‘It’s a city showpiece’: City considers new property rules to keep character of Old Town

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s one of the few parts of Albuquerque the city wants to keep stuck in the past. Albuquerque is looking at a new list of rules to make sure Old Town property owners and tenants keep the area looking the same.


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Old Town is a unique spot for Albuquerque locals and visitors. “So much culture and so much New Mexican style,” said Anna visiting from New York.

“Just walking around it’s just a whole different environment really,” said Jeff, also visiting from New York.

The city wants to keep it that way. “It’s a city showpiece. It shows our culture and we want it to show, still maintain that old-time Old Town charm” said Leslie Naji, the city’s Historic Preservation Planner.

So, the city is considering new guidelines for Old Town for property and business owners.

“We always have a problem with people being like ‘well I didn’t know I had to do anything’ and it’s really hard to kind of get people to change things after they’ve done them,” said Naji.

While it has rules now on things like stucco and making sure security cameras are discreet, the new 22-pages of rules are far more detailed than way existed before. Naji said some of the biggest changes include banning shade sails and requiring shade structures to match the time period of Old Town.

It also requires paint jobs to adhere to a certain color palette and bans murals like two new ones near the revamped Plaza Don Luis. “There are some historic murals that have been there for many many years and those will not be affected but some new things have been going up that would be contrary to the painting requirements,” said Naji.

The city said it’s ready to work with any property or business owners in Old Town looking to make changes.

“Our intention is to create coherent and cohesive Old Town experience and we want people to come into it and experience and feel like yeah, they’re looking at the way our community was you know, 100 years ago,” said Naji. “We want to work with applicants. If they come to us first, we can help them get to what they’re wanting in a way that builds upon the characters and qualities of the neighborhood.”

The city’s Landmark Commission will vote on the new rules on Wednesday. If approved and no appeals are made, the rules would go into effect after 15 days.

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