Back in March, the Village Council adopted an ordinance that included protections for scenic quality along Corrales Road. The amendment to Chapter 18 of the Code of Ordinances established height limitations on opaque walls and fences along State Highway 448 so that views of Corrales’ pastures, horses, gardens and wildlife are maintained. Although Corrales Comment previewed the proposed amendments in March, it failed to report specifically that the restrictions had been enacted. The new regulations are similar to those enacted by the Village of Los Ranchos for Rio Grande Boulevard across the river. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXXI No.3 March 19, 2022 “Chapter 18 Land Use Regulations Approved.”)
“Wow! Wow! Wow!” former Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Terry Brown exclaimed when he learned from Councillor Stu Murray that the ordinance was adopted.
“I was excited to learn the Corrales Village Council recently passed a new fence ordinance for properties along Corrales Road. This historic farm-to-market road meanders through the heart of the most important semi-rural historic village in New Mexico, and we nearly lost our Scenic Byway designation by the proliferation of solid six-foot tall walls.
“Views of our agricultural fields and farm animals, to include horses, donkey’s, llamas and cattle, geese, Sandhill Cranes, Mallards, and the Sandia Mountains has been slowly eroding away by the construction of solid six-foot-tall walls creating a ‘canyon effect’ blocking the views of our beautiful village.”
Brown explained the new ordinance’s Chapter 18 at (m)(1) states that for properties along Corrales Road, no solid fence exceeding four feet in height shall be constructed within the front setback line. Paragraph (2) says that open fencing, with at least 65 percent of the top being open, may be placed upon the four-foot solid wall/fence to a maximum height of six feet. This means, no more six-foot tall solid concrete block walls will be built along Corrales Road. One can drive through neighborhoods in Rio Rancho to see what this creates.
“My last year as chair of the Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission in 2018 was wrought with frustration when the Village Council at that time would not pass a similar ordinance our commission’s proposed to maintain Corrales Road as a scenic byway.
“The intrinsic value of this monumental decision will greatly improve property values in the village and create unique opportunities for economic development. People don’t visit our beautiful village to see our six-foot tall concrete walls. They drive to Corrales to see our farms and the Sandia Mountain, visit our art galleries, enjoy our country scenery, and enjoy the atmosphere of our restaurants and breweries. This new ordinance will ensure these important characterizes for our children’s children.”
“This ordinance means a lot for the future of the village.”
He commended Councillor Zach Burkett for guiding the council’s action on the new regulations. “I commend you for your leadership and tremendous support for the new fencing regulations for Corrales Road. I have seen many changes over the 26 years I have lived in Corrales… however, this ordinance modification will do the most to protect what little we have left of our scenic byway. When I was the chair of the P&Z commission, I could not get the support of the Village Council to make this important decision. You succeeded. Thank you.”
A vote by the Village Council in March changed Corrales laws about fences and walls along Corrales Road, construction of casitas, permitting of group homes and senior living projects, and several other chronic controversies.
The changes proposed to Chapter 18 land use regulations were developed by a committee appointed by the mayor working with planners from the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) and the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Concerned citizens gave most scrutiny to land use policies regarding cultivation of cannabis here, senior living facilities and construction of casitas, or guest house, rather than restrictions on the height of walls and fences along Corrales Road.