Affordable Housing Downtown

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By Marisa Demarco

— County Assessor Karen Montoya was elected to the Public Regulation Commission during the last election. At the Tuesday, Jan. 8 meeting, Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson nominated Christie Humphrey for the spot due to her experience, he said, as the chief deputy assessor in Sandoval County. But Tanya Giddings, a government relations officer at UNM, was chosen instead to fill the seat for the remaining two years of the term.

As is standard procedure at the start of a new year, the commission adopted an Open Meetings Act. Though the state only requires 24-hour notice for a meeting, the Bernalillo County Commission demands 72 hours of notice. A fixed agenda is set by the end of the the Friday before each Tuesday meeting and can be found at bit.ly/BernCoAgenda.

Commissioners swapped seats after a new chair (Maggie Hart Stebbins) and vice-chair (Debbie O’Malley) were elected. Hart Stebbins welcomed newcomer Lonnie Talbert to the table.

Talbert read a proclamation remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and promising to honor Monday, Jan. 21 as a holiday. Events include:

A parade and march on Sunday, Jan. 20, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Civic Plaza

• A breakfast on Monday, Jan. 21, at the Marriott Pyramid Hotel (5151 San Francisco NE) sponsored by the Grant Chapel A.M.E. Church

• A noon luncheon on Monday, Jan. 21, at the Inn at Rio Rancho (1465 Rio Rancho) sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

A multicultural celebration on Monday, Jan. 21, at Congregation Albert (3800 Louisiana NE) sponsored by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Multicultural Council

Commissioner Johnson spoke in favor of an amendment that would change the way appointments are made to the County’s seven-seat planning board. As things stand, Districts 1 and 2 have two representatives, while 3, 4 and 5 have only one. The proposed ordinance would include one rep. from each district, with the two extra seats determined on a rotation. “How we do something is as important as what we do,” Johnson said. The measure failed on a 3-2 vote, with Democrats O’Malley (D1), Art De La Cruz (D2) and Hart Stebbins (D3) voting against it.

The commission voted unanimously to give Keshet Dance Company a $150,000 grant to create an Innovation Center. The company purchased a building at 4121 Cutler NE, which will be used as a business incubator program for start-up or struggling arts businesses. The hope is the center will create hundreds of arts-related jobs in Albuquerque over the next decade, said Hart Stebbins.

Issue: Silver Moon Lodge

An affordable housing complex in Downtown Albuquerque is being planned for the northwest corner of 10th Street and Park Avenue. There would be 86 studios and 64 one-bedroom apartments for rent but fewer than 30 parking spaces available for tenants and visitors. During the public comment portion of the meeting, a neighbor suggested this would create problems in the area.

BernCo View

Commissioners had to consider whether they would vote in favor of giving notice to approve an $8 million revenue bond for the project. Final action on the bond will take place at the Tuesday, Feb. 12 meeting. The commission gave the notice a unanimous thumbs up, though reservations were expressed. O’Malley, a noted proponent of workforce housing and infill, said the the developer’s plan to allow residents to rent parking spaces at nearby parking lots wasn’t adequate. Talbert suggested that though many people use public transportation, DGB Properties shouldn’t be counting on it. Johnson advocated allowing the city of Albuquerque to worry about those kinds of issues and to concentrate on the bond.

Compass’ Take

Public transit, especially coming out of Downtown, is generally great. With a bike and the bus, you can get almost anywhere in Albuquerque easily during standard business hours. But problems arise when you want to travel at odd hours, deviate from the east- and west-bound main lines, or if you’re trying to carry anything large around town. Vehicles are still a necessity in Albuquerque, whether you own one or just know someone who does. And when your friend with the truck comes to help you out with something at Silver Moon Lodge, where will she park? The developer should brainstorm with neighbors to find a workable solution.

The next meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers in the basement of City Hall. Dig through the agenda the preceding Friday at bit.ly/BernCoAgenda.

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  • http://www.oldtownfarm.com Lanny

    That parking problem might spell the end of the downtown growers market in Robinson Park…which is across the street from the proposed development. Some thought needs to be given to on street parking from the development and the impact on Saturday mornings when produce and crafts vendors need to park close in so they can set up stands and haul produce and crafts items into the park.

  • Barbara Grothus

    What about the impact on infrastructure during the 25 or more years of the tax abatement? Downtown, which has already been thrown under the bus by Mayor Berry, is now going to give away tax base to promote this sort of bad plan? As a property owner who saw my taxes double on my rentals in the last few years, I want to know what justification the county has to subject me, with my few units, to compete on unequal footing with these big developers (partners with Berkshire Hathaway) who will pay no taxes on this development for TWENTY-FIVE (or more) YEARS? I thought Warren Buffet didn’t like this kind of inequality.