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District 2 Newsletter

March 3, 2017 Newsletter from City Councilor Isaac Benton

Hello Neighbors,

The next City Council meeting is Monday, April 3 at 5 pm in the Vincent Griego Chambers, basement level of City Hall: Agenda.

The updated Comprehensive Plan was passed on a 6-2 vote at the last Council meeting. Although some community members asked for a long delay and essentially a re-start to the entire public process, many other constituents want new planning efforts for their neighborhoods, some of which are stuck with outdated 1950s zoning, or sector plans from the 1980s. The Comp Plan provides the policies that need to be in place to do that. I sincerely believe that the new plan has received much attention and it is time to enact it and move on.

As with all land use plans the Comp Plan can always be “tweaked” over time. It contains much stronger policies for neighborhood protection including cultural, historic and environmental considerations.

We were also successful in gaining approval of several important amendments. These include making a priority in the community planning process of the most threatened and disinvested historic neighborhoods, recognition of flooding as a consideration in community health assessments, and calling for reconsideration of the Downtown boundary to protect the existing lower-scale patterns on its Western edge. Another amendment provides guidance for a more robust and culturally sensitive community engagement process.

The Comp Plan will guide the implementation of a new Integrated Development (zoning) Ordinance. I encourage you to stay informed and involved in that effort (https://www.abc-zone.com/), the draft of which will have its first hearing at the Environmental Planning Commission on Thursday, April 6 and Monday April 10, 1:00 – 8:00 pm in the City Council Chambers. After the EPC weighs in, the Council will take it on, with multiple opportunities for public comment.

Legislation of Interest

  • North 4'th Street Corridor Zoning R-17-160 (Benton) passed at the March 20 Council meeting and has been sent to the Mayor. This is a limited moratorium on construction under the mixed-use zone provision of the North 4'th Street Corridor Plan. The moratorium would temporarily prohibit the City from acting on any change to existing zoning or act upon any building permits under the North Fourth Mixed Use District (NFMXD) provisions of the Corridor Plan unless the project complies with interim design guidelines. This is in response to community concerns that recent developments on 4'th Street built under the NFMXD standards may not provide enough direction with regard to building appearance and streetfront amenities.
  • Study for Consolidation of Public Safety Services R-16-142 (Lewis, Sanchez, Benton) also passed at the last meeting. I regularly hear from constituents about the inefficiency of having separate law enforcement, fire and rescue services in the city and the county. I and the co-sponsors discussed this with the respective departments and this next step is a formal study.

Upcoming Events

Community Announcements/Resources

Project Updates

  • Project List
  • Rio Grande Boulevard Complete Street Concept Plan (south of I-40): The final report has been completed and is available online. We are planning another public meeting in June to present the recommendations. Stay tuned for details!
  • Alameda Drain and Trail Master Plan: I secured funding in the capital budget (GO bonds) for design and engineering of the first phase (within the city) of this project. GO bond questions will be on the ballot in October’s municipal election. The City is also pursuing federal funding.
  • 'Coronado Skate Park: I also secured funding in the capital budget for design and engineering of renovation and expansion of the Coronado Skate Park.
  • 'Rio Grande Boulevard/Rose Avenue Intersection & Bicycle Improvements: We have finally received approval for use of state grant funds for this project. I will be contributing additional District 2 set-aside funds for improved bike lanes north to approximately Matthew Avenue where the Rio Grande Boulevard Pilot Project was striped last fall.
  • 14'th & Lomas Bike Blvd Crossing: I’ve used District 2 set-asides to fund the design of this project, identified in the Downtown Neighborhoods Area Traffic Study.
  • Downtown Walkability: We continue to make progress in implementing the recommendations of this study. New striping plans for Lead and Coal Avenues between 2'nd and 8'th Streets are currently being designed. Bike lanes will be placed between a parking lane and the curb.
  • 'Kirtland Park/Thomas Bell Community Center Dog Park: I am using District 2 set-aside funds to supplement state funding received for this project in 2015. Design is complete and construction is fully funded. Stay tuned for more details about a timeline!

Sincerely,
Isaac Benton
City Councilor, District 2