Village of Corrales amends Casita Ordinance

Politics - Government

CORRALES, N.M. (KRQE) – An amended ordinance passed by the Village of Corrales Council, will make it harder for residents to build a small home on their property. The newly updated ordinance will close any loopholes found in the previous rules, making it more difficult for property owners to build a second dwelling on their property. “Corrales is basically the Narnia of New Mexico,” said Kevin Mullaney a property owner in the Village of Corrales.

Horse crossing signs are not uncommon in the Village, but there are new signs popping up along Corrales Road, they read ‘Say no to short-term rentals,’ and ‘Say no to Casitas in Corrales.’ “We don’t want two houses on one acre,” said Scott Kominiak, a property owner in Corrales.

Kominiak grew up in Corrales and moved back to the Village in 2001. He hangs a “No Casitas” sign on his fence. “It stems from our desire to not have high-density housing,” said Kominiak.

In order to keep population density low, and prevent septic systems from getting overwhelmed, the Village has always had a rule against property owners having a second “dwelling” on their lot, but Kominiak says property owners have been finding a loophole to that rule for years.

On top of that, some residents are upset about those casitas being used as short-term rentals like Airbnb’s. The Village Council recently updated the original ordinance to close those loopholes, changing the definition of a dwelling to ‘a unit for living, sleeping, eating, cooking or sanitation.’

They also changed the definition of a kitchen, as any room intended or designed for cooking or the preparation of food. “My opinion is it’s an attack on a way of life,” said Mullaney. He has a casita on his property, he says his father-in-law lives in it. Mullaney says it should be up to the property owner to determine how to use their casita. “I think the ordinance is a huge overstep,” Mullaney told KRQE.

But Kominiak says the rules are in place to help maintain the rural feel of the village. “It’s very nice, it’s very pleasent. It’s an open environment. There’s lots of space between the houses,” said Kominiak.

The ammended ordinance was approved on June 15th, they’re just waiting for the final signature from the mayor. The Village Planning and Zoning office says existing casitas don’t have to be removed, but their use must comply with the new rules.

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