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Safe Outdoor Spaces FAQs

A Safe Outdoor Space (SOS) provides dedicated spaces for tents, recreational vehicles (RVs), and/or light vehicles for temporary occupancy. An SOS also provides social services and support facilities for occupants.

Here are Frequently Asked Questions about Safe Outdoor Spaces (SOS):

More FAQs are available here:

When can I apply for an SOS?

 

Where can an SOS operate that is not associated with a Religious Institution?

  • Find the proposed location's IDO Zone District: IDO Zone Look-up Map
    • An SOS is a conditional use in the MX-T, MX-L, MX-M, and MX-H zone districts.
      • A Conditional Use requires approval from the Zoning Hearing Examiner after a public hearing to consider the request.
      • Find more information about applying for a Conditional Use here.
    • An SOS is permissive in the NR-C, NR-BP, NR-LM, and NR-GM zone districts.
  • An SOS is prohibited adjacent to Major Public Open Space.
  • The portion of a lot used for an SOS must be at least 330 feet from any property zoned R-A, R-1, R-MC, or R-T that contains low-density residential development (e.g. single-family house, duplex, or townhouse).

 

Where can a Religious Institution operate an SOS?

  • Find the proposed location's IDO Zone District: IDO Zone Look-up Map
    • If you are a Religious Institution, you may have an SOS in any zone district that allows Religious Institutions (R-A, R-1, R-T, R-ML, R-MH, all MX zones, NR-C, NR-BP).
  • An SOS is prohibited adjacent to Major Public Open Space.

 

How can I apply for an SOS?

  • First, you will need to get an Operations Plan / Management Plan / Security Agreement reviewed and signed by City of Albuquerque Family & Community Services Department.
    • Email Elizabeth Holguin, Deputy Director, Homeless Solutions and Clinical Advisor: [email protected]
  • If you are not a Religious Institution, and you are proposing an SOS in a Mixed-use zone district (MX-T, MX-L, MX-M, MX-H), you will need a conditional use approval before you can apply for a Temporary Use Permit.
    • Find more information about applying for a Conditional Use here.
  • Next, you will need to send public notice as required by IDO Table 6-1-1.
    • Religious Institutions must send notice for a Site Plan - Administrative.
    • Other applicants must send notice for a Permit - Temporary Use.
    • See more information and required public notice forms here.
  • Then click the button below to apply for a Safe Outdoor Space.

Magnifying glass icon Application for a Safe Outdoor Space 

 

What documents will I need to apply for an SOS?

  • If you are not a Religious Institution, you will need to upload the following documents:

    • Operations Plan / Management Plan / Security Agreement that has been reviewed and signed by the City of Albuquerque Family & Community Services Department.
      • See above for contact information.
    • If the proposed SOS is on a property with a Mixed-use zone, a Notice of Decision for a Conditional Use Approval.
      • Click here for more information.
      • Note: If the Conditional Use Approval is appealed, the Planning Department will not be able to approve the SOS application until the appeal has been decided by the City Council.
    • Written permission from the property owner, if different from applicant, for the temporary use for the requested duration, number of designated spaces, and total occupants.
    • Proof of written notification to abutting property owners of the temporary use for the requested duration, number of designated spaces, and total occupants.
      • Click here to download the required form.
    • Zone Atlas page clearly indicating the proposed SOS property.
      • Click here for the zone atlas map where you can download a PDF of your zone atlas page.
    • A vicinity map showing surrounding properties and their respective zoning.
    • A scaled site plan.
  • If you are a Religious Institution, you will need to upload the following documents:

    • Operations Plan / Management Plan / Security Agreement that has been reviewed and signed by the City of Albuquerque Family & Community Services Department.
      • See above for contact information.
    • Written permission from the property owner, if different from applicant, for the SOS, including the requested duration, number of designated spaces, and total occupants.
    • Proof of email notice to Neighborhood Association representatives of an application for a Site Plan - Administrative as required by IDO Subsection 14-16-6-4(K)(5), including information about the requested duration, number of designated spaces, and total occupants of the SOS.
      • Click here to download the required forms.
    • A Zone Atlas page clearly indicating the proposed SOS property.
      • Click here for the zone atlas map where you can download a PDF of your zone atlas page.
    • A vicinity map showing surrounding properties and their respective zoning.
    • A scaled site plan.

 

What regulations do I need to be aware of?

  • If you are not a Religious Institution, you must meet all the use-specific standards in IDO Subsection 14-16-4-3(G)(8), including, but not limited to, the following:

    • IDO Subsection 14-16-4-3(G)(8)(c): Safe outdoor spaces with more than 10 designated spaces and 15 or more occupants are prohibited within 660 feet in any direction of a lot containing any other safe outdoor space with more than
    • 10 designated spaces and 15 or more occupants.
    • IDO Subsection 14-16-4-3(G)(8)(d): Any portion of a lot in use as a safe outdoor space shall be at least 330 feet in any direction from any property zoned R-A, R-1, R-MC, or R-T that contains low-density residential development
    • IDO Subsection 14-16-4-3(G)(8)(f): Designated spaces, toilets, hand washing stations, and lavatories (i.e. facilities with toilets, showers, and sinks) shall be set back a minimum of 20 feet from each property line that abuts R-ML, R-MH or any Mixed-Use zone district and a minimum of 5 feet from any other property line
    • IDO Subsection 14-16-4-3(G)(8)(j): This use is prohibited adjacent to Major Public Open Space
    • IDO Subsection 14-16-4-3(G)(8)(k): The total number of safe outdoor spaces shall not exceed 2 in each City Council District.
  • If you are a Religious Institution, you must meet all the use-specific standards in IDO Subsection 14-16-4-3(G)(8), as noted above, EXCEPT the following:

 

I am in a Mixed-use zone district; how can I apply for a Conditional Use?

 

How are distances to be measured and shown on the vicinity map and site plan?

For the vicinity map showing surrounding properties and their respective zoning, please show:

  • The straight-line distance in feet from the proposed SOS property line to the property line of the nearest SOS (if known).
  • The straight-line distance in feet from the proposed SOS property line to the property line of the nearest property zoned R-A, R-1, R-MC, or R-T.
    • Religious Institutions are exempt from this requirement.
  • The straight-line distance from proposed spaces, toilets, hand washing stations, and lavatories to the nearest property line of any property zoned R-ML, R-MH, or any MX zone district.

 

On your scaled site plan, please indicate all of the following:

  • Number and location of proposed designated spaces
  • Number and location of proposed water-flush, portable, or composting toilets
  • Number and location of proposed hand washing stations
  • Number and location of proposed showers
  • Location and dimensions of screening wall if designated spaces for tents are proposed