City responds to concerns over strict zoning laws in Old Town

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While some business owners are asking the city to lighten up on zoning laws in Old Town, others say the strict rules are necessary.

Now, the city is responding.

“We had a little LED sign that said, ‘Open,'” said Jeff Warren, art gallery owner. “People all over Old Town have been told they can’t have that.”

Warren says the city code enforcement made him take down that sign because they’re not allowed in Old Town according to the zoning code.

“There are regulations that effect all sorts of things from signage to where goods and services can be displayed. The size of signs, the location of signs,” said Brennan Williams with the city’s Planning and Zoning Department.

The Old Town Albuquerque Merchants, Residents, and Landlords Association says the rules are too strict and it hurts business. They want to meet with the new mayor and talk about making zoning changes.

“I feel very keen on the fact that of course small businesses here would like to advertise and have signage that is attention getting,” said Cynthia Cook, Old Town landowner.

However, long-time Old Town land and business owner Cynthia Cook says it’s something retailers should sacrifice.

“There are historic preservation laws in tact intended to keep everything as pure as it was in 1706 when the church San Felipe De Neri was built,” she said. “I think it’s very important that we keep Old Town from becoming Pottersville.”

Cook references the town’s transformation in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” saying she’ll fight off any changes in Old Town.

“It’s a group effort that’s made in order to come up with these standards,” Brennan Williams said.

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