LOS LUNAS — The village of Los Lunas is seeking community feedback as they work through the process of updating its municipal zoning code.
The last major amendment to the zoning code was completed in 2001. According to the village website, the village is updating the code because, “the language has become outdated and lacks continuity, making the zoning code difficult to navigate, and out of compliance with New Mexico statutes.”
The website also stated the current code “does not adequately implement the recently revised comprehensive plan, which established the vision for the physical development of the village.”
Residents will have the chance to provide input and learn more about the zoning code update at an upcoming open house. The event, hosted by the village, is on Nov. 14 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at village council chambers. 660 Main St. NW, Los Lunas.
The village initiated the update to its municipal zoning code in April, and the goal is to make it easier for the public to understand and village staff to administer.
Village of Los Lunas Community Development Director Alex Ochoa said part of the issue is there are a lot of conflicting points within the code.
“For example, there may be something in one section that says you can do this but further down in a different section it says you can’t do that same thing, so we’re just trying to make sure there’s some continuity throughout the entire code,” said Ochoa.
“We also need to make sure the appropriate codes are all located in one area so that it’s easily accessible for anyone reading the code of what they can and cannot do because right now, it’s just not that,” he said.
The existing zoning code is currently being reviewed by a focus group consisting of three village staff members, four members of the public and three consultants from Consensus Planning, a consulting firm hired by the village to complete the update to the code.
The four community members in the focus group are Los Lunas residents recommended by the village council that Ochoa says represent a wide range of interests and perspectives from real estate, higher education and beyond. They include Giovanna Archuleta, Dean Vigil, Ambrose Chavez and Josh Johnson.
Ochoa said consultants from Consensus Planning and village representatives will be at the open house to answer questions and get feedback.
“We’re going to have two brief presentations covering the work we’ve done so far and some of the issues that are in the zone code currently and how we’re trying to amend those,” said Ochoa. “At this point, we’re getting closer to writing the design standards and specific details of what goes into the code, so before we get too far into that we want to make sure there’s an opportunity to speak with the public.”
The presentations will be held at 4 and 5:30 p.m., and Ochoa said there will be a copy of the current zoning code available, as well as a copy of some of the updates they’ve already done.
The village is not seeking any major policy changes, but they are considering adding a few new items, such as an overlay zone for Main Street in Los Lunas.
“We want to protect the character of (Main Street) because it’s kind of turned into a lot of drive thrus and auto-oriented developments,” said Ochoa. “We’re thinking of trying to transition that into a little more of a pedestrian-friendly environment through some sort of overlay zone. However, that’s in its very infancy, so I’m not really sure where we’re going to end up with that in the future.”
Ochoa said another issue they may want to tackle through new policy is industrial and manufacturing designation.
“In the industrial area, we only have one designation for manufacturing and industrial uses, so we are looking into splitting those up into light manufacturing and heavy manufacturing designations so we have more of a buffer between those two types of uses,” he said.
Ochoa said they are hoping to have a final draft in front of the council for approval in January, but that could change based on feedback.
“We hope to elicit any sort of feedback from the public. That’s what we’re here for — to serve the community,” said Ochoa. “The zone code is to help support them and their ideas, so we hope to hear from the community at the open house.”
If you cannot make it to the open house, you can stay in the loop by attending future focus group meetings and through future council meetings, which are all open to the public.
Information and dates for future meetings can be found on the village’s website loslunasnm.gov.
Feedback and questions about the zoning code can be directed to Ochoa via email at [email protected] or by calling 505-352-7630.
Felina Martinez was born and raised in Valencia County. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2021. During her time at UNM, she studied interdisciplinary film, digital media and journalism. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, the School of Dreams Academy and the town of Peralta.