EDGEWOOD, N.M. (KRQE) – A large housing development more than 20 years in the making has hit another roadblock. People in the East Mountains were worried about the water supply for the additional homes. Now, even with new groundwater pumping blocked, the developers said the fight is not over.

It’s a fight between a small town protecting its way of life and a developer who wants to give more people the opportunity to live in the area.

In 2021, changes to the Campbell Ranch master plan in the Sandia Park area were approved. The plan would take 8,000 acres of land and turn it into homes, a golf course, and a hotel.

Community members were vocal about protecting wildlife and their water supply.

“They banded together to fight this massive development to protect their domestic well rights and the groundwater in the area where they got the water for their wells for their homes,” said Attorney Paul Hultin on behalf of the East Mountain Residents

However, developers said it would help with the housing shortage and create jobs for the state.

“Sometimes, people think it’s going to happen overnight, which is not the case. We are just trying to plan for the future,” said President of Campbell Management Group Robert Gately.

Now, the area is celebrating what they call a “water win,” after an appeals court decision blocks the developer from using groundwater in the area.

Hultin added, “This is a very big win for the community. It’s a very big win for the protection of groundwater in the state of New Mexico.”

The Campbell Management Group insists that studies proved the aquifer was sufficient for the project. They still plan to build housing on their property.

“It doesn’t slow us down,” Gately mentioned, “Instead of using the abundant resource we’re sitting on top of, we may have to pipe in water.”

According to Hultin, the District Court ruled the homeowners are entitled to get back $400,000 of the money they spent on the case. The Court of Appeals’ decision will protect groundwater across the state. However, the town of Edgewood could still approve the development.