EPC Extends IDO discussions as HNA expresses concerns

The Environmental Planning Commission has scheduled a fourth meeting for Thursday, May 4, to discuss the Integrated Development Ordinance. .

The decision was based on staff recommendations that more time is needed to discuss concerns expressed earlier during public testimony, including:

  • Threshold for administrative decisions
  • EPC role
  • Appeals
  • Major public open space standards
  • Building heights

In its comments on the March 24 meeting, the Commission noted that further discussion with neighborhood groups and other interested parties will be scheduled if the IDO is approved by the City Council.

Meanwhile, the Historic Neighborhoods Alliance (HNA) appealed the “Findings” in the Notice of Decision following the April 6th and April 10th EPC hearings. The HNA decided to appeal because, once the EPC makes their final decision on the IDO, there will not be the opportunity to appeal later.

Here is the full HDA document: HNA Appeal on EPC findings

Continue reading EPC Extends IDO discussions as HNA expresses concerns

Coors at Paseo ranks as top intersection for crashes

Channel 4 reported Wednesday that the intersection at Coors and Paseo del Norte was by far the worst in the city when it comes to traffic incidents during the period of 2009-13.

Based on statistics from the Mid-Region Council of Governments, the intersection at  Osuna Road at Pan American East was a distant second.

The Coors intersection had a total of 538 crashes, of which 149 resulted in an injury or fatality. The Osuna Road intersection had 54 crashes, with 20 resulting in an injury or fatality.

Of the 20 busiest intersections in the city, nine are on the West Side.

The Council also ranks corridors based on “crash points.” Among the top 15 are:

  • Paseo del Norte [3]
  • Paradise [4]
  • Coors [7]
  • Montaño [10]
  • Irving [14]



Neighbors submit comments on IDO

 Rene Horvath submitted recommendations on behalf of WSCONA to the City’s Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) about  the Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) . The comments are in preparation for the EPC’s third hearing in two-and-a-half weeks on the IDO, scheduled for Monday, April 24th.

Several neighborhood representatives sent in comments, focusing on development near the Bosque, view regulations and other issues that have been raised on land uses cases within the last year.

Samples of Ms. Horvath’s comments include:

  • Parking requirements. The IDO is proposing to reduce the parking requirements to allow more building square footage on sites with less space for parking.
  • Fast food restaurants and drive-up windows. The IDO is not addressing issues such as higher trip generation than sit-down restaurants, making  development sites very chaotic with random vehicle movement within a shopping center site, and potentially unsafe pedestrian environment.
  • Building height and density, which the IDO significantly changes, should be studied and discussed at greater length.
  • Major changes to the current zone maps and zone code. Ms. Horvath says most residents do not know the scope of these changes or why they are being introduced. At the same time, they have the potential to make a huge impact on what kind of permissive and conditional uses are allowed and what the building dimensions will be for those designations. More discussion and clearer explanations are needed, she says.

The EPC will review these comments and  previous testimony on Monday. No oral testimony will be taken.

What crimes are being reported near you?

Interested in what crimes have occurred near you in the last week, or several weeks? It’s as close as your computer at Crime Mapping.

Pete Gelabert, APD Crime prevention specialist, demonstrated the site at the last WSCONA meeting. It is updated weekly and pinpoints the number and types of crimes police are investigating within the area of a particular address or across the city as a whole.

Crimes are reported in a variety of ways:

  • Map
  • Chart
  • By report

You can also select a time frame — three days, a week, four weeks or a custom date range.

Each of the crimes is sorted into a category, such as burglary, DUI, assault, vandalism, etc. It is possible to create a graph as well, also based on the time frame selected. You can even see which days of the week they were reported.

The Crime Mapping site  covers many municipalities across the country. Albuquerque has agreed to provide data to the site, Gelabert said, in order to help residents stay abreast of events in their area.


Coors Pavilion at St Josephs gets OK

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the lot on the northwest corner of Coors and St. Josephs will soon be occupied by a range of eateries under the name of Coors Pavilion.

Josh Skarsgard of Retail Southwest had alerted nearby communities about the plan, which just received final approval from the city. In his presentations, he said he hoped to attract a grocery store, office tenants and what he called “high-end dining” venues.

Skarsgard told the Journal that Panera Bread, Verizon, Starbucks and Blake’s Lotaburger have signed on as initial tenants, adding that “three other retailers and restaurants are in the process of signing paperwork” at the site.

Skarsgard did not return a call when we tried to get more information. But, based on the Journal story, initial work will begin in May and the development is expected to be complete in November.

In his presentation to neighbors, Skarsgard said the architecture would reflect a Southwest theme, similar to another of his properties on Coors would be similar, which is pictured.

The number of drive-through restaurants was an issue in early discussions with neighborhood groups, who asked for only one or two. The City Planning Department denied the request.

The planned Starbuck’s includes 6,000-square-feet of space, with a drive-through and 800-square-foot patio. The Panera Bread facility, also with a drive-through, will be 4,000 square feet and have a 450-square-foot patio.

The original presentation talked about a Chick-fil-A restaurant and a possible groceery store. There was no mention of those in the Journal story.


Third EPC meeting on IDO to finalize plan

Following two hearings on the Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO), the Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) released updated information in preparation for the third and final meeting on Thursday, April 24th.

Rene Horvath, who monitors land use issues for WSCONA, provided links to the current information available from the City. They will help you compare the IDO draft regulations to the current Albuquerque zone code map, to see what kind of changes are being proposed and how they affect your neighborhood.

The EPC will not hear public testimony at the next meeting, which will focus on staff responses to public comments and recommendations. However, written comments will be accepted and must be filed by 1pm on April 20.

Send comments to: abctoz@cabq.gov

Saltillo Shines a light on mail box thefts

A West Side neighborhood installed solar lights over each of its 16 cluster mail boxes and reported that break-ins have been reduced as a result.

According to report on KOB News, the subdivision of Saltillo, off McMahon Boulevard near Unser Boulevard, first thought of the lights to help residents use the boxes during twilight and evening hours.

HOA Board member Sherri Repichowski said the lights “quickly became a crime deterrent” in the sprawling subdivision of some 600 lots.

EPC Will Not Consider written comments on IDO

The City’s Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) will not consider written comments on the Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) submitted by WSCONA and one of its members at its public hearing April 10.

  • The WSCONA IDO Resolution outlines concerns about the plan, which would alter many of the parameters regarding zoning in the City.
  • The Alban Hills Neighborhood Association also raises questions about development that has started near the intersection of Coors and Montano.

Both documents cite issues related to the quick turn-around of the plan before the EPC and seek more time for discussion.

Carol Toffaleti, senior planner in the City Planning Department, said in an email that the EPC had decided at its April 8 meeting “not to accept any more written comments for consideration” at the next meeting. She said residents “are welcome to attend the hearing … and read your letter or have someone read it on your behalf.”

Next step after ABC-Z — major zoning changes

Following the City Council’s 6-2 approval of the ABC-Z Comp Plan March 20th, the City Planning Department is moving “very quickly” to get the Integrated Development Ordinance (IPO) approved.

WSCONA Land Use representative Rene Horvath calls this a “serious step” that involves altering rules and related regulations that govern zoning. She notes that it would potentially change the designations in zone maps, and make it much more difficult to pursue issues of interest to residents.

The zone categories determine:

  • Building height
  • Allowable density per site
  • What types of uses can be built
  • Setbacks, parking requirements, signage, lighting, etc.

The plan also emphasizes administrative review and approval by City officials, which translates into less public involvement and fewer opportunities to weigh in.

The Environmental Planning Commission, has scheduled the following hearings to examine the IDO:

  • Thursday April 6: 1- 8 pm in the City Council Chambers, City Hall
  • Monday April 10: 1 – 8 pm in the EPC basement hearing room at Plaza del Sol/ Planning Department, on 2nd street
  • Monday April 24: tentative
  • Thursday May 4: EPC tentative

Ms. Horvath says this compressed schedule gives very little time for neighborhoods to review and understand the IDO, and to make comprehensive and meaningful comments.

The WSCONA community says that more public review and input is greatly needed. Details of concerns are included in IDO Issues Summary.

Continue reading Next step after ABC-Z — major zoning changes

New Shopping Center on Coors at Montano

The vacant area off Coors Boulevard just south of Montano may soon have a shopping center anchored by a Sprouts Farmers Market.

Early work on soil preparation has begun on the site near the Bosque School.

According to Rene Horvath, who monitors land use issues for WSCONA,  the planned 25,000-square-foot building will be one of about 15 businesses in the $40 million center.

As part of the project, an application has been made for a liquor license that would allow for sale of beer and wine. A survey was done to ensure that Sprouts meets the required 300-foot separation from school property.

The property owner and builder, Silver Leaf development/ Daskalos, assured Ms. Horvath that the center will comply with restrictions to protect views and will not include gas stations or fast food establishments with drive-up windows.

A public hearing on the liquor license is scheduled for 9 a.m  on Friday, April 21, at the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center, One Civic Plaza NW,  in the City Council Committee Room, Room 9081 .


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