ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque land use hearing officer is recommending city councilors reject the plan for a sanctioned homeless camp near Menaul and I-25. This decision comes after a neighborhood, a school, and businesses appealed the planning department’s approval of the plan.  

At the end of February, Albuquerque’s land use hearing officer heard complaints and concerns from several organizations who filed appeals against a city-sanctioned safe outdoor space on Menaul. “I feel like it’s going to be a magnet for the homeless to come down to that particular area,” Joani Jones, the manager of Crowne Plaza, said at the hearing. 

Attorneys argued the city’s planning department approved an incomplete application from Dawn Legacy Pointe, a nonprofit advocacy group looking to set up a safe outdoor space on city-owned property.  

Three weeks after hearing those arguments, the city’s land use hearing officer sided with the appellants. The recommendation is that the city council reverse the city staff’s decision and deny the application. 

Karl Holme, executive director of the Greater Albuquerque Hotel & Lodging Association said, “We are pleased with the recommendation going to the city council. This is our second appeal effort for everybody involved.”

The ruling says the application does not sufficiently show how the site would meet the standards for safe outdoor spaces. Holme says the SOS site is also counter to the city’s push to fix up the Menaul corridor. 

Holme made it clear his association is not against the idea of city-sanctioned homeless camps. He explained, “We feel like we need to support the community and the city in efforts to find solutions, viable solutions to the homelessness situation. We think the decision by the mayor to move forward with the Gibson Center is the right thing and there’s more things that need to get done.”

Since this is just a recommendation by the hearing officer, city councilors will either vote to accept or reject it at their meeting on Apr. 3.