Case Work: Water

Santolina Proposed Development

LOCATION: Albuquerque, NM
INITIATION DATE: December 2014
CLIENTS/PARTNERS: Southwest Organizing Project, New Mexico Health Equity Working Group, Pajarito Village Association, South Valley Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, Center for Social Sustainable Systems, South Valley Regional Association of Acequias, and several individuals
OPPOSING PARTIES: Bernalillo County Planning Commission
STATUS: Ongoing
ATTORNEYS: Douglas Meiklejohn, Jaimie Park

SUMMARY:

If built today, the 90,000-person Santolina development would be the third largest city in New Mexico. It would require nearly 20 million gallons of water per day, at least 20 schools, and two interchanges on I-40. Unfortunately, politicians have approved Santolina’s first level of approvals – despite the fact that developers have failed to show where they will get their water and how they will construct this massive undertaking without cost to Bernalillo taxpayers. “Santolina” is a complex set of cases related to different levels of the planning approval process. Cases involve: the Zone Map Amendment; the Level A Master Plan (Level A is the entire 13,000 acre site); the Level B.1 master plan (the B level is for discrete parts of the overall development covering several thousand acres); the Development Agreement for provision of water and wastewater. These cases are in various stages in District Court and the state Court of Appeals.

LATEST NEWS:

Updates are organized based on the planning issue involved; a couple of the updates cover multiple issues – for example, updates on 12/21/2015 and 05/04/2016 under the Level A Master Plan deal with court filings covering the Zone Map, the Level A Master Plan, and the Development Agreement.

Zone Map Amendment
06/06/2017 – NMELC files Motion for Clarification and Memorandum in Support of Motion for Clarification. Motion for Clarification and Memorandum in Support of Motion for Clarification
11/22/2016 – District Court Judge Franchini issues order denying motion to dismiss appeal. Order Denying Motion to Dismiss Appeal
03/17/2016 – NMELC files Reply to Bernalillo County Response to Statement of Appellate Issues. Reply to Response to Santolina Appeal
06/26/2015 – NMELC files Notice of Appeal against Commission’s approval of zone change. Notice of Appeal over Zone change
03/24/2015 – NMELC files Motion for Recusal and Disqualification based on expressed bias by then-Commissioner Art de la Cruz. Motion for Recusal and Disqualification
12/29/2014 – Law Center files amended appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of the zone map change.  Appeal of Planning Commission’s Zone Change Approval

Level A Master Plan
08/15/2017 – Board of County Commissioners voted 3-1 in favor of letting the development proceed without a water agreement in place. The Board denied our appeal of the County Planning Commission’s June 7th decision recommending that the Board approve the Santolina developers’ request to allow them to proceed without a water agreement in place.
06/24/2017 – NMELC files Appeal to County Commission. Amended Appeal Part I and Amended Appeal Part II
05/30/2017 – NMELC files Response in Opposition to Santolina Developer’s Application to change approval conditions and Request recommendation of amendments to the Board’s approval of Level A Master Plan. Response in Opposition to Santolina Developer’s Application to change approval conditions and Findings and Conditions of Approval Amendments.
03/08/2017 – NMELC files Response in Opposition to Santolina Developer’s Motion to Revise Conditions and files Response in Opposition to and Motion to Dismiss Developers Appeal. Response in Opposition to Santolina Developer’s Application to change approval conditions and Response in Opposition to and Motion to Dismiss Santolina Developers Appeal of the County Planning Commission Decision
05/04/2016 – NMELC files Brief Addressing the Filing of their First Amended Notice of Appeal. Brief Addressing the Filing of First Amended Notice of Appeal
03/17/2016 – NMELC files Reply to Bernalillo County Response to Statement of Appellate Issues. Reply to Response to Santolina Appeal
12/21/2015 – NMELC files Statement of Appellate Issues. Statement of Appellate Issues
06/08/2015 – NMELC files Comments with the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners on the County Planning Department’s Findings and Conditions of Proposed Development. Comments on Findings and Conditions of Proposed Development
05/27/2015 – NMELC files Notice of Appeal against Commission’s denial of clients appeal. Notice of Appeal over Master Plan
05/17/2015 – Testimony of Norm Gaume, P.E. (retired)
05/11/2015 – The County Commission denied our clients’ appeal of the Master Plan by a vote of 3 to 2. The hearing is scheduled to resume on May 28, 2015.
05/07/2015 – NMELC files Motion to Postpone hearing scheduled for May 11, 2015. Motion to Postpone
03/25/2015 – Public hearing in Albuquerque on Level A Master Plan.
12/29/2014 – Law Center files amended appeal of the Planning Commission’s recommendation that the County Commission approve the proposed master plan.  Appeal of Planning Commission’s Recommendation

Level B.1 Master Plan
08/16/2017 – Hearing scheduled for August 30th. Board of County Commissioners will consider the Level B.1 Master Plan and our appeal of the CPC’s decision recommending that the BCC approve the incomplete Level B.1 Master Plan.
06/06/2017 – NMELC files Request to Planning Committee to Defer June 7th Santolina Level B Hearing. Request to Planning Committee to Defer June 7th Santolina Level B Hearing
01/25/2017 – NMELC files amended appeal of recommendation to approve Santolina Level B.1 plan. Amended Appeal of Recommendation to Approve Santolina Level B.1

Development Agreements
These updates can refer both to the initial Level A Development Agreement and the subsequent Level B.1 Development Agreement.
11/30/2018 – Filed Comments with the ABCWUA Board regarding the Water and Sanitary Sewer Serviceability Letter #180108 Santolina Level A and Level B.1. The Letter is a response to the developer’s proposed development agreement. There is a long list of Exhibits attached to the Comments. The Exhibits are stored in Dropbox (you do not need an account to access the files).
11/05/2018 – Filed a Request to Stay the Board of County Commissioner’s consideration of the Santolina Level B1 draft development agreement. The developer, Western Albuquerque Land Holdings (WALH) has submitted a Draft Development Agreement to the Board
06/08/2015 – NMELC files Comments with Bernalillo Board of County Commissioners on Draft Level A Development Agreement. Comments on Draft Development Agreement