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Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan

Read the latest update for the Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan.


By order of State District Court on December 18, 2008, the City of Albuquerque's adoption of Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan was reversed and remanded back to the City of Albuquerque for further proceedings.  After much deliberation, the 2006 Plan area was sub-divided into three smaller sector development plans: Volcano Trails (adopted 2011), Volcano Cliffs (adopted 2011) and Volcano Heights (adopted 2013).


This legislation, Bill No. R-06-86 (Enactment No. R-2006-090), adopted the Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan (see text below) as a Rank 3 Sector Plan; amended the Zone map to conform to the zoning and design regulations contained in the Plan; provided a work plan for amending other related plans such as for roadways, transit, and trails; and so on.

Sector Development Plan

The Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan contains two main sections: Planning Framework and Plan Elements. You can read, download, and print the Sector Plan by clicking on each of its parts below.

Section 1. Planning Framework.

Section 2. Plan Elements.

The Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan is a regulatory document that addresses transportation systems, street design, and transit; land use and zoning; urban design; architectural and landscape design standards; the open space network; and financing and implementation.

The Volcano Heights plan area includes more than 3,500 acres of largely vacant land.  It is situated above the Volcanic Escarpment, which forms its eastern border.  The Petroglyph National Monument and City Open Space are the plan area’s western and southern edges, and<span="lang"> Paseo del Norte is, approximately, its north side.

The Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan was based on preliminary planning work involving property owners and other stakeholders conducted in 2005.  The Volcano Heights Planning Study Report resulted from these efforts.

The Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan contains solutions to the problems and needs identified by the Volcano Heights Planning Study: jobs/housing imbalances caused by potential build-out with single-family subdivisions; anticipated traffic congestion and burden on West Side transportation systems; need for transit-supportive densities and design; benefits of consolidation and connection of open space and trails along drainage channels; retention of exceptional views; and others.

The goals of the Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan include fostering community within more sustainable development benefiting property owners, West Side residents and the larger community.

Powerpoint Summary. The Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan is reviewed in the Powerpoint Summary PDF converted PowerPoint presentation. This presentation connects the elements of the Sector Plan to adopted City land use policies as contained in the Comprehensive Plan, the West Side Stategic Plan, and the North West Mesa Escarpment Plan.

Staff Report to Environmental Planning Commission

This document is the Staff Report to the Environmental Planning Commission regarding the Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan. The eighty-nine page report identifies the many already adopted City policies as contained in the Comprehensive Plan, the West Side Strategic Plan, the North West Mesa Escarpment Plan, and so on, that provide the framework for the Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan.  It describes the ways that elements of the Volcano Heights Development Plan conform to these policies.   The Staff Report includes comments received from agencies and City Departments that are responsible for the natural, cultural, and infrastructure “landscape” of the Volcano Heights region and staff responses to these comments.

Response to Protests Related to Draft Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan

The Planning Team responded in writing to submitted comments, protests, and recommendations for change to the draft Sector Development Plan. This response is contacted in the attachment below.

Amendments to the Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan Legislation

The Planning Team held many meetings with property owners, agencies at various levels of government including the Albuquerque Public Schools, and with the Environmental Planning Commission.  As a result, a number of suggestions and concerns were incorporated into amendments to the Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan.  As with other planning efforts, changes and refinements to these materials are on-going. The amendments have been made part of the final version of the Plan provided above.

Volcano Heights Planning Study

Preliminary planning work leading to the Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan (above) was conducted as part of the Volcano Heights Planning Study during 2004 and 2005.

The study covers the area between the Petroglyph National Monument and the open space around the volcanoes on the west side of Albuquerque . In requesting the study, the City Council found that "The Volcanic Escarpment of the Northwest Mesa has long been considered a unique landscape that requires special protection." The area encompasses an area of multiple ownership platted in the 1960s.

Given the development pressures the area is now experiencing, a plan guiding development in the area was long overdue. This planning study was the first step, providing a foundation and guidance on further detailed plans and an implementation program.

Workshop Results and Vision

Public Input January 27-29, 2005

Approximately 150 property owners and community members attended a 3-day charrette and workshop.

Participants supported creating a development character that is different than the rest of Albuquerque, that provides more choice in housing types, creates walkable communities, and offers a connected network of open space and trails. By focusing on comprehensive planning and quality design, participants saw that economic value, resource conservation, and broad city-wide benefits can be realized simultaneously.

Vision from the Workshops

  • A consolidated, connected open space network

  • Gradual transitions between open space and development

  • A transit network linked to town and village centers, employment destinations and the rest of the transit system

  • A transportation network that integrates limited access arterials with desired pedestrian-oriented land uses

  • A town center at the intersection of paseo del norte and unser that develops in a new urban way with mixed-uses, pedestrian-orientation scale and active street frontages

  • Village centers for residents to walk to that combine daily shopping, neighborhood services, schools, community centers, and other civic uses

  • A greater variety of housing that includes townhomes, condos, live/ work units as well as suburban subdivisions

  • Executive quality rural estates located on the western portion

  • Elementary schools that students can safely walk to without crossing busy streets