Agua Fria Village
The March 7th meeting was busy and the membership requested the following letter to be written:
Agua Fria Village Association
2073 Camino Samuel Montoya
Santa Fe, NM 87507
Land Use Administrator
Land Use Planning Department
Santa Fe County
P.O. Box 276
Santa Fe, N.M. 87504-0276 March 17, 2011
Dear Ms. Miller and Mr. Kolkmeyer:
At the Agua Fria Village Association meeting of March 7, 2011, at which former members of the Agua Fria Development Review Committee and members of the Agua Fria Community Water Association attended, considerable discussion was held about the need to have more oversight on and input into county operations. For example, in recent land use decisions in the Agua Fria Village Traditional Historic Community (THC) boundaries which have been made that haven’t had the appropriate level of neighborhood scrutiny and input (please reference the letter from this organization to you on March 15th on BCC Case # MIS 05-5502).
But the issues go beyond this, and concern almost all facets of County business: the maintenance of the Nancy Rodriquez Community Center, Open Space and Trails, the master planning for Agua Fria Park (now Romero Park), road improvements, water policy, the Sustainable Growth Management Plan, and the Capitol Improvement Projects process.
We want to open up a dialogue on these issues.
First off, let me say that County Commissioner Virginia Vigil and her Administrative Assistant, Rita Maes have worked tirelessly for the benefit of our community for their entire time in office. They have consistently remained approachable and responsive to any issues we bring them. They have advocated for our needs and for funding. On many occasions we utilize them first for complaints or questions instead of going through the Manager’s Office or the respective Department. We appreciate the things they have done for us very much.
Secondly, across many county departments, staff has been both responsive and helpful. This letter is not intended to attack any department or service, but rather to open up a planning process.
This organization wrote to the County Manager and County Commissioners on July 15, 2009 on permission to create a Community Planning Organization (now called a Community Organization or CO) for the Agua Fria Village area. This was admittedly a premature request, but this organization and community have shown great patience and restraint in advocating for county help in starting a CO.
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We don’t want this communication to turn into a blame game, but want to discuss some general issues that have occurred without pointing fingers. We don’t just want to create a list of issues in the Village, but we would rather focus on “the process” than specifics. There are some areas that we as a community need more input in and better accountability to us as taxpayers, such as:
1. Many decisions are made “administratively” by the Land Use Administrator and have no public notice requirements. These decisions have brought to us the second story building on Rumbo Al Sur, the second story apartment of Mr. Sufi Talebraza, the Zane Fischer Agricultural Building and two story tower adjoining it that effectively cut the north view of the Wofford property, the house-moving and building permits for Robert Casados, 4096 Agua Fria Street, which was later denied by the Agua Fria Development Review Committee (AFDRC Case # V 07-5470). We feel that more input by the community sooner, as is described in the Sustainable Growth Management Plan will solve these issues.
2. The non-reappointment of Charlie Gonzales, Village resident, to the County Development Review Committee and the Extraterritorial Planning Authority. The loss of Mr. Gonzales, diminishes Village residents ability to affect public policy.
3. Lack of a Road Advisory Task Force member.
4. The November 3, 2010 letter to County Manager Katherine Miller on Capitol Improvement Project funding losses.
5. The February 27, 2009 email to County Manager Roman Abeyta on County Vehicle abuse.
6. In a meeting with Rita Maes, Jennifer Jaramillo and Joseph Gutierrez on March 11, 2011, we agreed that the Masterplan for the Agua Fria Park (now Romero Park) should be reexamined.
7. Enforcement staff has been very responsive and professional; they do their job well. Then when the issue gets to Court it is dropped. Perhaps residents can help in building better legal cases.
8. I watched a County Commission meeting on Video on Demand where Shelly Cobau was presenting a case in Chimayo for her staff member who was absent. She did an excellent job. The Staff Recommendation for the Family Transfer was a denial and so was the CDRC’s. Based on the plat this was a correct decision. However, there was a matter of where a fence, an arroyo, a road ran; that came up in the testimony by the applicant. None of these were correctly identified on the plat and their significance to the case was not properly explained. Finally, a neighbor got up and testified why the lot was created as it was some forty years previously because of these geographical features, and suddenly the BCC overruled the recommendation and approved the lot split. This situation happened several times when I served on the Agua Fria Development Review Committee because we were from the area and knew the properties or made a site visit.
9. We are working with the Open Space and Trails Program on stewardship for the Santa Fe River Park at San Isidro Crossing and the planning of Burro Lane Park.
10. Jack Kolkmeyer and staff have been very willing to assist in a number of projects. Most recently in an Agua Fria Beautification project. In addition, some minor changes to the Community Plan (adopted in Resolution 2006-116 by the Santa Fe Board of County Commissioners on March 13, 2007---located at website: http://www.santafecounty.org/find/documents/Agua_Fria_Community_Pla...) have been discussed with Robert Griego.
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So there are many issues to discuss.
We participate, as an organization and as individuals whenever we can, in surveys about county performance and efficiency, like with the Transparency Report by the League of Women Voters, etc. We attended the Growth Management Planning meetings. We attend ICIP meetings and any other public meetings we can. We look at the County website and try to stay informed. But having more community-centered approaches to governing make it more responsive to the people. Perhaps our common solution (for the County and the community) is to start the process for creating a Community Organization.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and your willingness in the past to assist us.
William Henry Mee, President AFVA
Katherine Miller, County Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
Jack Kolkmeyer, Land Use Administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org,
County of Santa Fe
Honorable Virginia Vigil, County Commission, Chairperson, District 2 email@example.com,