Coors Pavilion sign plans opposed at meeting, and by WSCONA

It was like déjà vu all over again as representatives of neighborhoods met with developer Josh Skarsgard to discuss signs at his Coors Pavilion shopping center at the corner of Coors Boulevard and St. Josephs.

Skarsgard said he had taken comments from the previous meeting objecting to a very large sign and incorporated them into a new proposal for smaller but still larger-than-allowed signs.

Neighbors repeated that the appropriate regulations allow for signs up to nine feet high and with an area of 75 square feet. The signs he is requesting are 10-14 feet high and some 133 square feet in area.

In an hour of back-and-forth,  the 12 attendees repeated that protection of Coors as a visually pleasing thoroughfare was among the objectives of the rules on sign sizes hammered out in the Coors Corridor Plan. WSCONA later echoed those concerns at its monthly meeting, voting unanimously to deny the application.

WSCONA Adopted Resolution on Pavilion Signs

Another development, Andalucía Center, just north on Coors has recently installed two signs that are within the allowed limits. Skarsgard expressed surprise when shown photos of the new signs, which measure eight feet high and 72 square feet in area.

In the end, he said he would go ahead with his request for a variance, repeating arguments from the previous meeting — and in his application — that prospective tenants often request bigger and brighter signs before committing to leases. Here is the report from the facilitator.

Feb 5 Meeting on Coors Pavilion Signs

The Planning Department is scheduled to hear the request on February 20. Continue reading Coors Pavilion sign plans opposed at meeting, and by WSCONA

Learn about water conservation; maybe win a barrel

In addition to being entered in a drawing to win a free rain barrel, you can learn about what  the Water Authority calls our “world renowned water conservation strategy”  at two meetings scheduled February 13 and 15.

Representatives from the Water Authority will lead each session. Both begin at 6 p.m. and will last an hour.

The February 13 meeting will be at the Taylor Ranch Community Center, 4900 Kachina NW, and the February 15 meeting will be at the Patrick J. Baca Library, 8081 Central SW.

For additional information, contact Patti Watson at 505-245-3134 or 505-269-9691.

County explains services for Veterans

Bernalillo County is offering information on how to take advantage of programs aimed at helping veterans in the state, such as reduced property taxes, special license plates and more, on March 14 at 111 Union Square NE from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Veterans must bring their DD Form 214, which shows time in service and discharge date.

Joseph Dorn, who provides the counseling, says he’s also available to neighborhood associations interested in having him make a presentation at a meeting. Contact him at: josephm.dorn@statenm.us or by phone at his office: 505-383-2414 or cell: 505-553-9649.

Church location stirs debate

A proposed Calvary Church at Montaño Plaza has drawn heated comments from area residents and some confusion from church representatives about what is planned at the site, formerly occupied by a Hastings department store.

The church purchased the building in July before applying for “conditional” permission to use it.The facilitator’s report contains details. The conditional status is granted only if the applicant can prove the use is not “injurious” to the local residents. Many at the 50 people at the latest meeting thought that criteria had not been met.

Calvary Church meeting facilitator report

Suggestions from the audience about possible changes to the plan included limiting the number of attendees at the location, selling the building, or otherwise adopting policies that would ease the potential for congestion. The church later offered responses to several of the suggestions.

Calvary Church response

At the meeting, which was covered by KOB television, church representative Jared Sobczak and architect Devin Cannady responded to questions about the size of the church and the number of people who might attend, as well as the range and frequency of activities in an area with limited access roads and parking. Continue reading Church location stirs debate

Andalucía center issues to be heard

A hearing scheduled for Monday, February 12 in the City’s Land Use Hearing Office will allow neighbors of the shopping center now under construction at Coors and Montaño to again state their case that the center — as being built — violates existing agreements and restrictions.

issues regarding blocked views,  a planned drive-thru and increased traffic congestion will  be spotlighted, along with contentions that the developer and City officials have not dealt with community concerns correctly.

Rene’ Horvath explains neighborhood concerns about blocking the view on Coors.

special report by KOB News reporter Morgan Aguilar recently highlighted the problems neighbors. Rene’ Horvath, who manages land use issues for WSCONA, said the appeal to the City Planning Department contends that the center violates limitations intended to protect views and did not properly involve surrounding neighborhoods in the original approval process.

Among other concerns, the appeal charges that the Administrative Amendment that approved the North Andalucia development:

  • Did not allow neighboring communities the opportunity to provide input or review plans prior to construction.
  • Does not properly follow view regulations in the Coors Corridor Plan, despite the acknowledged high value of protecting those views.
  • Is based on “misinterpretations and lack of information” that could have been addressed had neighbors been notified to provide input.

Continue reading Andalucía center issues to be heard

West Side kids storm the roundhouse

Isabel Smith and Evelyn Lopez of Painted Sky
Elementary

A veritable tsunami of energy and vocal enthusiasm  greeted state legislators February 5 as over 500 youngsters from West Side schools attended the  11th annual West Side Day at the Roundhouse.

The event allows elementary-through-high-school students and community leaders  from the West Side to meet with representatives in Santa Fe, to see how the legislature works, and to give the children a taste of democracy in action at the state level.

Isabel Smith, 10, and Evelyn Lopez, 11, both fifth graders at Painted Sky Elementary, were among those chosen by their schools to sit in front of the Senate chamber and be introduced to the members.  “I think it’s fantastic,” said Isabel.

West Side Day, which is honored by a proclamation, is also open to all residents. It is sponsored by the West Central Community Development Group and the South West Alliance of Neighborhoods. Additional support comes from WSCONA and other neighborhood groups, businesses, and individuals.

Activities  included a bus ride to Santa Fe for the kids, a rotunda rally, Roundhouse tours, and civics classes. Lawmakers mingled with the attendees and joined the students for a pizza lunch.

During the opening rally in the rotunda, Dr. Joe Valles announced that his Rio Grande High School class reunion had created a $3,000 scholarship for students at his alma mater who are actively involved in civic activities.  He said he visited the  Capitol as a fourth-grader, and “the memory has never left me.”

Andalucía Center signs much smaller than Coors Pavilion wants

Signs being put up at Coors and Montaño raise new doubts about a request to approve much larger signs just down the road.

The new signs  at the Andalucía Center are 72 square feet in area and approximately 8 feet high from the base. That is in compliance with the Coors Corridor Plan, designed to maintain views while avoiding commercial clutter along Coors. The Plan places a maximum of  75 square feet in area and 9 feet in height on roadside signs.

By contrast, the  developer of the Coors Pavilion, at Coors and St. Josephs, is seeking a  zoning variance to erect much  larger signs  — 10 to 14 feet high and over 130 square feet in area — contending that the zoning  limits make it difficult to attract tenants. The developer originally asked for even taller signs and was met with stiff neighborhood resistance.

A detailed  formal objection to the plan, prepared by the Grande Heights Neighborhood Association and filed with the Planning Department, has been supported by the WSCONA Executive Committee and other neighborhood associations.

You can voice your opinion about the Coors Pavilion application  at a facilitated meeting Monday, February 5, at 6 p.m., at the Taylor Ranch Community Center,  4900 Kachina Street NW.

 

Sen. Candelaria outlines priorities, debates PNM proposal

State Senator Jacob Candelaria

At a town hall Saturday, six-term State  Senator Jacob Candelaria outlined issues such as increased funding for prosecutors, more police vehicles, and improvements to roads such as recent work completed along Ladera Drive.

He focused on what he considers a major problem in combatting crime. The Albuquerque metropolitan area, he said,  accounts for over 50 percent of felonies, while only 24 percent of statewide district attorney funding goes to the Bernalillo County office. He is working in cooperation with other Albuquerque-based legislators to correct the imbalance but runs into opposition from members who represent rural areas and smaller cities. This, he said, is a long-standing problem.

Two major legislative efforts in the current session drew the most discussion:

  • A state constitutional amendment — House Joint Resolution 1 — to provide additional support for early childhood development programs
  • A measure — Senate Bill 47 — to allow the sale of bonds by the Public Service Company of New Mexico, or PNM, to mitigate the costs of moving away from coal-based generation

Continue reading Sen. Candelaria outlines priorities, debates PNM proposal

Let the City know your views on two zoning questions

Two facilitated meetings have been scheduled to allow West Side residents the opportunity to comment on proposed zoning variations that would allow a large sign to be placed on Coors Boulevard and permit a 700-seat church to take occupancy in the Montaño Plaza shopping center

Both meetings will be at the Taylor Ranch Community Center, 4900 Kachina Street NW.

  • On Thursday, February 1, at 6 p.m. the meeting will deal with the former Hastings department store space at 6051 Winter Haven Road NW, which the Calvary Church would like to use for services. The church now has locations at 4001 Osuna Road NE and at 3013 Central Avenue.
  • On Monday, February 5, also at 6 p.m., the meeting will address an application for placing a sign at the intersection of Coors and St. Josephs. That sign was reduced in size following an earlier meeting, but still exceeds allowed dimensions. Details are available below in the posting of January 22.

The applications are:

Continue reading Let the City know your views on two zoning questions

Rep. Moe Maestas looks at budgets, crime, economic development

Antonio “Moe” Maestas, state representative for District 16, told a recent town hall meeting that the upcoming state legislative session — while focusing on the budget — may foster discussions about subjects ranging from penalties for murder to  early childhood programs and voting processes.

Maestas, in his sixth term, said revenue estimates for FY 19 are approximately $200 million over the current year, which would allow for some budget flexibility. He presented a proposed spending plan that includes increases for public schools and higher education, as well as the departments of public safety and corrections, and  children, youth and families. Continue reading Rep. Moe Maestas looks at budgets, crime, economic development

News and Community Coordination on the West Side of Albuquerque