DATE: November 24, 2021
TO: Town of Edgewood Council
PO Box 3610
Edgewood, NM 87105
SUBJECT: Appeal of the Edgewood Planning & Zoning Commission’s Approval of the Amended Campbell Ranch Master Plan dated February 2002.
This appeal is made to the Town of Edgewood Council by the East Mountains Protection Action Coalition (EMPAC). We submit this appeal with deep consideration for the protection of our East Mountains and its residents. These considerations are driven by observations made while attending (virtually via Zoom) the Town of Edgewood Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Commission meeting held September 28, 2021, hearing Campbell Ranch’s (CR) overview of their Amended Master Plan (MP), hearing only negative commentary from approximately 50 attendees who spoke (out of approx. 200 public attendees), reviewing the P&Z meeting minutes and clarifications, reviewing the limited number of related historical documents and the most recent related documentation made available to the public.
We specifically request that the Town of Edgewood overturn the P&Z approval of the Campbell Ranch Master Plan and require a new Master Plan be submitted based on current environmental conditions which meets all current Town of Edgewood, County, State, Federal Ordinances, Statutes and Law. We are also requesting a hearing be held in a forum where Appeal information can be presented to the public. This we request prior to any development actions being allowed to commence.
Below are outlined findings of errors made, and abuses of discretion demonstrated by the Edgewood Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Commission while deciding to approve the amended Master Plan for the Campbell Ranch subdivision.
- The P&Z Commission made significant errors in their decision to approve the CR MP by inconsistently applying old and new Zoning Ordinances.
The current Edgewood Zoning Ordinance 2019-03 requires a that a “Master Plan Zone must include the required following information” to include “A preliminary water supply plan and a liquid waste disposal plan.” CR’s MP did not include amendments to the Water Supply Plan, Appendix E of the 2002 MP, to meet the current water and environmental conditions. Much of the P&Z’s decision is clearly based on a MP following Ordinances which were in place in 2001.
- The P&Z Commission made significant errors in their decision to approve the CR MP by not thoroughly understanding the entirety of the MP Amendment. By not having full understanding and detailed knowledge of the MP, the P&Z Commission could not have fully evaluated all implications when making their decision to approve. Multiple oversights exist dating back to CR’s 2002 MP, the 2001 Development Agreement between CR and the Town of Edgewood, 2001 Town Ordinance, and the 2021 Amended MP.
Lack of the Commission’s full understanding of all implications prior to the decision to approve was demonstrated during the P&Z Commission meeting. Town Staff declined to say that the Development Agreement is compatible with passing the proposed amendment on the date of the hearing. Town Staff recommended to the P&Z Commission that they not rule on the proposed amendment without review the Development Agreement. In spite of Staff recommendations, the Commission did not review the Development Agreement before approving the MP amendment.
Several specific items in the Development Agreement and Ordinance No. 2003-13 that needed to be reviewed, and for which no clear resolution exists, include multiple Terms & Conditions (T&Cs) that outline actions that were to be initiated once T&C’s are met with schedule dispensation requirements. Examples include the requirement to form two Public Improvement Districts (PIDs), one for Enhanced Services days, and one for Public Infrastructure Improvements, within 180 days and 60 days respectively of the execution of the Agreement. Many other conditions were set such as requirements to provide funds to support the development of public safety and welfare policies, develop a plan for public infrastructure improvements, purchase of liability insurance, etc. No evidence has been found indicating that all T&Cs were met, PIDs were formed, or subsequent actions occurred. Additionally, there are renewal requirements (6 years) for those PIDs. During the September 28, 2021 P&Z Commission meeting, Mr. Gately stated that there are no active PIDs at this time. Regardless of whether PIDs were ever active, the fact they are not currently active supports the conclusion that the Development Agreement is no longer a valid vehicle necessary to execute the MP. The P&Z Commissioners likely did not understand the implications that their decision to approve the MP without a valid Development Agreement could prevent the Town of Edgewood from controlling the development per the MP, allowing the MP concept to quickly dissolve.
P&Z’s lack of thorough understanding of the MP and its impacts was demonstrated by the Town’s Attorney making a statement during the P&Z’s Commission meeting that all property within the Campbell Ranch Master Plan had been annexed and was within the Town’s municipal boundaries. The Attorney’s statement was made in public and was significantly incorrect. However, no P&Z Commissioner spoke up to make a correction or clarification at that time.
P&Z’s lack of thorough understanding of the MP and its impacts is demonstrated in that the original and amended CR MP describes seven Zone types. Only one of those seven zone types (MU – Mixed Use Zoning) is defined in the Edgewood Zoning Ordinance 2019-03.Furthermore, there is a significant lack of zone definition found within the MP’s Low Density Residential District which identifies 1861 acres of land to be zoned as “Land”. It appears that the Z&P Commission did not read the plan closely to realize this discrepancy. The P&Z Commission failed to recognize this lack of definition in their decision to Approve further demonstrates the lack of thoroughness seen throughout the MP itself.
- The P&Z Commission made significant error in their decision to approve the CR MP by not making all necessary documents available to the public.
All documentation necessary for evaluation of the MP and its impacts, in its entirety, by the public and relevant governing agencies either did not exist or were not made available prior to Z&P’s Commission meeting on 28-29 September, 2021. As an example, the document on which the proposed need for the implementation of the Amended Campbell Ranch Master Plan is based, is excluded from the public record. The Housing Demand Study referenced in Mr. Kellenberg’s September 28 public hearing presentation, has not been made available to the public despite a promise by Mr. Kellenberg during the hearing that it would be provided to the Town. Failure to make available all relevant documentation fundamentally compromises the public’s and governing agencies’ ability to understand and assess the CR’s assertions, conclusions, and impacts to the East Mountains and its residents.
- The P&Z Commission demonstrated abuse of discretion in their decision to approve the CR MP in their handling of the deletion of Village 1 locating in Bernalillo County, and the transfer of Village 1 units into the MP Villages located in Edgewood.
Village 1, as defined in the CR MP makes up approximately 20% of the MP and is located entirely within Bernalillo County. Therefore Village 1 is completely outside the purview and authorities of the Town of Edgewood. This assertion has been validated by the statement made by Dan McGregor, representing Bernalillo County during the public hearing. McGregor reiterated the fact that Bernalillo has never approved the CR MP in full or in part. Simply deleting 20% of the MP without full evaluation of the impacts is one more aspect of why the MP should have been invalidated and not approved.
Contradictions in clarifying statements and Rules For Development stated in the Development Agreement further reinforce this finding. As an example, Rules For Development allow only for reduction in densities for CR’s development. No Rules are stated allowing for the increases in densities which occur by moving units from the non-existent Village 1 into Village 2.
Village 1, a portion of the MP in Bernalillo County, has never been approved by any governing entity, was recently deleted from the MP due to its invalid status, and most importantly is outside of Edgewood’s authorities. To allow the transfer of units from Village 1 no Variance requests, no impact evaluation, or no other process, is further evidence of P&Z’s abuse of discretion.
- The P&Z Commission demonstrated abuse of discretion in their decision to approve the CR MP by giving little consideration to current environmental conditions.
No consideration was given to the fact of water level declines and wells drying up in the Sandia and Estancia basins. Lack of consideration is demonstrated by missing or lacking information to support the P&Z’s approval such as: Basin closures by the State Engineer and NM Court decisions to deny new water appropriations to Campbell Ranch reinforce this position; The amendments to the CR MP touch only a small portion of a plan which is two decades old; Amendments to CR MP Appendix E Water Supply Plan were either not made or not made available to the public; The MP was changed to eliminate the State Engineer from the approval process; The MP relies on water reuse from the now non-existent Village 1;There is no water conservation plan as required by the current Ordinance; The MP’s water supply plan and liquid waste disposal plan that was assumed to be used by the P&Z to make their decision is significantly out of date. CR MP’s consumption of approx. 1/2 billion gallons of water per year should have been fully considered given current environmental conditions.