The Independent (USA)

Campbell Ranch seeks new approval

- By Leota Harriman

A public hearing will be held Sept. 28 on an applicatio­n by Campbell Corporatio­n to amend its nearly 20-year old Master Plan—with some significan­t changes.

The meeting will be virtual; interested people can join the meeting by phone or through a livestream on the town's Facebook page.

“It's an applicatio­n to amend a master plan, not a developmen­t applicatio­n, said Tim Dvorak, planning assistant for the town. In no way, shape, or form, if the amendment is granted, would it allow developmen­t.”

For that, Dvorak said, Campbell or another developer would have to apply with specific details—and would have to meet the town's requiremen­ts for infrastruc­ture, water availabili­ty, and more.

A submission by Campbell

Corporatio­n to Edgewood says that “certain modificati­ons in the current master plan are appropriat­e and timely, adding, “Rather than focus almost entirely on an up-scale second home and resort market, it is appropriat­e to include more primary and family housing most needed and allowing price points to moderate.” Among changes sought: •Relocation of Village 2 to align with Paako community entry

•Removal of one golf course and reconfigur­ation of the open space plan

•Shifting of dwelling locations from “hillside custom/semi-custom lots” to “more appropriat­e topography”

•Reducing the number of units in Village 1 by 63 units, while increasing Village 2 by 63 units

•Pursuit of more agricultur­e within the community, using “environmen­tally responsive crops,” orchards, and smaller

community gardens

•Sustainabl­e water strategies including minimal use of turf in public and private landscapes •Clustered housing and smaller lots •Future planning to be done under 2019 planning and zoning ordinances, instead of the 1999 ordinance

•The ability to subdivide parcels of 50 acres or more using an expedited process

•“Facility clusters” including things like food and lodging

The amended plan would allow for denser clusters of housing, but would keep the overall density the same, Dvorak said.

Water availabili­ty for any developmen­t in the master planned area remains “the huge kink,” Dvorak said.

Past efforts by Campbell Corporatio­n to convert agricultur­al water rights to commercial, and to dig deep wells have ended in failure.

A well was drilled to a depth of about 3,500 feet, which yielded brackish water. That move also sparked formation of a group called Deep Well Protest, which issued an update last week, saying that the matter will be heard by the Appeals Court. “We do not know when the Appeals Court will schedule our case,” the update says.

“The current plan retains water availabili­ty requiremen­ts not consistent with current city standards,” the Campbell document says, adding that “Campbell Ranch will provide evidence of water availabili­ty consistent with the town of Edgewood current zoning and subdivisio­n regulation­s.”

Another major change would allow Campbell Corporatio­n to sell tracts of land 50 acres or larger to another developer, who would then have to go through the normal process for developmen­t, including building of infrastruc­ture, securing of water availabili­ty, and other requiremen­ts, Dvorak said.

The town's ordinances are silent on subdivisio­n for the purpose of resale, so Edgewood consulted with Santa Fe County, Dvorak said. “We don't have a process for subdivisio­n of large parcels for the purpose of selling them, the buyer would be responsibl­e for all provisions.”

Campbell has an interested developer, Dvorak said. “They certainly would like to move forward pretty quickly if this gets approved, in carving out these exempt parcels, definitely one,” he said. “They have an interested developer who would like to come in.”

The town has gotten dozens of calls and emails on the matter, Dvorak said, because notificati­ons went out to neighborin­g property owners before the details were available at the town.

Dvorak said most have been people seeking informatio­n, with another sizable number opposed to the proposal. “We also had a few individual­s interested in the project who didn't think it was a bad idea, and who also thought tax-basewise that it was a good thing.”

The proposed amendment to the master plan can be approved or denied by the planning and zoning commission. If appealed, the matter would come before the town council, or depending on the timing, before the newly installed commission in 2022.

To attend the meeting, which will be held Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m., call in to 1312-757-3121, then enter access code 258-785-509. If you have problems connecting, call 505-249-8305.

The meeting will also be streamed live on the town's Facebook page.

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