The fourth public hearing on the Valencia County Compre-hensive Plan was supposed to be the benchmark for the commissioners to make a decision on whether to approve the plan.
However, only two commissioners — Chairman Al Padilla and Alicia Aguilar — were present, which was not enough for the required quorum approval of three.
Ruben Chavez, enforcement supervisor of the planning and zoning department, made the PowerPoint presentation for the public.
Overall, public reaction to the plan was not favorable, yet Chavez pointed out that future population growth requires a plan. The current census lists the county population at 66,000.
“If we keep growing, we’ll be 113,000 by 2020, and we’ll be like Santa Fe,” Chavez said. “The plan might look far-fetched now, but we need to look ahead.
“The plan is receiving controversy today and there should be,” Chavez said. “There are tough issues that we have to deal with. Everybody has different interests. It’s up to the commissioners to have the vision for 2020.”
“I was hoping there would be more stress on water and on quality standards,” said Joan Artiaga, Republican candidate for the commission seat in District 3.
Realtor Carol Romero was also concerned with water issues.
“Water rights need to be looked at more closely,” Romero said.
Los Lunas resident Rick Thon said, “First, there are a lot of good things in the plan.” Thon then went on to criticize various aspects of the plan, including a section of the plan that would require future home developments to be on two-acre lots.
“The two-acre minimum would require people to pay $60,000 to $80,000 just for the land alone,” Thon said. “By setting a two-acre minimum, you are driving property prices up, and those people who have less, their property will be devalued.”
“The two-acre minimum has been in place for the past three years,” Chavez said. “We have moved forward and put in place a lot of things in the plan.”
San Clemente resident Clara Rehrer spoke out for another north-south highway in the county.
“If you build (onto) Manzano Expressway, I think you’ll have the people behind you,” Rehrer said.
The feasibility of extending the Manzano Expressway north has been considered by the county commission, but land owned by Isleta Pueblo would prevent the highway from extending northwards.
Two Los Lunas residents expressed the need for further public discussion before the plan is approved. Jack Hunning requested that the plan not be passed in its present form.
“I think there needs to be a lot more public input before this plan is adopted,” said Karen Bernauer.
After Padilla listened to the public discussion, he said, “We need more meetings before we adopt it, I think.”
No future meeting date was set.