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Santa Fe Rejects Richards Road Land Deal

Kevin Meerschaert
The city of Santa Fe has rejected a deal purchasing about 23 acres from the NM Department of Game and Fish for projects including the extension of Richards Ave.

The Santa Fe Governing Body has rejected a deal with the state to purchase land for an extension of Richards Road.

The city voted Monday night in a special meeting to terminate the agreement to purchase 23 acres owned by the Department of Game and Fish.

The value of the land was the dealbreaker.  In October, the city entered in an agreement to purchase the land at 1015 Richards Rd for $3 million, but a city appraisal listed the property as being worth less than half that at $1.4 million.

Both parties agreed to a third-party review which came up with a value of $2.1 million.

On Friday the State Gaming Commission rejected the city’s offer and put the property back on the market.

City Public Works Director Regina Wheeler told the Mayor and Councilors they fully intend to pursue the Richard Rd. expansion.

“It is our normal process to acquire right-of-way after the road is designed and we know exactly what land we need. It’s very unusual to have an opportunity like this where we might have purchased the land well in advance of completing the design,” she said. “We will fully move forward with the project and identify exact right-of-way needs and then pursue right-of-way acquisition as our normal process after design is complete.”        

The city was considering using the state land for the road along with affordable housing and a community center.

There has been some controversy regarding the extension as many homeowners in the area say they worry about the likely sharp increase in traffic through their neighborhood.            

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.
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