The amendments to the Sawmill Wells Park Sector Plan establish a circulation master plan for a Focus Area within the two neighborhoods. The Focus Area is defined approximately on the north by Interstate 40 (I-40), on the west by Rio Grande Boulevard, on the south by Mountain Road, and on the east by 12th Street, Bellamah Avenue NW, and 8th Street.
This area is called out because of the rapidly changing character of this portion of the Sawmill and Wells Park neighborhoods, undergoing transformation from large tracts of industrial uses to mixed-use development including residences, commercial, retail, cultural, and live-work uses.
The changes taking place in land uses calls for better connections among uses rather than the isolation of uses that is appropriate when residential areas border heavy industries. Better “streetscape” design also is needed to improve access and encourage walking and biking. The “streetscape” is the area generally from private property line to private property line across the public right-of way of a roadway or alley.
There has been some misunderstanding of the proposed amendments because street connectivity and design must be consistent with land uses and hence zoning. As a result, the text of the amendments discusses future land uses.
But the amendments make no changes to land use zoning and related development design standards (except in the limited situation of public buildings).
The amendments do make changes to policies and regulation related to roadway connectivity and design.
The amendments cover such things as:
- the connection, and intentional lack of connection, among streets;
- sidewalk design;
- landscaping within the public right-of-way;
- on-street parking;
- traffic control;
- intersection design;
- pedestrian crossings;
- bicycle and recreational paths and trails;
- design and location of a proposed extension of the Acequia Madre; and
- transit routes and hubs.
The proposed amendments have been reviewed by area stakeholder such as property owners and neighborhood association leaders. They currently are undergoing public hearings at the Environmental Planning Commission. Some concerns have been raised that now are being considered for incorporation into a revision of the amendments.
Sawmill Sector Plan (adopted in 1996, and ammended in 2000 and 2002)