Monday, May 29, 2023

Mayor Pleads for Input on Village-Wide Development Changes, Gets 1 Response

Only one resident responded to village-wide changes


Nearly two months after Mayor Jim Fahey issued a call for public input for a much-delayed
revision of the 2009 Corrales Comprehensive Plan, just one response had been submitted.
It was a heart-felt plea for relaxation of Corrales’ bed-rock policy restricting residential density to
just one dwelling per acre (or no more than one home on two acres in the former Bernalillo
County portion of Corrales at the south end of the village).

The mayor’s invitation for input is ongoing, so there’s plenty of time to weigh in on potential changes to the community’s fundamental land-use principles and policies. It’s early in what Village Administrator Ron Curry considers a three-phase process. A draft plan is not expected until next year.

By state law and local ordinances, such plans are meant to be the basis for a municipality’s laws
and decisions on land use. In theory, plans are to be revised every five years. In recent years, a
revision was postponed to await data from the 2020 U.S. Census. Villagers can review the 2009
Comprehensive Plan by visiting the Village of Corrales website:

But issues sure to be addressed in a new plan have been stewing over the last five years.
Those include:
• Should “casitas,” also known as mother-in-law quarters or secondary dwellings, be permitted on a single residential parcel?
• Should senior living facilities, such as duplexes, townhouses or condos, be allowed and if so, where?
• With the main trunk of a municipal sewer system now functioning and engineering completed for extension of wastewater collection service to existing higher density residential neighborhoods east of Corrales Road, does it make sense to allow more subdivisions with more than one home on an acre?
• Should “cluster housing” be allowed on larger tracts so that homes are concentrated on one part while leaving the remainder as open space, farmland in perpetuity or green belt?
• Should the undeniable gentrification of Corrales lead to imposition of tighter regulations on long-time residents’ more cluttered lifestyle, such as rusting, semi-abandoned farm equipment, firewood stacks and building materials awaiting resumption of half-forgotten projects?
• What restrictions should be placed, if any, on new commercial development in the Village’s Far Northwest Sector adjacent to the Rio Rancho Industrial Park along Don Julio Road? Should
water and sewer service from Rio Rancho be introduced for the “neighborhood commercial, office district” (NCOD) approved there in an earlier planning effort? If it is, what are implications
of the City of Rio Rancho eventually contracting with the Village for water and sewer service to other parts of Corrales?
• Where should commercial cultivation of marijuana be permitted? Should Village law consider it any different than growing chile, corn or alfalfa?
• Should construction of new homes on steep slopes be allowed if an independent engineer confirms the project will not exacerbate flooding or erosion on adjacent property?

Many other topics are sure to be examined in the upcoming 2023 Corrales Comprehensive
Plan. In his initial call for public involvement in the plan revision, Mayor Fahey pointed out that
“The Village requirement that single family units be located on one or two acres was
established with incorporation in1971. It continues to be the most effective tool in managing
development in the village. Ninety-three percent of respondents supported this requirement.”

Kicking off public input for the plan revision was long-time resident Meg Keen who sent the
following email to Corrales Planning and Zoning Administrator Laurie Stout.

“I would like to let you know my view on revisions to Comprehensive Plan. As a very long-
time resident of Corrales, it breaks my heart that I may have to someday leave just because I'm getting too old to take care of our one-acre, bosque property.

“A few years ago, my husband and I seriously considered selling as we were
already feeling overwhelmed. He is 80 now; I'm only 66, but with back
issues, it's more and more difficult. We have no family that could move into
the main house while we move into a casita (after building one).

“I think Corrales's goals of sparsely populated land is laudable and can be
achieved by cluster-style condo housing. If that were available a few years
ago, we likely would have moved then. If independent condo-style housing
could be connected to an assisted-living facility, that world be ideal. Having
gardens on this property that maximize the experience of living in Corrales
would be the point, as well as having access to Corrales's amenities, such
as trails, restaurants, businesses, etc.

“I don't want to leave Corrales. Please don't make me!”

Village Administrator Ron Curry told Corrales Comment on Oct. 13 that the
data-collection phase of the Comprehensive Plan revision is nearly
complete. That includes demographic data from the census as well as other
information such as traffic counts along Corrales Road and Loma Larga.

“In phase two, we will more actively seek public input based on that data,
although we have not set more formal aspects like holding public meetings,”
he added.

A third phase would be compiling a new plan with assistance from
the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG), gaining public input on the draft
plan and then submitting it to the Village Council for adoption.

Curry said Village officials are not anticipating major changes to the existing
Comprehensive Plan. “We expect it will be a ‘comp plan-lite,’ rather than a
completely new plan, although the community has undergone significant
changes since the last plan was adopted. We still have many lots that are
zoned ‘agricultural/one acre residential’ that are no longer serving any
agricultural purpose, but are instead being turned into trophy homes.”

Demographic information from the U.S. Census Bureau, including
extrapolations for 2022, reveals that Corrales residents’ median age is 55.6
with “baby boomers” born between 1946 and 1964 accounting for 38 percent
of the community’s 8,456 population.Those born before 1946 make up just six percent, while those born between 1982 and 1996 account for eight percent. Those born after 2012 make up the same percentage as those before 1946, six percent.

Corrales’ median household income stands at $104,103, yet 25 percent of
our households have an income of $200,000 or more. That compares to just
five percent for the state as a whole, for which the median income is
$56,735. Corrales households with incomes below the federally established
poverty level are reported to be 5.6 percent of the community. On average,
2.32 people live in each residence.


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