Agua Fria Village
Although the Sustainable Land Development Plan routinely mentions the
preservation of traditional communities there is really no detail as to how
this is done. The very survival of
“Traditional Communities” is in jeopardy, now. After existing over three hundred years,
development pressures effectively can dismantle the ability of a community to
retain its identity and independence.
Property taxes threaten to drive existing people out by making their
homes and vacant lots unaffordable; competition for traditional water sources
is also a community killer. There may be
a need for buffer zones of “no-growth” around traditional communities in order
to realistically protect them.
There is a need to better understand traditional communities and rural areas and the slow
steady growth they have as each generation comes of age, and wants to “do their
own thing.” This type of growth is
different than a classic subdivision where in five years every lot is built on as
two or three phases are approved and no new houses are built; so no unplanned
infrastructure capacity can occur. In
traditional communities and rural areas, they may never stop growing in any
given area. In fact, many have been
doing this for over three hundred years.
By the mechanism of ‘family transfer’ in the Land Use Code more lots are
developed but larger public sewer and water lines are not planned for
(capacity). In order to address this
problem, we need to reserve 100 years of County infrastructure planning in the Sustainable
Land Development Plan (i.e., water rights say through water banking) to
accommodate this growth before we promise it to developers in the next 15-20
years through “development agreements” recommended in the Code and Plan.
The ‘wet water’ belonging to the County of Santa Fe (1,700 acre feet) in the Buckman Direct
Diversion project (and water rights which are being obtained to access this
water) should have a percentage held out for traditional communities; perhaps
as low as 25% (or 425 acre feet).
Our comments, input and suggestions for “Water Management” are being drafted by our
“Water Resources Committee” and will be forwarded separately (portions have
previously been submitted in response to the Code). But basically, the fact that the Plan makes
development dependent on the ‘importation’ of water is totally unsustainable
and destructive; development should be more dependent on the amount of water
available ‘on site’, ground water and rain water, and not much else. So when considering the amount of water
available it should be proportionally apportioned not just to people but also
to the native flora and fauna of the specific ecosystem or bioregion,
including the portions needed for man-made natural environments like
landscaping, agriculture and ranching.
What we would also like to see is a sort of infill policy and utilizing the funds in
the County’s Affordable Housing Ordinance fund (some seven million dollars),
Traditional Communities like Agua Fria Village could purchase the land from
potential developers, like the already approved but not developed Tavelli
Property, and hold it and then develop it themselves for village couples
starting off in life. Especially, involving
those families which have no more land available for family transfer to the
To summarize, UCSFC stands ready to work side-by-side with the County in revising the Plan and in better understanding our input.