letters to the editor; commentary
I guess, in Trump’s view, that it's okay to flout regulations if they are put in place by a Democratic governor (see Nevada rally). Talk about being “above the law” plus endangering the health of the people who support him. And in California, in the midst of the worst fires ever, he claims that ”the science is wrong” about climate change, even though California has had its hottest summer,everything is so dry the fires burn more fiercely and spread more rapidly, hundreds of people are losing their homes, and thousands of wild creatures are burnt alive.
Trump is dangerous for encouraging people to regard state regulations as nuisances, thereby turning a blind eye to lawlessness. And he is dangerous for spreading fear and distrust, when we desperately need hope, clarity, and compassion.
With the uncertainty many of us feel about applying for, acquiring, submitting, and having an absentee ballot counted, we are fortunate to have Early Voting starting October 6 through October 31. Here are two options for Sandoval County residents: October 6 - 31: At the Sandoval County Administration Building D, 1500 Idalia Road, Rio Rancho. Mondays - Fridays: 8 am - 5 pm Saturdays: 10 am - 7 p.m. October 17 - 31: At the Corrales Community Center, 4326 Corrales Road. Mondays - Saturdays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
If you have already applied for or received an absentee ballot and wish to, instead, opt for Early Voting, please check with the County Clerk’s Office if this is permissible: 505-867-7572 (in Bernalillo County: 505-468-1290). I would encourage people to consider making your trip to Early Voting with a friend or two and, in the unlikelihood there are any significant lines, bring a portable fielding chair, sun hat, a beverage and reading material. For a list of all Early Voting options in Sandoval County, go online to: http://www.sandovalcountynm.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2020_EarlyVoting_PollingLocations.pdf If you are a resident of Bernalillo County, go online to: http://www.bernco.gov/ clerk/early-voting-locations.aspx BernCo warns: “Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, Early Voting Sites are subject to change,” so a call to the Clerk’s Office may be wise.
By Laurie Stout
Corrales Planning and Zoning Administrator
I would like to explain our issuance of a building permit at 489 W. Ella Drive. The reason the two structures could be built upon that one lot is because Village of Corrales Code has long offered a loophole. Low density within the Village is not just because of septic constraints, but because an open and rural feel to Village residential zones has always been part of Village Code since incorporation. All zones within the Village explicitly state only “one dwelling unit per lot”.
In Section 18-29, the definition of dwelling unit in Village Code states: dwelling unit means any building or part of a building intended for human occupancy and containing one or more connected rooms and a single kitchen, designed for one family for living and sleeping purposes. Looking then at the definition of kitchen, “kitchen” means any room principally used, intended or designed to be used for cooking or the preparation of food. The presence of a range or oven, or utility connections suitable for servicing a range or oven, shall be considered as establishing a kitchen.
This means a second structure on a lot, as long as there is no range or oven (or utility connections for such) meets the letter of the law in Village of Corrales Code. Contractors can and will exploit this loophole if their clients request. Both structures at 489 West Ella have garages, bedrooms, fireplaces, living areas, bathroom, etc.— but only one has a “kitchen” as per Village Code.
Further complicating matters is a NM Statute (3-21-1) from 2018 that states the following: Zoning authorities…shall accommodate multigenerational housing by creating a mechanism to allow up to two kitchens within a single family zoning district, such as conditional use permits. Albuquerque prohibits accessory dwelling units in their R-1 zone district, but allows them either as a permissive use or a use with a conditional use permit in other specifically noted districts. Rio Rancho allows a second kitchen either within the primary residence or “accessory dwelling unit”, but not both.
Potential options in Corrales could be looking into limiting the size of the accessory unit, requiring that it merely be an addition to the home, etc. The intent of the NM Statute is to allow family members, such as elderly parents, to live on-property with their relatives. The reality is that often at some point the separate structure ends up having a kitchen added retroactively, and that structure eventually becomes a long-term rental with a tenant—thus becoming a zoning violation. The Village of Corrales is hoping to soon move, in collaboration with the Mid-Region Council of Governments, to address these long-standing issues in a systematic way.