Councilor Dan Lewis is pleased to present the draft Sector Development Plan (SDP) for Volcano Heights in the Volcano Mesa area. The area consists of approximately 570 acres, located along the volcanic Escarpment of the City's Northwest Mesa.
Mikaela Renz-Whitmore, 505-924-3932, Long Range Planning
Sara Mancini, 505-768-3189, City Council Services
City Councilor Dan Lewis is pleased to sponsor the effort to adopt the Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan (SDP) in the Volcano Mesa area, near the volcanic escarpment of the City's Northwest Mesa. Volcano Heights includes approximately 570 acres surrounding the intersection of Paseo del Norte and Unser Boulevard. The Plan envisions a mixed-use, walkable environment for existing and future residents and visitors as part of a larger strategy to reduce traffic congestion on the West Side and on the limited river crossings now and in the future.
NOTE: If you are not already on the email distribution list to receive notices about this project, including updates to this webpage, please send your preferred email address to Mikaela Renz-Whitmore.
Update as of 5/8/13
ADOPTION PROCESS STATUS: The Land Use, Planning, and Zoning Committee (LUPZ) voted unanimously to recommend approval of the Volcano Heights SDP (Bill Number R-13-132) to the full City Council at the Plan’s second hearing before LUPZ on April 10, 2013.
The Plan will now be heard by full Council as the final step in the adoption process on June 3, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. in the Vincent E. Griego Council Chambers, basement level of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center, One Civic Plaza. The public is encouraged to attend. The Council is expected to take final action on the Plan.
If you would like to submit written comments on the VHSDP (R-13-132) to the Land Use, Planning, and Zoning Committee, please send them by Thursday, May 30, 2013 to:
Crystal Ortega, Clerk of the Council, firstname.lastname@example.org
Albuquerque City Council,
P.O. Box 1293,
Albuquerque, NM, 87103
DRAFT STATUS: A redline draft of the VHSDP prepared for the second LUPZ hearing is available via the link below. Conditions of approval from the Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) appear in red, and the numbers in brackets correspond with the condition as it appears in the official Notice of Decision (available via the link in the EPC Draft Plan section below). Changes in blue indicate new recommendations from staff.
- Volcano Heights SDP – LUPZ redline draft [PDF]
- Volcano Heights SDP Appendix – LUPZ redline draft [PDF]
- For information about the content of the Volcano Heights SDP, contact: Mikaela Renz-Whitmore, Planning Department, 505-924-3932.
- For information about the Council schedule and review process, contact: Crystal Ortega, Clerk of the Council, 505-768-3107.
- Please see “Opportunities for Review and Comment” below for instructions on how to provide feedback. Full adoption is expected by Summer 2013.
ACCESS MODIFICATION STATUS: The Roadway Access Committee (RAC) met on May 6, 2013 to consider the City’s access request on its technical merits. The RAC has requested further analysis, which the City will provide for a second RAC meeting on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 2 p.m. An ad hoc subcommittee of the Transportation Coordinating Committee (TCC) met on May 7, 2013 to consider the request from a policy perspective looking at the regional transportation network. The TCC ad hoc subcommittee will generate a list of questions to which the City will respond at a second meeting, still to be scheduled but likely either Thursday, May 30 or Monday, June 3 at 1:30 p.m. The Mid Region Council of Governments staff will provide its professional recommendation prior to the second TCC ad hoc subcommittee meeting. The full TCC will consider recommendations from these three sources at its monthly meeting in June or July. The TCC meets the first Friday of each month at 1:30 p.m. The TCC is expected to forward a recommendation to the Metropolitan Transportation Board (MTB) regarding a draft resolution to grant the requested access. The MTB meets June 21 and July 19 at 10 a.m. All of these meetings take place in the Board Room at the Mid-Region Council of Governments. On April 18, 2013, the City submitted an official request to modify access on Paseo del Norte and Unser Boulevard within the Plan boundary. This official letter follows a presentation that City staff made on March 1, 2013 to the TCC. For information about attending these meetings or providing comments, please contact Steven Montiel, 505-724-3633.
- CABQ-Official Access Request: April 18, 2013
- CABQ-Presentation to RAC: May 6, 2013
- CABQ-Presentation to TCC ad-hoc subcommittee: May 7, 2013
WATER/WASTEWATER STATUS: The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) is reviewing a 2012 draft Northwest Service Area Integrated Infrastructure Plan for an area that includes Volcano Heights, which identifies the size of water transmission trunk lines, storage capacity, water treatment, and fire storage necessary to support development. It’s expected to be adopted by the ABCWUA by June/July 2013. The Planning Department submitted a Serviceability Request on March 14, 2013. For more information, or to review the draft water infrastructure plan, please contact Allan Porter, 505-924-3989, or Jeremy Hoover, 505-924-3988.
DRAINAGE PLAN STATUS: the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA) has approved the creation of a Drainage Management Plan (DMP) for Volcano Heights and selected Wilson & Co as the engineering consultant. A draft DMP is expected in 9-12 months and will identify the major drainage infrastructure needed in Volcano Heights, recommend a construction plan and schedule, and work through a mechanism with property owners to finance the infrastructure. All public and private stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the process. Please contact Brad Bingham, 505-884-2215, for more information.
Opportunities for Review and Comment
Your support of this Plan throughout the adoption process will be vital to ensuring that this area develops in a way that respects the existing development that surrounds it, the rock outcroppings throughout the Plan area, and the Petroglyph National Monument to the east, while providing an opportunity for area jobs, retail, and services that can help traffic congestion on river crossings over time.
The public is encouraged to attend upcoming meetings and hearings to share comments about the Plan. Written comments may also be submitted in by mail until May 30, 2013 at 5 p.m.
- US Mail: Crystal Ortega, Clerk of the Council, City of Albuquerque City Council, P.O. Box 1293, Albuquerque, NM 87103
- Email: Crystal Ortega
Public Involvement Process
Your input is very important to the success and workability of this Plan. The project team is available for individual meetings, although comments should be provided in writing since the Plan is now in the official adoption process (please see Opportunities for Review and Comment below).
As a final adoption step, the Volcano Heights SDP is scheduled to be heard by the full City Council on June 3, 2013 (see details above). Plans typically receive one to two hearings, depending on the number and nature of outstanding concerns. Staff expects the Volcano Heights SDP to receive final action in June 2013.
The Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee (LUPZ) heard the Plan on February 7 and April 10, 2013 and voted unanimously to recommend approval to the City Council.
The Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) held the first hearing of the Volcano Heights SDP on October 4, 2012 and the second hearing on December 6, 2012, where the EPC voted unanimously to recommend approval of the Plan to the City Council. The staff report, public comments, and staff responses can be downloaded via this link.
The EPC draft below is provided as a whole and also in segments to be easily downloadable.
- Volcano Heights SDP - EPC Draft August 2012 - complete draft document
- Volcano Heights SDP Appendix - EPC Draft August 2012
- Volcano Heights SDP - EPC Draft August 2012 - complete draft in segments
- VHSDP Cover and Table of Contents
- Section 1: VHSDP Introduction
- Section 2: Applicability
- Section 3: Administration
- Section 4: Streets
- Section 5: Zoning
- Section 6: Site Development & Building Design Specific to Zones
- Section 7 : General Site Development Standards
- Section 8: General Building Design
- Section 9: Signs
- Section 10: Open Space
- Sections 11 - 13 Goals, Policies and Implementation
As part of a larger strategy to address the imbalance of jobs and housing on the City’s East and West Sides, the Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan (SDP) provides opportunities for employment, regional retail, and higher-density housing options surrounding two of the most vital regional arterials on the West Side.
The Plan is intended to guide long-term development and stimulate job growth on the West Side by offering alternative zoning to the existing straight residential zoning. The Plan includes incentives to attract employment and urban development and regulations to provide predictability of high-quality development across property lines, along corridors, and over time. A streamlined approval process for development projects is proposed to provide predictability and flexibility to meet market needs quickly. Strong design regulations are needed to ensure high-quality development for potential employers, existing and future residents, and surrounding property owners. As property owners are well aware, infrastructure is the key to success as well as the biggest challenge.
The Plan is intended to:
- Foster a predictable, high-quality, urban, walkable environment that can support multiple modes of transportation, including transit, over time.
- Articulate, promote, and safeguard community and stakeholder desires for the form and mass of buildings in relation to one another, and the scale and type of streets and blocks.
- Enable an enforceable, streamlined development process.
- Result in feasible development in the current and predicted future markets.
- Be enforceable and implementable.
- Provide appropriate and effective transitions, buffers, and other measures to protect existing neighborhoods and sensitive lands from the more negative impacts of urban development.
The planning themes expressed in the Plan include:
- Providing flexibility to respond to market conditions through mixed uses allowed in all proposed zones;
- Providing predictability for property owners, developers, and nearby residents through detailed design standards to help ensure quality development across property lines, along corridors, and over time;
- Creating opportunities for employment and local and regional retail and services on the City’s West Side as part of a strategy to reduce traffic congestion on river crossings over time;
- Coordinating land use and transportation closely in order to create an urban built environment that supports existing and future residents and new businesses and works well for all modes of transportation, including autos, pedestrians, cyclists, and transit; and
- Balancing the density and intensity of land uses needed for a walkable, urban employment center with responsible protections for the unique landscape and sensitive lands next to the Petroglyph National Monument east of the Plan area as well as existing single-family neighborhoods north and south of the Plan area.
Volcano Heights is one of three sector development plans within the area referred to as Volcano Mesa. Each plan contains goals, policies, and regulations that address land use, transportation, and environment/open space.
- The Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan surrounds the intersection of Paseo del Norte and Unser Boulevard, between Universe Boulevard on the west and the Petroglyph National Monument on the east.
- The Volcano Trails Sector Development Plan (adopted in August 2011) is west of Volcano Heights.
- The Volcano Cliffs Sector Development Plan (adopted in May 2011) is south of Volcano Heights and Volcano Trails, bordered by the Petroglyph National Monument to the east and Major Public Open Space owned by the City of Albuquerque to the west.
- Volcano Mesa Map - THREE PLAN AREAS [1475KB]
Volcano Heights is approximately 570 acres surrounding the intersection of Paseo del Norte and Unser Boulevard, bounded on the east by the Petroglyph National Monument. The existing pattern of predominantly housing on the West Side served by few arterial roads contributes to traffic congestion in peak commuting hours, particularly on the region’s limited river crossings, which is expected to result in up to 90-minute commutes to employment centers east of the river by 2035. In order to help provide more balance of jobs and housing on the West Side, the Plan provides opportunities for employment, regional retail, and higher-density housing options surrounding Paseo del Norte and Unser Boulevard. The Plan also proposes a mandatory street grid that would help disperse regional traffic and serve local development, including a transit boulevard that could accommodate high-capacity transit in the future. While this Plan is not a solution in itself, this planning effort represents a new level of commitment to coordinating land-use with local and regional transportation for all modes of travel, including pedestrian, bicycle, and transit.
In addition to traffic congestion, the Plan also attempts to address the challenge of coordinating future development despite a checkerboard ownership pattern. As the City believes this area may develop in pieces over the next 25 years, the Plan contains details at the level of a master development plan. To ensure predictability across property lines, along corridors, and over time, the Plan calls for mandatory streets that must be provided to ensure access for all properties; provides options for non-mandatory roads to serve local development; and requires detailed standards for cross sections, building placement, and architectural design.
Finally, the Plan attempts to balance the kind of density needed to support transit, walking, and cycling as well as a major employment and retail center with protections for rock outcroppings and sensitive lands needed to honor and respect the unique landscape and cultural history of this area. In addition to requirements for open space, the Plan includes an innovative, optional bonus height system that allows additional building height in certain zones in exchange for benefits to both the natural and built environments.