ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The 26-acre empty lot at the corner of Coors Boulevard and St. Joseph’s Drive has sat vacant for decades. “As far as I know it’s been empty the entire 30 years that we have lived here,” Jane Baechle, a member of the Santa Fe Village Neighborhood Association, says.

Baechle says there have been a lot of ideas on what to do with the space over the years. “I would be fine with a large footprint store of some kind.” The last big idea, a Smith’s grocery store, has yet to come to fruition, but plans for the signage are moving forward.

Red Shamrock 12 LLC, the property owner, is requesting a variance with the city to significantly increase the square footage allowed for a sign on the lot. Zoning allows for 75 square feet, but according to neighborhood associations, Red Shamrock is requesting an additional 111 square feet.

The variance is something neighbors are concerned with. “Visually, it would have looked very out of place with the scale of the rest of the area,” Baechle said. Not only do they feel a sign that large doesn’t fit the character of the area, but worry about public safety on an already congested road. “A sign of that size would have been a potential visual distraction for motorists.”

Neighborhood associations say the variance also includes a second sign along Coors Boulevard near Atrsico. Baechle says they’re not against development on the property, they just don’t want an intrusive sign blocking the view. “If the sign was consistent with the zoning requirements, we really wouldn’t have any basis to say anything about it.”

One of several meetings was held Tuesday night, Mar. 21, about the issue. The Zoning Hearing Examiner has two weeks to approve or deny the request. KRQE News 13 reached out to Red Shamrock 12 LLC, but did not hear back.