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Santa Fe Governing Body Approves Old Pecos Rezoning

The Santa Fe Governing Body met Saturday in a special meeting to discuss and vote on the Old Pecos Trail rezoning
Kevin Meerschaert
via Zoom
The Santa Fe Governing Body met Saturday in a special meeting to discuss and vote on the Old Pecos Trail rezoning

The Santa Fe Governing Body has approved a controversial and long delayed rezoningof a parcel on Old Pecos Trail. 

The 6-3 vote on Saturday would allow a 25-lot subdivision to be built on about nine and a half acres near Old Pecos and West Zia Road.

There was strong opposition to the rezoning from people living in the area around the proposed site.

The rezoning from one parcel per acre to three parcels was delayed for weeks and included three public hearings as a focal point on the city’s need for more affordable housing while protecting its natural beauty.

Several councilors said new one-acre lot homes in Santa Fe are unrealistic given how much they would cost.    

Councilor Jamie Cassutt who voted in favor of the rezoning says the housing market in Santa Fe has become almost untenable for many families. 

“We cannot stop people from moving here. This is an incredible, beautiful community. There is a reason we all love it so much,” she said. “People come here and they move, they have more money and they can make cash offers, and they push people out. We are losing the diversity that has created the cultural heritage that Santa Fe is today.”            

Councilors Carol Romero-Wirth and Michael Garcia, who represent the district along with Councilor Lee Garcia voted against the rezoning.

Romero-Wirth says it has been a difficult decision. The Old Pecos area was supposed to have an overlay plan that would have long ago set density standards. But it was never done despite being part of the city’s general plan.  

Romero-With says while more affordable housing is needed, this isn’t the place it should be built.

“I think (the natural beauty) is an economic development driver,” she said. “If we just want to build the whole city up and not pay any attention to our historic nature, our open space, the things that make us unique, the things that give us character, I think we are shooting ourselves in the foot.”   

The opponents of the rezoning say they are considering appealing to the district court.

Longtime area resident and retired attorney Bruce Throne told the Santa Fe New Mexican he believes there are very strong procedural due process grounds for an appeal.