Comprehensive city-county policy plan set for council vote

Albuquerque
Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a tall order, affecting every Albuquerque resident. The updated Albuquerque Bernalillo Comprehensive Plan, or the ABC to Z Project, covers policies for each neighborhood across the city.

The Albuquerque City Council is set to vote on it, Monday, but it may have trouble getting passed.

“A tremendous amount of work has been put into this,” said Albuquerque City Councilor, Ken Sanchez.

At 586 pages, it’s a massive manual with equally daunting scope.

“The policy document to help decision makers and neighborhoods and business owners when we’re planning for growth and development for the next 20 or 30 years,” explained Albuquerque Planning Department’s, Russell Brito.

Guiding development while protecting existing properties. That’s the goal for the Albuquerque Bernalillo Comprehensive Plan.

“This updated, comprehensive plan builds on past planning efforts and tries to better coordinate land use and transportation,” said Brito.

Right now, each Albuquerque community has their own plan. City officials say, by combining and coordinating them all, many of these narrow policies will apply city-wide.

“They’re not lost, they’re not forgotten, they’re not afterthoughts,” Brito said.

One of the most significant, proposed changes is altering development area designations.

Currently, the city is divided into areas of semi-urban, developing urban and established urban.

Brito says these were written in the 1980’s when the city was still growing.

“When you look at the city now, we’re mostly built out, and those existing development area designations mean less,” Brito explained.

“So we’re proposing to changing development areas to areas of change and areas of consistency. Areas of consistency are intended to protect single family neighborhoods, parks and open space from adverse effects of new development or redevelopment. And areas of change are intended to signal to property owners, businesses and developers where growth is expected and where it can be accommodated.”

Brito explained where there are areas of change next to areas of consistency, those areas of change should have transitions and buffers as they get closer to areas of consistency, like single-family neighborhoods.

“There still needs to be some more work,” said City Councilor Ken Sanchez.

Sanchez says the document is not done. He says he is not convinced the appropriate protections are in place for existing communities.

“People are saying it’s not perfect. We always strive for perfection and we should try to make this right,” Sanchez said. “The sector plans have withstood the test of time so, I want to make sure, if we adopt this document, this document can also withstand the test of time.”

Sanchez plans to propose additional amendments and, according to the city’s website, so are a number of other councilors.

Despite the details, representatives with the city’s planning department are confident.

“Stronger policies, hopefully, will improve quality of life for the entire city and county,” Brito said.

Monday’s meeting is set for 5 p.m. in Council Chambers. Though public comment is closed, you can still weigh in with your councilor.

You can find the full draft here. Brito recommends readers start with chapter three.