JANUARY 25, 2005


Present: Commissioners Ford, Ludtke, Camuņez, Binnewig, Sanchez, and Buchman (Chair).

 It was an evening of contrasts.  The meeting ended on a high note, when the Commission unanimously approved an innovative PUD for 68 acres along Northrise Dr, just south of the Jornada South subdivision.  The proposed development consists of patio homes and townhomes on relatively small lots, surrounded by a shared open space that would protect the natural drainage system of the area and provide a mile-long loop trail for property owners. 

 A representative of the Jornada South subdivision voiced their support for this proposal because it respects and incorporates the natural environment and enhances their neighborhood—a striking contrast to the neighborhood’s strong opposition to a development proposal on the east side of Jornada South considered at the commission’s October meeting.

 Earlier in the evening, the commission heard much passionate opposition from another neighborhood group relating to an annexation request and development proposal for 250 acres of land off of Stern Drive.  Neighborhood concerns included the already-dangerous traffic along Stern Drive, drainage issues, and negative impacts to the rural ambience of their area as well as the Holy Cross Retreat.

 The annexation, master plan, and initial zoning were all approved unanimously. Commissioner Binnewig had concerns about high-density, multi-family zoning (R-4) along a narrow strip of land bisecting large-parcel agricultural lands, but she raised the issue after the master plan had been approved, when the commission was discussing the initial zoning request.  Because the master plan also included the R-4 zoning, staff explained that she needed to make a motion to reconsider the master plan approval; that motion failed (Commissioners Sanchez, Ford, and Buchman voting no).

 A different neighborhood was more successful in their appeals to the Commission.  The Commission voted to deny (Commissioners Sanchez and Buchman dissenting) a request for a zone change from R-2 to R-4 for a parcel near the University in response to neighborhood concerns that an apartment complex would negatively impact their neighborhood of single-family homes.

Nancy Stotz

League of Women Voters