ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One of Albuquerque’s three approved homeless camps is still struggling to get off the ground after several organizations filed appeals against it. The organizations are concerned about what the camp would bring to their neighborhood. Monday, Feb. 27, the city heard those complaints.
Seven organizations expressed their frustrations against this site, saying the city failed in notifying them of the looming sanctioned encampment. “The problem is that this was a secret proceeding. We had no opportunity to discuss their application until now,” said John Salazar, an attorney representing the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The hotel is just one of seven organizations against the city-sanctioned encampment which claims the city’s planning department approved an incomplete application at the 1250 Menaul site. “The application is insufficient under the terms of the Integrated Development Ordinance. “It fails to adhere to the use specific standards for security plans and services provisions,” added Attorney Jacques Chouinard.
The other six appellants include the Albuquerque Hotel Lodgers Association, the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Sunset Memorial Park, Life Roots, Menaul School, and the Santa Barbara Martinez Town Neighborhood Association. Those groups say security measures are some of their biggest concerns. “The continuation of these services that are coming in brings even more homeless to our area,” said Santa Barbara Martinez Town Neighborhood Association President, Loretta Naranjo-Lopez. “I feel like it’s going to be a magnet for the homeless to come down to that particular area,” added Crowne Plaza Hotel Manager, Joani Jones.
While an amendment passed last November by the city council, requesting the sites include security measures through a new ordinance, the city’s code compliance manager says the site at Menual is exempt. “This application was deemed complete before that took effect so therefore it would not need to,” said Albuquerque’s Planning Department’s Code Compliance Manager, Angelo Metzgar.
However, Dawn Legacy Pointe, the organization that has applied to run the safe outdoor space, says security has been contracted to oversee the site 24/7 once operations are up and running. They say their focus is to help those in need. “That is what nonprofits do. If we can’t serve you I’m going to try and find some but that can…it’s not like we are looking at doing the intakes on site,” added Kylea Good with Dawn Legacy Pointe.
The city’s Land Use Hearing Officer, Steve Chaveza, will make a recommendation on the appeals to the city council in early April.