Neighbors appeal variance on proposed Westside development along bosque

Neighbors are upping the ante in their fight against a development along the bosque in the middle of Albuquerque.

They’re now calling out the city board that gave the proposed subdivision a green light. 

“They’re trying to cram in 76 homes into a very beautiful spot. It just makes no sense to me,” neighbor Kevin Dullea said.

It’s been a longtime fight for the Westside neighborhood near Coors and Namaste, speaking out against an Albuquerque developer’s proposal to build on the former property of philanthropist Suzanne Poole, who helped create Popejoy Hall and the Santa Fe Opera. 

It would be called the Overlook at Oxbow.

Back in December, the city’s Development Review Board, which signs off on zoning changes, heard a variance request for the property.

“The IDO does require that new subdivisions do have connectivity with adjacent subdivisions,” Carmelina Hart with the Planning Department stated. “With this particular subdivision, there are no connection points to other subdivisions.”

The DRB approved the variance anyway and now the Taylor Ranch Neighborhood Association and others against the whole project have filed an appeal to city council.

“The planning department isn’t taking much responsibility on the sensitive lands that we have in this city,” Appellant Susan Chaudoir said.

The appeal states the high-density development would “impair the sensitive lands,” affect the neighborhood environment and exceed the 50-unit limit the city’s development rules, or IDO, allow for housing in that area.

Additionally, it states that even granting that variance was done in secret, violating the Open Meetings Act.

“They had their own private conference right in front of us to try to figure out how to handle the whole situation and we don’t know what they were talking about and that’s the whole issue,” Dullea added.

A city hearing officer will review the appeal this month, then make a recommendation to city council.

The Environmental Planning Commission also needs to sign off on building along the bosque. A neighborhood group has other ideas for the property, including a community center for special events.

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