ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As homes continue to pop up on Albuquerque’s westside, developers think businesses should follow suit. However, some neighbors aren’t having it.
Beautiful views, open space, and peaceful surroundings are what drew the Steplers to the La Cuentista neighborhood on Albuquerque’s westside.
“Before we decided to contract to buy this house, we researched the area and found the long-term plan was to keep it as open and visually appealing,” Sharon Stepler said.
But they were stunned to learn that all may be in jeopardy.
“Shock and dismay…” Sharon said.
Developers are trying to change the zoning of 16 acres by their home at the corner of Paseo Del Norte and Kimmick allowing for a wide array of retail and commercial uses.
“We are most concerned about more noise pollution and light pollution at night,” Sharon said.
Brennon Williams with the planning department said at a meeting last month, staff recommended denying the request since they believed the applicant was only motivated financially.
“They only requested the different designation based on economic considerations and argued they could make more money if they had a higher zoning designation,” Williams said. “Ultimately, they would like to sell the property.”
The Environmental Planning Commission approved it anyway, saying that development would provide new opportunities for residents to work, shop and play.
Some in the area said they would like to see more development.
“I have seen all this grass and bushes here forever, and seeing something new would be good,” resident Andres Sanchez said.
However, the Steplers and others are now appealing, hoping to keep the zoning by their house the way it is.
“We hope to spend the rest of our lives here,” Sharon said. “We are just concerned it would degrade this part of the mesa.”
The Open Space Division and National Park Service also oppose the request. NPS is worried about the effect on the nearby Petroglyphs.
The appeal will be heard at a city council meeting early next year.