South Valley Community Alliance is suing Bernalillo County to prevent a proposed condominium development from being built on agriculturally-zoned land adjacent to Rio Grande Valley State Park.
June 21, 2019
South Valley Community Alliance is suing Bernalillo County to prevent a proposed 27-unit condominium complex from being built on 3.8 acres of agriculturally-zoned land next to Rio Grande Valley State Park.
Bernalillo County’s decision on April 9, 2019 to approve the “special use permit” for this development amounts to a stealth rezoning of the Vecinos del Bosque neighborhood. It sets a dangerous precedent that will allow developers to build at increasingly higher densities on agriculturally-zoned land in the unincorporated area of Bernalillo County. If we don’t stop this special use permit, outrageously dense development won’t be the exception in the South Valley — it’ll be the rule.
Developments like this permanently destroy viable farmland, degrade the Bosque’s unique habitat and wildlife, and threaten the agrarian character of the South Valley.
This development doesn’t belong in the Vecinos del Bosque neighborhood. Condominium complexes shouldn’t be carelessly plopped down on agriculturally-zoned land adjacent to open space.
We believe Bernalillo County rigged the process in favor of the developer, Rio Grande Huerta LLC. We have evidence that county staff improperly advised, coached, and advocated for the applicant’s special use permit application. We also know that county staff made critical decisions and determinations behind closed doors, in violation of the New Mexico Open Meetings Act.
In testifying before the county planning boards, we gave Bernalillo County multiple opportunities to amend its prejudicial decisions. However, without explanation, our elected officials rubber-stamped a bad plan. The only recourse available now is District Court.
We want an opportunity to demonstrate how Bernalillo County ignored its planning guidelines and betrayed its residents.
We retained an attorney and appealed the decision to District Court on May 6, 2019. This appeal indefinitely halts the development.
Over the next year, a judge will perform what’s called a “judicial review” of Bernalillo County’s decision. Our attorney has lots of experience with land use issues like this and he assures us that we have a good case. We’ll appeal to the New Mexico Court of Appeals if necessary.
Land battles like this can take years to play out. Rest assured, we’re fully committed to fighting this development tooth and nail to permanently stop it.
A favorable determination would do more than just preserve the character of Vecinos del Bosque. Other neighborhoods in the unincorporated area of Bernalillo County would be able to cite our case in the future to stop developments like the one Rio Grande Huerta LLC has proposed.
This appeal is crucially important to the South Valley, but we can’t continue fighting this development without your financial support. Please consider making a donation in support of our neighborhood!
All funds will help pay our legal fees, which are quite reasonable. Our attorney has taken this case for a fraction of his normal rate. With any luck, we can stop this development once and for all in District Court.
We’ve already done a lot of work and had many successes:
For a complete history of our efforts to oppose this project, see this page.