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An Open Letter to Bernalillo County Commissioners on Santolina by David Vogel

Thank you to the New Mexico Mercury for publishing this powerful and insightful letter written by David Vogel.

[Link to letter at New Mexico Mercury:

santolina estrella map

As you can see in the map above, Santolina is not the only development in the horizon for the West Mesa.  Approving the Santolina Master Plan is a green light to the rest of the “string of pearls” as referred to by the developers.

string of pearls

Dear Commissioners,

I am writing to urge you to NOT approve the Santolina Master Plan and hope you will vote against this Proposal. Some of the most compelling reasons for rejecting this expansion include:

1. The geographic expansion that has dominated the County’s growth pattern over the past several decades has contributed substantially to the economic stagnation and quality of life erosion for Bernalillo County citizens. The benefits that have accrued to private developers have been at the expense of essential urban infrastructure development. Approval of the Santolina Master Plan will further dilute our already scarce resources and hinder Bernalillo County’s prospects for the kind of economic & infrastructure development critical to our well-being thereby further eroding our prospects for becoming a thriving metropolitan area in the future.

2. Neglect of the core urban infrastructure that is essential to support the County, the City of Albuquerque and adjacent urban areas will relegate our County to bottom tier status in perpetuity, thereby consciously (or unconsciously) forcing us to struggle at the bottom of all too many “lists” of desirable places to live in the US and the Southwest. Is it our destiny to follow the precedent of Detroit?

3. Most contemporary urban planners have concluded that increasing urban density and reducing urban sprawl and its unsustainable, costly infrastructure are key “criteria for success” for creation of thriving 21st Century metropolitan areas. Shifting our planning strategy now to one that is in line with contemporary urban planning principles holds the prospect that future life in the Bernalillo County metropolitan area will be attractive not only to those who already live here, but perhaps even more important, will become a compelling attraction to the coming generations of citizens who will be choosing where to live.

4. We already know from extensive studies that the younger generations of professionals prefer to live where they and their families can thrive in a healthy, vibrant and sustainable community, where good jobs are plentiful, the cost of living is reasonable and their increasing demand for carefully planned, highly developed urban infrastructure is readily met. This means that Bernalillo County must prioritize investing in its core urban infrastructure, including development of excellent public education, excellent public transit, convenient & beautiful parks, reasonably priced & convenient housing, and all the other essential infrastructure components that thriving communities throughout the US are already striving toward. It is impossible to understand how the Santolina Development will do anything but undermine Bernalillo County’s ability to meet these essential priorities.

5. Our water resources are already being taxed beyond their future limits, a fact that if not taken seriously by our leaders will destine us to being one of several major urban areas in the US (e.g. Orange County, CA, Las Vegas, NV, etc.) that are finally realizing that their very existence is in jeopardy. We can no longer ignore headlines such as, “San Juan Water Dries Up for First Time in 40 Years”.

It is time for us to have serious discussion about our priorities as a County and place the “quality of life” in the existing populated regions of the County as the primary criteria for all subsequent development. I hope you will lead this discussion as you consider the Santolina Master Plan, which contradicts almost every informed contemporary urban development principle.

Thank you for your on-going service to our County and its citizens. Your vote on this critical issue will have a major impact on the future quality of life in our County.

David Vogel, Bernalillo County Citizen

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Dear Friends and Allies,

The Santolina Master Plan hearing date has been changed.  It will now be on Wednesday, March 25th at 1:30 PM, 1 Civic Plaza, Vincent E. Griego Chambers.  Join us in making your voice heard loud and clear to the Bernalillo County Commissioners that this is an unneeded development, especially during time of limited water resources, climate change, and economic challenges.

We will also be holding a Town Hall/Education Forum on the Santolina Master Plan on Thursday, March 19th from 6 – 8 PM at the South Valley Multipurpose Center, 2008 Larrazolo RD SW.  Food Provided.

santolina flyer

Join us for our Santolina Master Plan Teach In, Press Conference, and Rally on March 25th!
12:00 PM Teach In/Learn about the Santolina Master Plan (Lunch provided!)
12:30 PM Press Conference & Rally
We will march to Santolina Master Plan hearing immediately 
after Press Conference.  Hearing begins at 1:30 PM.

Important Update Regarding the Santolina Master Plan

Important update to our allies and supporters: We wanted to let everyone know that we have continued our efforts against the approval of the Santolina Master Plan. As many of you know, Santolina was recommended for approval by 4 of the Bernalillo County Planning Commission board members (Joe Chavez, Toby Atencio, Irene Serna, and Connie Chavez) on December 3rd. The community (Southwest Organizing Project, New Mexico Health Equity Working Group, Pajarito Village Association, South Valley Neighborhood Coalition, South Valley Regional Association of Acequias, and the Center for Social Sustainable Sytems) has organized and has filed appeals against approval of the Santolina Master Plan. The hearing has been set for MARCH 25TH @ 1:30 pm, please join us! You can also show your support by calling the Bernalillo County Commissioners (Debbie O’Malley, Art de la Cruz, Maggie Hart Stebbins, Lonnie Talbert, and Wayne Johnson @ 505-314-0350/505-468-7000) to let them know loud and clear that we do NOT support the Santolina Master Plan. We will NOT support a massive and unneeded development that will negatively impact our communities!

3 Good Reasons Why You Should Object to the Santolina Subdivision

Huge thanks to the New Mexico Mercury for publishing this piece on why the Santolina Master Plan should be DENIED!

Read the entire story at: