Neighborhood Association and Neighborhood Coalition Frequently Asked Questions

 Neighborhood Association Recognition Ordinance Neighborhood Processes Neighborhood Legal Processes General Questions

Neighborhood Association Recognition Ordinance (NARO)

The City Council recently updated the Neighborhood Association Recognition Ordinance (NARO). What does that mean for my neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition?

The updated NARO codifies recognition standards for neighborhood associations, and now, neighborhood coalitions. Previously, neighborhood coalitions were not considered recognized. Recognition status means that a neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition is entitled to receive notice of developer permit applications, information about projects and construction happening around the City, and also entitles them to automatic appeal standing under the Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO). To maintain recognized status, neighborhood associations and neighborhood coalitions must do the following:

  • Operate in an open and democratic manner
  • For a neighborhood association - offer membership to any resident, property owner, or business within its boundaries
  • For a neighborhood coalition - offer membership to any neighborhood association, homeowner association, business group, community group, or individual, within its boundaries and send a complete list of all coalition members to the ONC
  • File required paperwork with the ONC
  • Offer membership and voting rights without making payment of dues a requirement
  • Hold at least one meeting per year and use good faith efforts to promote the meeting within their boundaries and to members
  • Conduct fair and open elections

Most neighborhood associations and neighborhood coalitions already operate in this fashion, so there will likely be minimal functional changes. Any neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition who is not sure of what their organization will have to do differently or who have questions about the updated NARO are encouraged to contact the ONC at: [email protected] or by calling (505) 768-3334.

Why do Neighborhood Coalitions have to notify the ONC who their neighborhood association members are immediately, but have 18 months to come into full compliance with the updated NARO?

Pre-existing neighborhood coalitions were “grandfathered in” once the updated NARO took effect. However, since coalition notification is based on membership and since coalitions only receive developer notification per the boundaries of member associations or groups, and not for individual members, the ONC needs the list of coalition members in order to determine correct notification coverage within coalition boundaries. Coalitions can send their membership list at any time, separate from updating paperwork to maintain recognized status. Coalitions who do not send their member lists to the ONC will not receive developer notification until they do so, since the ONC has no way of knowing who is a coalition member. All neighborhood associations and neighborhood coalitions have until Monday, November 27, 2023 to revise their bylaws, to hold an annual meeting and to submit an annual report to the ONC.

Will the ONC take away my association’s or coalition’s recognized status if we have not yet had our bylaws approved?

The ONC does not intend to remove recognition status from any neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition that is working to come into compliance with the updated NARO. We will work with all neighborhood associations and neighborhood groups during the 18-month compliance period and after to ensure recognition status is maintained.

How does my neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition affirm membership if we can’t charge dues?

Affirmation of membership can be done in a variety of ways. Each neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition is encouraged to talk with their board and members to determine which method works best. Affirmation methods can include:

  • Having a statement on your membership form that indicates member signature affirms membership for a specific timeframe
  • Sending an e-mail receipt of membership or providing a paper receipt of membership with wording such as: “member signature affirms membership for one year”
  • Requiring membership for a minimum amount of time to affirm membership
  • Asking for status of neighborhood residency to demonstrate that members live within neighborhood association boundaries

Please remember that dues are voluntary and can still be charged on a volunteer basis, but cannot be used as a prerequisite for membership or voting. Many members will pay voluntary dues or make a member donation to support the association if asked. If your association or coalition has other ideas or methods of affirming membership that are not based on members paying dues, please contact the ONC to discuss further.

Neighborhood Processes

How do I update my association's contact information?

Changes and updates can be made by an officer of the association by e-mailing the ONC at: [email protected]

When are Annual Reports due?

The updated NARO has an 18-month compliance window to accommodate existing neighborhood associations and neighborhood coalition schedules for annual meetings. Once that 18-month compliance period is over, all recognized neighborhood associations and recognized neighborhood coalitions are required to hold an annual meeting and to file an annual report within 60 calendar days of their annual meeting date. The annual meeting date for each neighborhood association and neighborhood coalition should be clearly defined in your bylaws. Annual meetings and annual reports are required as part of recognition status so that associations and coalitions can continue to receive developer notification. Annual reports can be submitted electronically or sent via U.S. Mail.

To e-mail your annual report, send it to: [email protected]. To send via U.S. Mail, send to: Office of Neighborhood Coordination, City Council Department, P.O. Box 1293, Albuquerque, NM 87103.

How do I find out which neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition boundaries I live or have a business within?

You can find out if your place of residence or business is within the boundaries of an existing recognized neighborhood association by contacting the ONC at: [email protected] or by calling (505) 768-3334. We can also get you contact information for your neighborhood association or coalition. You can also run a free address report by visiting the City’s GIS page.

Neighborhood Legal Processes

Can the City provide legal advice to me / my neighborhood association / my neighborhood coalition? 

The City cannot provide legal advice to neighborhood associations, neighborhood coalitions, or to any other organizations or individuals. When trying to determine how to run your neighborhood association or coalition, we recommend that you look to your bylaws, contact a parliamentarian, or contact your own legal counsel. Bylaws are the governing documents for recognized neighborhood associations and coalitions, so it is important to review and update them periodically. The ONC does provide guidance for any individual or group about legal requirements for neighborhood recognition as set forth in the updated NARO, and is legally empowered to enforce the NARO specific to recognition requirements only. Enforcement of bylaws is up to each individual neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition, and not the ONC. If your board is experiencing conflicts with internal members or with other individuals or groups, the ONC can assist you in working with the City’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Office to request a free facilitated meeting between the conflicting parties to try and work toward resolution. If you would like to request a facilitated meeting, e-mail: [email protected].

The President (or other officer) of my Neighborhood Association is showing favoritism to particular members and he/she is being untruthful. Can the City investigate and bring appropriate impeachment proceedings? 

If you have reason to believe an officer of your Neighborhood Association is engaged in misconduct, please refer to your bylaws. The updated NARO establishes requirements for each association or coalition to clearly indicate in its bylaws the process for open and democratic elections and voting. Your board may also want to establish processes for Board member and general member conduct. Your board may also want to speak with a private attorney to determine what remedies you may have if you determine there is misconduct by a member of your board. The City only has enforcement authority of what is specifically required for recognition under the NARO, and cannot implement impeachment proceedings against any neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition.

The Treasurer of my Neighborhood Association refuses to show us bank statements/accounting/financial status, etc. We fear he/she may have embezzled our money. What options do we have? 

If you have reason to believe a crime has been committed, such as theft or embezzlement, contact the Albuquerque Police Department right away. Your board may also want to consider updating your bylaws to have a specific process that allows for a more open and transparent handling of any funds, and that ensures more than one individual has access to bank accounts or financial records.

My neighborhood association board is having internal conflicts with other members / I am having conflicts with a neighbor. Can the City help? 

The ONC will assist you in scheduling a free, voluntary mediation with the City’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) office. The ADR program is open to any resident in the City of Albuquerque and offers effective methods of addressing conflicts between individuals and groups. If you would like to arrange a facilitated meeting or discussion with ADR, please send an e-mail to: [email protected] and our office will help with this process.

Does my neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition have to follow the Open Meetings Act, or are they required to follow Robert’s Rules of Order? 

Neighborhood associations and coalitions do not need to follow the state Open Meetings Act, N.M.S.A. 1978, §§ 10-15-1 et seq., in order to be recognized by the City of Albuquerque. In fact, the Open Meetings Act does not apply to private organizations, even if public officials are attending the meeting. Roberts Rules of Order can provide beneficial structure and transparency when holding meetings and elections, and neighborhood associations and coalitions are encouraged to use Roberts Rules for this purpose, and the ONC encourages your bylaws to state which method you use, so that your board members clearly understand how meetings will be run within your organization.

General Questions

What other services does the ONC provide? 

The ONC provides a wealth of information and services not just to neighborhood associations and coalitions, but to all residents throughout Albuquerque. Many services are directly beneficial to neighborhood associations, which is another incentive for individuals to join their association. These services include:

  • Free weekly online newsletter promoting community events, programs, initiatives and services on the local, county, state, and federal level
  • Slow Down Albuquerque” signs free of charge
  • Free online and in-person trainings to the public on a variety of topics of interest
  • Free Zoom meeting license “check-out” for recognized neighborhood associations and recognized neighborhood coalitions
  • A free lending library of books about urban planning, residential development, parliamentarian procedures, and other topics of interest to neighborhoods and community groups
  • Works directly with all residents and neighborhoods to ensure answers to City-related inquiries are responded to in a timely fashion
  • Provide information about grant programs that can help residents
  • Coordinate free mediation with the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Office for individuals and groups experiencing conflict
  • Provide information and education about the Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan (NTMP) Program on behalf of the Traffic Engineering Division
  • Facilitate direct contact with City departments and staff to assist with citizen issues
  • Coordinate public safety events geared toward connecting residents with neighborhood associations, neighborhood watch programs, community safety groups, and Community Policing Councils
  • Provide a Neighborhood Sign Program to all recognized neighborhood associations citywide
  • Provide free printing of two (2) posters for all recognized neighborhood associations and coalitions promoting National Night Out each August

There is filming going on in my neighborhood and I wasn’t informed about in in advance. What can I do or can the ONC help?

The ONC works closely with the City Film Office to ensure all recognized neighborhood associations are informed about filming happening in neighborhoods across the City. The Film Office is required to notify neighborhoods within 300 feet about filming happening in that vicinity. If you have specific questions about filming happening near your home, visit the Film Office website at: https://www.cabq.gov/film or e-mail the ONC at: [email protected] for more direct contact.

There is road construction happening near my home and I didn’t know about it. Where can I find out about City road projects that will affect me?

The City has numerous neighborhood road projects happening at any given time. You can call 311 or (505) 924-3400 to learn more. Road construction projects are located on an interactive map that is available to anyone. You can see the map and ongoing road projects at: https://www.cabq.gov/municipaldevelopment/maps/traffic-report

How do I locate covenants for my home?

You can contact the Bernalillo County Clerk's Office at (505) 468-1290, visit them at the Bernalillo County Offices at 415 Silver SW, or visit the Bernalillo County Clerk's website