District Court Case Dismissed

On Dec. 1, 2023, the Judge Barela-Shepherd dismissed the case filed in June 2022 indicating that the City’s administrative process needs to be completed before the action is taken at the District Court level. This means that the remand hearing for the site plan approval will move forward before an “independent hearing officer.” The subsequent City administrative appeal process steps need to be completed before a District Court case is filed regarding this matter.

District Court Filing

A Complaint for Declaratory Judgment was filed in District Court on June 23, 2022 by neighbors. The Complaint is seeking resolution to questions of law that arise from the March 21, 2022 City Council decision to remand the site plan application to an independent hearing officer.

City Council “Accept or Reject” Hearing for LUHO Decision – Monday, March 21 – 5:00 p.m.

The neighborhood appeal of the Dec. 3 DRB hearing for the Alameda/Barstow project is on the agenda of the Monday, March 21, 2022 City Council meeting, which starts at 5:00 pm.

From the hearing notice: The City Council will be voting to either “Accept” or “Reject” the Land Use Hearing Officer’s recommended Decision, therefore, public testimony is not taken at this time. Should the City Council reject the Land Use Hearing Officer’s recommended Decision, the appeal will then be scheduled for a full hearing before the City Council at a date no earlier than the next regular meeting of the full Council.

Link for full hearing notice: https://alamedabarstow.info/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Notice-of-Hearing-AC-22-1.pdf

Link for more information about the City Council meeting: https://cabq.legistar.com/DepartmentDetail.aspx?ID=20551&GUID=C5D673BA-DBC2-45D1-AC03-8A6E3CE2B987

LUHO Decision Issued

In his decision following the Feb. 24 appeal hearing, the Land Use Hearing Officer made a recommendation to City Council that the case be remanded back to the DRB for a re-hearing to correct issues or that City Council consider appointing an independent hearing officer for the case.

The decision by City Council to “Accept or Reject” the LUHO’s recommendation is expected to be on the agenda for the March 21 City Council meeting.

The full LUHO decision is available at the following link: https://alamedabarstow.info/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/AC-22-1-LUHO-Recommedation-to-City-Council-March-3-2022.pdf

Appeal Filed

An appeal of the Dec 3. DRB legal remand hearing decision has been filed on behalf of appellant group comprised of ~67 neighbors, 4 neighborhood associations and 1 church. This appeal is the first step of the administrative process defined by City. The appeal will be heard by Land Use Hearing Officer (LUHO).

DRB Approves Site-Plan for 3-Story, 93-Unit Apartment Complex at Alameda and Barstow

The court-ordered remand hearing for application PR-2019-002496 site plan approval was held by a specially constituted Development Review Board (DRB) on December 3, 2021 by Zoom call.

A summary of the hearing ran in this story on Channel 13. https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/neighbors-continue-to-fight-apartment-complex-in-northeast-albuquerque/

Though speakers were sworn-in, cross-examination was allowed and a City attorney was a participant in the meeting, the DRB acted solely as a technical review body and approved the site plan application technical specifications. The DRB members indicated little to no awareness of the details of the judge’s order or neighborhood concerns.

In advance of the hearing, neighborhood concerns were strongly represented. Over 40 documents were submitted by objecting neighbors, neighborhood associations and a nearby church. A 19-page legal letter with over 100 pages of supporting exhibits was submitted in mid-November by the attorney representing the neighborhood, Hess Yntema. https://alamedabarstow.info/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Neighborhood-Legal-Letter-to-DRB-11-18-2021.pdf.

During the hearing, neighborhood objections and detailed points of issue were also carefully explained by concerned neighbors in the public comment period and by Mr. Yntema.

It was learned in the hearing that the previously designated chair had been replaced, that DRB had made determinations in advance, and that the DRB had provided their comments for the meeting to the developer’s team the night before the meeting. The DRB held to the position that neighborhood edge protections do not apply to adjacent homes zoned R1-B by essentially granting the developer vested rights as of date of application submission, June 17, 2019, despite legal precedent in the state of NM that vested rights do not apply upon application submission. The need for a traffic study was rejected based upon technical manual reference points.

A sustained legal effort will now be required to protect the neighborhood.

If you would like to help prevent the destruction of the neighborhood around Alameda and Barstow, please support this effort by donating to the legal fund. https://alamedabarstow.info/home/donate/