Martineztown accuses city of racism for lack of development

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It’s a historic Albuquerque neighborhood that’s craving more residential development, but neighbors say the city is holding them back because they are a minority community.

“Martineztown is zoned in a very different way, yet it’s one of the oldest communities in the city of Albuquerque, but it’s predominantly Hispanic or Chicano,” says Bianca Encinias.

While it’s one of the oldest neighborhoods, the city of Albuquerque has Martineztown zoned as non-residential.

The president of the Santa Barbara Martineztown Neighborhood Association says that’s wrong.

“We want residential, single family. We want our land use, our historical land use to be zoned correctly. To be zoned as a residential single-family dwelling,” says Loretta Naranjo-Lopez.

Encinias is with the Historic Neighborhoods Alliance and claims the city labeled Martineztown as non-residential because of race.

“We also show a pattern and history of more affluent and white communities being treated differently than low income and minority communities,” she says.

Back in April, both organizations sent a complaint to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development asking to launch an investigation into the city’s planning department.

In September, HUD put the city on notice that it is investigating whether the city has violated civil rights laws.

“What our Title 8 complaint shows is how Martineztown is treated differently to similar communities that are more affluent and more Anglo,” says Encinias.

A spokesperson with the city’s Planning and Zoning Department says they believe they are in compliance with the law.

“We have gone in and talked to them. We have provided some training and some information on the IDO. On what each of these new zones, these zone conversions mean,” says Carmelina Hart.

The Planning Department says it will work with homeowners to see if a zone change is possible. They say all homeowners have to do is call them.

HUD would not comment on the pending investigation. At this point, there is no timeline as to when the investigation will be complete.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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