The City of Belen is asking its citizens for their opinions through a volunteer survey that was distributed in the city’s water bills.

“This is part of the process of doing the comprehensive plan,” said Julie Baca, director of the planning and zoning department. “We think it is always good to have feedback from our residents. We also plan to have a town meeting in October or November for the citizens to share their thoughts.”

In the past, the city has had meetings to gather the citizen’s views, but there has been poor turnout. So, this time, the city administration decided to use a survey. Of the 2,500 surveys sent out, Baca is hoping 20 percent will be returned.

“We have received 250 so far,” she said. “People have until Aug. 15 to return the form. If, by accident, a resident threw away the survey and now wants to fill it out, they may come to city hall and fill out one.”

The information gathered will help the city as it prepares its comprehensive land-use plan.

Once the surveys are in, a Middle Rio Grande Council of Government representative will tally the responses.

“We hope the answers will give the city direction on what the citizens feel is important to them,” Baca said. “If they feel we didn’t address something in the questions that is important to them, they can add it at the bottom.”

The residents have been asked to rank the following 18 statements as to whether they strongly agree, mildly agree, are neutral, mildly disagree or strongly disagree:

  • Belen should retain its character, culture and friendly atmosphere.
  • Belen should preserve its historic structures.
  • The city needs to annex adjacent lands to control future growth.
  • Commercial development should be concentrated along Belen’s Main Street.
  • Bicycle/pedestrian trails should be built to provide recreation and circulation.
  • Intensive development around freeway interchanges should be encouraged.
  • Development of the lands west of Interstate 25 should be encouraged.
  • Belen needs more apartments and condominiums.
  • More parks, recreational sites and open-space areas are needed.
  • Belen should take strong steps to protect the future water supply.
  • The city’s roads are adequate to handle growth.
  • The city should intensify development of the airport and surrounding lands.
  • More stringent zoning enforcement is needed throughout the city.
  • Belen should have a public transportation system.
  • Belen and Rio Communities should become one city.
  • A community hospital needs to be established in Belen.
  • Air-quality control is important in this area.
  • A new river crossing is needed between Belen and Los Lunas.
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Jane Moorman