But perhaps bringing your plight to the table can get others thinking about how unfair it is.This is our agenda for the Thursday meeting:
United Communities of Santa Fe County
6-8:00 p.m., May 21, 2009
Nancy Rodriguez Community Center*


1. “Privatizing Public Information” – letter to County on proposed Ordinance for May 26th BCC meeting.
2. Finalize the UCSFC formal review document of the
Growth Management Plan Charette Report--- presented by Eduardo Krasilovsky ( and his committee.
3. Comments on UCSFC Guiding Principles - Core Values.
4. Brief announcement on 400th Anniversary celebration of the City of Santa Fe.
5. Other Matters

Rep. Jim Trujillo expressed interest in attending.

* = NOTE: The Nancy Rodriguez Community Center is on County Road 62 (the Caja del Oro Grant Road) just off of State Road 599 and the NRCC is at #1 Prairie Dog Loop. It is the green pitched roof across from the Agua Fria Fire Station.

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE. Thanks for reading this.

William Mee

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Dear All:
Thank you for those who attended today's RPA meeting. In all, we had 5 people speak in opposition to the revised zoning and density amendments.
In brief, City Councilors Bushee and Wertzberger seemed annoyed by our presence. At one point, Bushee, in a thinly veiled threat, said that the city was under no obligation to create a Rural Residential designation, and that our area could be subject to a R5 designation. Basically, a "take it or leave it" threat.
County Commissioner Virgina Vigil did advocate for us. She has proposed to hold outreach to our community - and I URGE EVERYONE TO TAKE PART.
A stunning revelation was the fact that, upon approval of the Zoning and Density regulations (as a reminder: 3 per acre; up to 5 with "affordable housing") WE WILL BE SUBJECT TO CITY PLANNING EVEN BEFORE WE ARE FORMALLY ANNEXED. Thus, we will be governed by the City while at the same time we have no voice in City government.
Coalition members have informally agreed that we should explore legal representation. We will be updating you on this regularly.
Next up: ELUA meeting next Thursday. Will advise as soon as agenda is posted. STAY INVOLVED. Please continue to forward these emails and spread the word, our numbers are our only advantage.


Posted at 12 Noon, May 19 ---
Will the public have the opportunity to address the "Update on the Annexation Settlement Agreement" at today's RPA meeting?

When I tried to get a simple answer to the simple question of whether or not the public may speak today, the answer wasn't simple. On one hand, there is a place on the agenda for "communications from the public or agencies," as was pointed out to me by a County land use staffer. But when I asked whether the public can directly speak to an information item, she wasn't sure; I asked if the policy governing whether or not the public can do so is in writing somewhere. Yes, there's a Rules of Order ordinance. She is trying to find it.

No matter what, we will have representation at the meeting. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Here are contacts to the players, pass them on and send emails and call to voice your opposition to the change in Rural Residential Zoning. We have have their attention, and the newspapers are watching.


(505) 995-2755


UPDATE: The RPA is a city/county commission, and they are meeting Tuesdsay, May 19 to hear about the City's new Ordinance that could allow up to 5 units PER ACRE in our neighborhood. I urge anyone who can to attend, it is the first major item on the agenda so should be up right after 4.

We are gaining momemtum. Several neighbors have come forward to join us. SPREAD THE WORD!

Hello All:

The Regional Planning Authority is meeting this Tuesday at 4pm at City Hall and will be getting an update on Annexation and the Rural Protection Ordinance by Jeannie Price. I am working on more details and will let everyone know ASAP.

Thanks to everyone who has been responding, we are really starting to get a coalition together. Our numbers and determination will be our only weapons as we take on the deep-pockets and insider-connected subdivision lobby.


Saturday, May 16, 2009


On Thursday night the Extraterritorial Land Use Commission met to approve an Ordinance that would have affected our zoning designation under the City/County Annexation plan. Here is the original Ordinance, The original maps are available here.

At the meeting, the City Staff introduced a new Ordinance, which was passed by the City Council Wednesday and was the subject of the urgent notices to the community Wednesday night.

A key change was the gutting of RR "Rural Residential" designation. The original RR designation stipulated: 1 dwelling per 2.5 acres if on well and septic; 1 dwelling per acre if on City water OR sewer; 2 dwellings per acre if on BOTH City water and sewer. The "new" Ordinance gutted this and could allow three to the acre instead of two, plus with the "affordable housing density bonuses", which, with clustering, could end up in some areas with 5 dwellings PER ACRE.

See this article from The Santa Fe New Mexican.

There was a large turn out at the ELUC hearing Thursday night. The public was unanimous in opposition, no one spoke in favor of the NEW zoning changes. The Commission agreed that insufficient notice and explanation has been provided to home and business owners in the affected area - areas as diverse as Airport Road, around the Country Club, the south-side, the area between Agua Fria and 599, and more.

The commission agreed to a 3 month delay for public hearing and information. THIS IS OUR CHANCE. It is time to organize our coalitions and have a voice in this process. Here are contacts for the City Council and the County Commissioners.

Please contact for further information, and stay tuned.

Presto, change-o! New urban zoning!


The New Mexican

As Santa Fe's mayor and City Council meet more and more in secret, emerging long enough to cast quick and unanimous votes very likely against the public good, it appears that, until they can protest in next March's municipal election, citizens should assume the worst whenever that gang gets together. What kind of horse-trading goes on behind the closed doors where the council cowers? What favors too shameful to be offered in public are pledged in secret? Is anything shady going on? Who knows? Only those worthies the taxpayers have to trust because, for now, they're the only leaders we have. Yet they seem intent on taking away area residents' say in shaping the future of our community. The latest sneak attack seems aimed at Agua Fría Village, that semi-rural enclave whose residents long have resisted city takeover while owners of huge neighboring tracts ripe for development looked longingly upon the land along the Santa Fe River's left bank. Now, it seems, the subdivision lobby will settle for a rush into land north and west of the village; land soon to be annexed by the city. In preparation for the invasion, all eight councilors have bought into a new zoning category: "rural residential." Make that "urban oxymoron" — little boxes on the hillside with barely more elbow room than in any suburb; ranchettes within shouting distance of each other across yet another dirt road. Built in the name of what — rural infill? Or, given local governments' servitude to campaign-contributing developers, maybe in time there'll be bunches more "villages" touted as places where people can live, work, wine and dine in close collegiality long dreamed-of by creators of Reston, Va., Columbia, Md. and other "new communities" that became clogged versions of Levittown. Maybe if the "villages" already approved by the council had trolley lines into town, some of the increasing commuting traffic could be reduced. The stretch from Agua Fría Road to the bypass will become land-hustler heaven unless our councilors come to their senses. Will they back away from this scheme defining "rural" as three houses to an acre? Or will they simply steamroll the many neighborhood activists trying to head off, or at least properly guide, a new burst of building? As if to justify another growth spurt, the council is working on a "water budget" of equally dubious quality. Count on the early drafting to be done in secret, too, after which there'll be any number of "public meetings" where citizen input can be received — and whatever doesn't fit our políticos' preconceptions can be transferred to the nearest wastebasket. Are the editorial "we" wrong? Are all eight members' motives purely public-service? We hope so. Surely some of the politically more ambitious of councilors will start leaks in what has been a water-tight process of community planning. Maybe they'll insist on an end to clandestine dealings under convenient interpretations of our state's open-meetings laws, and march toward March's election under a banner of transparency. And maybe we'll all be ice-skating down the river next month.


On May 13, in a classic "bait and switch" tactic, the City Council UNANIMOUSLY changed zoning for areas that were previously designated "Rural Residential".

So, we thought the worst that could happen was the actual annexation, perhaps softened by the RR. Think again. The City Council sided with the developers --actually, it was all planned in advance, before we got there. Wurtzburger pulled a fast one and presented an amendment to the RR that gives away the store to the developers, allowing three to the acre instead of two, plus the affordable housing density bonuses, which, with clustering, we heard could end up in some areas with 5DU (apart from "public open space.") Not only that, Councilor Bushee advocated against locking people into that zoning, arguing, in a moment of exquisite irony, that people should have the "predictability" of being able to request upzoning, i.e., even higher densities. Given that the city's top allowable density is 29 DU per acre, perhaps she feels that every property owner should retain the right to request that density!

City approves new rural zoning category

By Julie Ann Grimm The New Mexican

Residents who oppose annexation of their land west of the city limits are disappointed in a Wednesday decision by Santa Fe City Council, but say they will continue to lobby for changes to future zoning rules. Meanwhile, owners of large tracts in the area said the rules that were adopted allow construction of more affordable housing there. The council's unanimous decision means the city has a new "rural residential" zoning category aimed at complying with a lawsuit settlement between the city and the county that called for limits to development in certain areas. The zoning does not apply to any land yet, but is likely to get tacked on to two areas designated for annexation by 2013, including a large tract between Agua Fría Street and N.M. 599. The rules will allow a variety of development densities depending on whether municipal sewer and/or water are available. If the services are not available, development in those areas is limited to one home per 2.5 acres, whereas if the services are available and applicants meet other criteria, up to three homes could be built on each acre. The most-dense option was a last-minute amendment introduced by Councilor Rebecca Wurzburger, however, and conflicts with the wishes of neighbors who lobbied for less density. Several residents who testified at the hearing asked the council to table the matter so they could study the new idea. "I find it very troublesome that I am a resident of the county and I am here before the city," said Sid Monroe, who lives in the Coyote Ridge neighborhood, one of the areas slated for annexation. "I have no representation in the city, yet they hold the fate of my neighborhood and my home in their hands." Monroe said later he was shocked at how quickly the City Council approved the proposal and worries that it will mean his area will become more urbanized. "It is my opinion, and that of others who attended, that the city's actions (Wednesday) contravened the spirit and letter of the original annexation agreement," he said. "We are exploring all options available to at least maintain the original character of the agreement." County Commissioner Virginia Vigil, who helped craft the settlement agreement between the city and the county last year, said Wednesday that she approved of the proposal, calling it "brilliant" and "the best possible alternative." "It creates that predictability that is so much needed for the city and for the county and for the residents," she said. Large landholders in the area applauded the decision, breathing a sigh of relief after the meeting because their plans for housing subdivisions that include affordable housing could still be financially feasible under the new rules. Ed Crocker, who together with other landowners plans a project on about 275 acres in the area, said the earlier proposal would have placed a "discriminatory burden" on property owners there. The annexation agreement stipulates that no zoning changes be made in the area in question for 20 years, according to the city attorney. Settling the rural residential zoning rules is just one part of a long process between the city and county to annex about 10,000 acres over the next five years. Next, city and county officials plan to approve a zoning map that will show allowed uses for the entire "presumptive city limits." Contact Julie Ann Grimm at 986-3017 or

Annexation FAQ

The New Mexican
(These are talking points as issued by the City/County, and may or may not be factual.)

5/3/2009 -

Question: Is my property within the presumptive city limits? Answer: A map on the city's Web site showing annexation areas allows you to zoom in on specific streets. Go to and click on "Annexation" on the left side of the page. A draft of the Subdivision, Planning, Platting and Zoning Ordinance is also available on the Web site. Large-scale copies of the map are displayed at City Hall, the County Administration Building, the Genoveva Chavez Community Center and the Southside Library


Question: Do I have to connect my property, which has an existing well, to the city water system? Answer: Current city ordinances do not require properties with existing wells to connect to the city water system.


Question: Will the city pave my dirt road after annexation? Answer: County-designated roads will become city streets and other roads will be assumed to remain privately owned and maintained. To become public and be maintained by the city, roads would need to meet city standards for width, drainage and other requirements.

Question: May I still keep livestock and horses on my property? Answer: The city does not prohibit livestock from being housed on residential property; however, nuisance ordinances may apply. Commercial livestock options may be affected by zoning changes.

Question: Does being in the presumptive city limits affect my children's public school choices? Answer: There will be no effect on school district eligibility as a result of annexation.

Question: Will my property taxes go up after annexation? Answer: Yes, your property taxes my increase after annexation. The current city tax rate is $50 more per $100,000 in assessed value for residential properties, and $82 more per $100,000 in assessed value for commercial properties than current county taxes. All property taxes are paid in arrears for the prior year. The year 2009 is the first year for city services for Phase 1 homeowners. Those homeowners will pay the new rate in 2010. Question: I operate a home business. How will my gross receipts tax change? Answer: Your GRT rate will change after annexation. The city's current GRT rate is 7.9325 percent and the county's rate is 6.625 percent.

Question: When must my company comply with the minimum-wage requirements? Answer: All salary adjustments necessary to become compliant with the city's minimum-wage ordinance must be effective on the date of annexation


Anybody see a connection between the following stories:
The Railyard is not bringing in the money the Council expected
The City Council is rushing to buy a money losing operation with revenue bonds
The City Council is rushing to annex residential land although the cost is unknown
Do these stories reveal an attitude that has shaped public policy too long -- the City Council never sees an expensive project that it doesn't like.
Are we are surprised that:
The City is cutting vital public services.

Ever notice how often we here this from our local governments? The decision is announced prior the public hearing.This sounds like a lose-lose for everybody. Ex-county residents will pay more to get services they don't want, but these residential areas are not going to generate enough revenue to pay for the services. The City will have a tax increase to pay for it.The County will lose some revenue -- but certainly won't make any cuts -- so they will need some more revenue also.My mistake -- that is win-win for the politicians.

Notice the lead: "Like it or not". I, along with numerous other residents that are going to be affected by this annexation, have met with the appropriate city/county officials to obtain specific answers - to no avail. The reply has always been "wait, we will tell you when the annexation takes place". At some meeting those in attendance were predominately developers, with lawyers in tow.This article only addresses the first phase in what will be a multi-phase, massive annexation.BTW: The proposed zoning would allow one DU per 2.5 acres if neither public water or sewage are provided, one per acre if one is provided, and two per acre if both are provided. It would not allow for accessory dwelling units, but (hidden in a footnote), it would allow "multiple family dwellings limited to four per lot." (Except for those items, the proposed zoning would track with R1 city zoning.) I would note that, if the City ever chose to urbanize the area, this would permit it to go for very high density, indeed. One of the city staffers remarked that the city did not plan to change densities right away, but its eventual goal would be to urbanize the area. If there are like-minded residents, now is the time to speak up. Attend the May meeting - and bring your neighbors.

When it comes down to providing infrastructure, like fire and police personnel, if the City gets thier way, who will provide it for the new annexation areas? As you know, the state legislature continues to support the developers by not forcing them to provide new fire or police stations everytime they build a new residential subdivision. The New Mexico Development Impact Fee Act needs to change to reflect the needs of the entire community and pushing the developers to pay up thier part too! So, for the time being, we get the short end of the stick every time a new residential subdivision goes up on the southside because thier is NO NEW POLICE OR FIRE STATION IN SIGHT. Have you people had a chance to visit the elementary, middle schools and High School in this area? Man, we have kids everywhere in those schools and overcrowded is a big issue. This is not a brand new idea of building new homes with overcrowded schools, etc. By the way, not all illegals live in these new homes being built by wealthy developers but its all a mix of every day living people of all kinds that are moving down southside and who also travel on Airport Road and surrounding areas daily. So, the illegal argument that many of these posters keep bringing up does not sit too well with me. This is not about illegal immigration on the southside. It is about how are we going to take care of ourselves with public safety, public welfare and health issues that relates to poor urban planning by the City of Santa Fe?

Let's see, I am happy with my deep well, and the septic works fine.Cops already live in the neighborhood. Road maintenance is already in place. Fire protection from the County, no complaints.So what we get is:1) Tax increases. 2) Code enforcement- you mean some petty bureaucrat will tell me the coyote fence is too tall? 3) And they'll want to put some kind of "traditional hiking path" through my property consistent with their zoning plan? 4) We're zoned rural now, does that mean I should make sure that the goats and chickens are in place for the exemption?Alternatively, if Agua Fria can declare its independent status, maybe our area can setup its own 'traditional village'.

"LIKE IT OR NOT" City to take on 10,000 acres

First phase of annexation process under way
Julie Ann Grimm The New Mexican


"Annexation is coming." Like it or not, that simple sentence from city Land Use Director Jack Hiatt sums up the future of more than 10,000 acres scheduled to become part of the city of Santa Fe over the next five years. The three-part annexation plan is the result of an agreement between the city and the county on establishing clear, identifiable city boundaries. Once the city completes the annexations, officials have agreed to leave boundaries stable until 2028. Newly annexed residents will notice changes, some that are obvious benefits and others that seem like detriments. For example, taxes will increase about $50 per every $100,000 in assessed value for homes and $82 per $100,000 in assessed value for commercial properties. On the other hand, city police, street maintenance and code enforcement services will be extended to cover those homes and businesses. Another big issue is water. Property owners facing annexation who have wells will choose whether to become city water customers or continue to draw water from their wells. And those who are on septic systems will have an option of switching to the city sewer system. The first step in the annexation process is the adoption of a future land use and zoning map by the city and a new joint city/county board, the Extraterritorial Land Use Authority. After the zoning map is approved, the city will file a petition for annexation of each area. The first phase affects about 500 households north of Cerrillos Road and south of the Agua Fría Traditional Historic Community; west and south of Nava Adé; east of Richards Avenue and north of Interstate 25; and small "doughnut holes" surrounded by city land on the southeast corner of the present boundaries. The second phase includes an area that is largely urban in nature. The city expects to file a petition by 2012 to annex land north of Tierra Contenta on either side of Airport Road up to N.M. 599, which is home to an estimated 14,000 people or more. Lastly, the city would file a petition by 2013 on a large swath to the east, between the eastern city limits and the Santa Fe National Forest, as well as an 1,800-acre parcel on the west side between Agua Fría village and N.M. 599. The city is required to notify each landowner by mail as the phase that includes his or her land is up for annexation. The cost to the city is unknown. Although it will receive new revenue from property taxes and impact fees for new development, early estimates suggest that about $2.5 million would be needed for additional police officers and firefighters and other equipment or personnel. A new cost analysis is under way. The boundaries of the area have changed somewhat since the city and county agreed to a lawsuit settlement that laid out the plans. Notably, several properties have been added to the Agua Fría Traditional Historic Village to preserve its rural character. Judith Turley and other residents of Chicoma Vista off West Alameda worked last year to have their street added to the village, thereby avoiding annexation. "None of us wanted to be annexed," said Turley. "In our neighborhood meetings, what came up was more new taxes and more restrictions or the possibility of them making us be on the city water system. We had no information, so it was all speculation and it was fairly negative." Hiatt said the city wants to address concerns among those in the areas slated to become part of the city to avoid such guesswork. "The city wants to be a resource to these people who are going to be annexed and we want to honor the development applications ... and the uses that are already existing," he said. A private consultant has worked with the Land Use Department to create a list of more than 80 "frequently asked questions" about annexation and what it means for residents. City attorney Frank Katz recommends residents attend one of the upcoming public hearings on the zoning map. "There are some quirks and there are probably some things that are not exactly right, so we welcome people to come to the Planning Commission and tell us about it," he said. Contact Julie Ann Grimm at 986-3017 or

GET INVOLVED Public hearings on the zoning and subdivision regulations are planned for 6 p.m. May 14 and May 28 at the County Commission Chambers, 102 Grant Ave. After the map is approved, meetings on the process for the first annexation phase are tentatively planned for late June. The city has hired JenkinsGavin Design and Development to facilitate the meetings, but also plans to hold formal public hearings before two joint city/county boards and two city boards. A detailed map of the presumptive city limits is available at; click on "Annexation" on the left side.


Julie Ann Grimm The New Mexican

11/20/2008 -
A major expansion of Santa Fe's city limits is set to begin as soon as next month and wrap up within three years under a timeline for annexation officials recently announced. Even though a legal agreement between the city and county allows for a longer term of transition, nearly 10,000 acres that lie mostly along the city's southern and western edges are now slated to be within the city's boundaries — and subject to its rules — by 2012. City councilors rejected an even faster timeline proposed by staff earlier this month and instead decided on a three-pronged plan to spread out petitions that will be filed with the state Municipal Boundary Commission. "There is some advantage to getting it done sooner rather than later — to avoid confusion and for the city to be better in control of the development in those areas," said City Attorney Frank Katz in a recent presentation to city councilors. The first phase, slated for petition this year, will affect the smallest area and the least number of people. It includes about 500 households north of Cerrillos Road and south of the Agua Fría Traditional Historic Village; west and south of Nava Ade; east of Richards Avenue and north of Interstate 25 and some so-called "doughnut holes" surrounded by city land on the southeast corner of the present boundaries. Next, however, will the be the largest and most populated areas — places that are urban in nature but fall outside the city limits. They include land that is already home to about 4,600 households — or 13,650 people — and is adjacent to the areas the city calls its Southwest Sector. That petition, scheduled to be filed by 2011, comprises land between N.M. 599 and Airport Road, south of Airport Road and south of Tierra Contenta. Last, the city would file a petition by 2012 on a large swath to the east, between the eastern city limits and the Santa Fe National Forest, as well as an 1,800-acre parcel on the west side between Agua Fría and N.M. 599. Katz said each petition to the state will be followed by a series of public meetings about the annexation proposals. The city will notify each landowner by mail as the phase that includes his or her land is up for annexation. To meet those deadlines, the city needs to be ready to provide services in areas as they are annexed. An infrastructure analysis in the works now will shed light on how the city will accomplish that and how much the services will cost, said Katz. Early estimates said up about $2.5 million would be needed for additional police officers and firefighters, along with at least one additional fire station, more garbage trucks and other costly items. Conversely, the city would get revenue from annexations, most noticeably from those who would pay impact and permit fees for development. Last week, the City Council sent the phasing plan to the county for approval. It's expected to be up for discussion there next month. County Attorney Steve Ross said Tuesday that he does not anticipate the County Commission will object to the timeline, since it follows the earlier settlement. Ross said, however, that the city's schedule is "ambitious," given the work ahead. "That is still tomorrow," said Ross. "This is 2008. That's three years, so that is not a lot of time." The city and county have several more legal agreements to complete, including one that will define law enforcement roles through the transition period in the dense Southwest Sector. The other county undertaking right now is expansion of the borders of the Traditional Historic Community of Agua Fría, an outreach effort to allow those with adjacent land to join the community and preserve rural zoning. Both governments are also still tackling zoning in the area, which is currently in a joint jurisdiction. An agreement under way will dissolve the jointly administered Extraterritorial Zoning Commission. Future land-use decisions will go to either the city or the county, depending on whether property is within the presumptive annexation area.
Contact Julie Ann Grimm at 986-3017 or
ABOUT ANNEXATION More than 16,000 people would become new city residents under a plan to broaden the city limits by about 10,000 acres over the next three years. What follows are details about some services:
Well and septic tanks: The city does not force homeowners with domestic wells and/or septic tanks to connect to city utilities unless major development changes are proposed on a property. Those who want to connect must pay for line extensions and connection fees. Connection costs for a single-family home are $2,013 for water and $499 for sewer. The city already serves 3,500 of the 5,767 homes in the annexation area. Property tax: The county treasurer will adjust the tax bill for a home upward after annexation. Based on current tax rates, new city residents will pay about $50 more per $100,000 of assessed value, and businesses will pay about $82 more per $100,000 of assessed value. Trash: The city Solid Waste Department will serve all residents within the city limits. The service will be available as a phase of annexation takes effect. The city will notify property owners when dates are certain. Political representation: All city residents will fall into a council district, which has two representatives on the City Council. Redrawing of these boundary lines, called redistricting, is expected to occur a couple of years after the results of the 2010 Census are released. Farm animals: The city does not prohibit farm animals as long as they do not create a public nuisance or immediate health and safety concern. Fire and emergency-medical response: Local fire departments already operate on a principle called "mutual aid," which means dispatchers send the closest available and appropriate responders despite whether the call came from inside or outside the city limits. Police: Ultimately, city police will respond to calls within the city limits, and the county Sheriff's Department will handle those outside the city limits. For a period of up to three years, however, the city and county might agree to keep the sheriff's presence in some areas near Airport and Agua Fría roads.