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June 24, 2015: BernCo Commission Approves Approves Development Agreement for Santolina Master Plan

The Bernalillo County Commission on June 24 approved the development agreement between Western Albuquerque Land Holdings and the county which impacts the Santolina Master Plan.

The development agreement passed on a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Art De La Cruz, Wayne Johnson and Lonnie Talbert voted in favor. Commissioners Maggie Hart Stebbins and Debbie O’Malley voted against.

On June 16, the commission passed the Santolina Master Plan.

While the master plan provides a general framework for development, the development agreement provides details on the responsibilities of both the county and the developer.


June 16, 2015: BernCo Commission Approves Santolina Master Plan; Master Development Agreement Hearing Continued to June 24

At the June 16, 2015 hearing, the Bernalillo County Commission approve the Santolina Master Plan as amended.

The commission also approved a zoning change for the property from generally rural agricultural to a planned community zone.

Both measures passed on a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Art De La Cruz, Wayne Johnson and Lonnie Talbert voted in favor. Commissioners Maggie Hart Stebbins and Debbie O’Malley voted against.

The commission also heard public comment on a proposed master development agreement between the county and the developer. No vote was taken on the master development agreement. That portion of the hearing has been continued to June 24 at 1:30 p.m.  NOTE: No additional public comment will be accepted at this meeting.     

The action on June 16, 2015 is the first step of a three-step process before development can occur. The next step in the process would be Level B village plans.The final step includes the building permitting process.


May 29, 2015 - County Commission Denies Three Appeals and Continues Hearing to June 16

Upcoming June 16, 2015 hearing. At the May 28, 2015 hearing, the County Commission voted to deny three appeals of the County Planning Commission’s recommendation of approval of the Santolina Level A Master Plan and Planned Communities Zoning request. They also voted to continue the consideration of the Santolina Level A Master Plan and Planned Communities Zoning, including amended findings and conditions for the Master Plan, to the June 16, 2015 Special Zoning Hearing, along with the Draft of the Santolina Level A Development Agreement. The Development Agreement codifies the Santolina Level A Master Plan and includes the terms for the development of Santolina to be agreed upon by the County and the developer of Santolina. The June 16 public hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the Vincent E. Griego Chambers at the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center, One Civic Plaza NW. 

Please click here to see the DRAFT Findings and Conditions Chart. 

The Chart includes amendments to the findings and conditions that were recommended by the County Planning Commission on December 3, 2014 have been drafted by County staff in response to the request by the County Commission to meet with the appellants to work out the appeals. In the Chart, the first column depicts the original findings and conditions recommended by the County Planning Commission. The second column includes the amended findings and conditions currently recommended by County staff as a result of the discussions. The proposed language in the Chart will be considered by the County Commission at the May 28 hearing.

To view the Draft Development Agreement between the Santolina developer and Bernalillo County that is under consideration by the County Commission, please click here.

To view the agenda packets for the 6/16/15 County Commission hearing click here. Note: as the entire meeting file is very large, simply clicking on the "agenda" or "agenda packet" may create downloading issues. Please click on the date (6/16/15) and then the agenda items individually through the link above to alleviate these issues.

Public comment will be accepted on the Draft Development Agreement. To provide comments click on www.bernco.gov/talktous.

Correspondence may also be e-mailed to cvereecke@bernco.gov or mailed to 111 Union Square Street SE, Suite 100, Albuquerque, NM 87102 ATTN: Catherine VerEecke. All correspondence and documents for the official case record for the Santolina request, including the Development Agreement, for the June 16, 2015 hearing, must be submitted by noon, eight calendar days prior to the hearing on that matter, i.e. noon on Monday June 8, 2015. The Commission may vote to waive this requirement if they determine that the material is necessary to make an informed decision on the matter.

Appeals. On May 28, 2015, the County Commission also heard and voted to deny the remaining three appeals that were filed in opposition to the recommendation of approval by the County Planning Commission on December 3, 2015 of the Santolina Level A Master Plan approval and Planned Communities Zoning. 

In the first appeal, the South Valley Coalition of Neighborhood Associations appealed the County Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve the Santolina Master Plan.

In the second appeal, the South Valley Regional Association of Acequias and the Center for Sustainable Systems also appealed the County Planning Commission’s recommendation of approval of the Master Plan.

In the third appeal, the Southwest Organizing Project, New Mexico Health Equity Working Group and Pajarito Village Neighborhood Association appealed the Planning Commission’s recommendation of approval of a zone change for the Santolina property to Planned Community Zone.

In addition, at the May 28, 2015 hearing the applicant (Western Albuquerque Land Holdings) withdrew the appeal of specific conditions of approval that had been recommended by the County Planning Commission. The appeal had been heard and continued by the County Commission at the May 11, 2015 hearing to the May 28 hearing. On May 11, 2015, the County Commission also denied the appeal filed by the Southwest Organizing Project, New Mexico Health Equity Working Group and Pajarito Village Neighborhood Association of the County Planning Commission’s recommendation of approval of the Santolina Level A Master Plan.


May 22, 2015

Upcoming May 28 hearing. On May 28, 2015, the County Commission will hear the remaining appeals and will consider a Development Agreement between the developer of the Santolina property and Bernalillo County that outlines the terms for future development at Santolina. The remaining appeals are from: 1) the South Valley Coalition of Neighborhood Associations; 2) the South Valley Regional Association of Acequias and the Center for Social Sustainable Systems; and 3) and the Southwest Organizing Project, New Mexico Health Equity Working Group and Pajarito Village Neighborhood Association, in addition to the appeal from the developer that has yet to be decided upon.

To view the agenda packets for the 5/28/15 County Commission hearing click here. Note: as the entire meeting file is very large, simply clicking on the "agenda" or "agenda packet" may create downloading issues. Please click on the date (5/28/15) and then the agenda items individually through the link above to alleviate these issues.

Amendments to County Planning Commission Findings and Conditions: Amendments to the findings and conditions recommended by the County Planning Commission on December 3, 2014 have been drafted by County staff in response to the request by the County Commission to meet with the appellants to work out the appeals.  In the Chart, the first column depicts the original findings and conditions recommended by the County Planning Commission.  The second column includes the amended findings and conditions currently recommended by County staff as a result of the discussions. The proposed language in the Chart will be considered by the County Commission at the May 28 hearing.


BernCo Commission Votes to Continue Santolina Hearing on May 11, 2015

The Bernalillo County Commission voted on March 26, 2015 to continue the Santolina Master Plan hearing, and appeals to the plan, to May 11 at 4 p.m. The commission listened to testimony on March 25 and 26, but no final action was taken.

Western Albuquerque Land Holdings requested approval of a Planned Communities Level A Master Plan and Planned Communities Zoning for 13,851 acres of undeveloped land in the southwestern area of Bernalillo County.

The Santolina Master Plan, which is contingent upon future demand and market conditions, provides a general framework for development over the next 40 to 50 years, to include residential villages and village commercial uses, two business parks, a town center, an industrial/business park, and an urban center, along with parks, trails, public open space, educational facilities, roads and utilities. Over time, the applicant proposes that the project will be developed with approximately 38,000 households and provide approximately 75,000 jobs.

To view the format for the Board of County Commissioners hearing for Santolina, please click here

To learn more about the project, please go to www.bernco.gov/santolina.

The meeting will also be aired live on GOV-TV 16, available through Comcast, or online at www.bernco.gov.

To see the meeting agendas/videos for the May 11 meeting, click here. Note: as the entire meeting file is very large, simply clicking on the "agenda" or "agenda packet" may create downloading issues. Please click on the agenda items individually through the link above to alleviate these issues.

To be added in the official case record prior to the hearing, all correspondence and documents covering matters before the Commission must be submitted by noon, eight calendar days prior to the public hearing on that matter, i.e. noon on Friday, May 1, 2015. The Commission may vote to waive this requirement if they determine that the material is necessary to make an informed decision on the matter. Please include the case number(s) on the documents. Correspondence may be e-mailed to cvereecke@bernco.gov or mailed to 111 Union Square Street SE, Suite 100, Albuquerque, NM  87102 ATTN: Catherine VerEecke.


March 26, 2015

The Bernalillo County Commission continued to review and consider the Santolina Master Plan application on March 25 and 26. Western Albuquerque Land Holdings has requested approval of a Planned Communities Level A Master Plan and Planned Communities Zoning for 13,851 acres of undeveloped land in the southwestern area of Bernalillo County. The County Planning Commission recommended approval of the Santolina requests, with conditions, at its Dec. 3, 2014 hearing. The Board of County Commissioners considered the requests, along with five appeals of the recommendation. The hearings were held in the Vincent E. Griego Chambers at the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center, One Civic Plaza NW.

These new dates were rescheduled from an original date of Feb. 19, 2015.

To view the rules of procedure for public hearings before the Board of County Commissioners, please click here.

To view the format for the Board of County Commissioners hearing for Santolina, please click here.

To see the meeting agendas/videos for the March 25 and 26 meetings, click here (March 25) and here (March 26). Because of the large size of the attachments, please open each attachment individually.


County Planning Commission Recommendations to County Commission  

At the Dec. 3, 2014 public hearing, the County Planning Commission (CPC) voted to recommend approval with conditions of the Level A Santolina Master Plan and Planned Communities Zoning. The Board of County Commissioners will consider the Master Plan and Zoning request based on the recommendation of the County Planning Commission, which appears in the notices of decision:

  • To view the Notice of Decision for the Santolina Master Plan request, which includes the recommended conditions of approval, (SPR-20130004) click here.
  • To view the Notice of Decision for the Santolina Planned Communities Zone request (CZ-20130009) click here.
  • To view the Redlined Level A Santolina Master Plan that was considered and recommended for approval by the County Planning Commission on Dec. 3, 2014, click here.
  • To view the cleaned-up version of the Level A Santolina Master Plan considered and recommended for approval by the County Planning Commission on Dec. 3, 2014, click here.
  • To view the staff report (including individual attachments) for the Dec. 3, 2014 CPC hearing, click here.‚Äč

Santolina Land Use Plan

Additional background information and supplementary documentation for the Santolina requests appears below.

Appeals of the County Planning Commission Recommendations for Santolina to County Commision

At the scheduled special hearing for Santolina, the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) will also consider five appeals of the County Planning Commission recommendations. The appeals are listed below. To view the individual appeals, click on the case number:

  1. COA2015-0005 – Western Albuquerque Land Holdings LLC (the applicant) has appealed the recommendation of the CPC of specific findings and conditions for the Santolina Level A Master Plan.
  2. COA2015-0006 – Southwest Organizing Project, New Mexico Health Equity Working Group, and Pajarito Village Neighborhood Association have appealed the decision of the CPC to recommend approval of the zone map amendment to the Planned Communities Zone for Santolina.
  3. COA2015-0007 - Southwest Organizing Project, New Mexico Health Equity Working Group, and Pajarito Village Neighborhood Association have appealed the decision of the CPC to recommend approval of the Santolina Level A Master Plan.
  4. COA2015-0008 – South Valley Coalition of Neighborhood Associations has appealed the decision of the CPC to recommend approval of the Santolina Level A Master Plan.
  5. COA2015-0009 – South Valley Regional Association of Acequias and Center for Social Sustainable Systems have appealed the decision of the CPC to recommend approval of the Santolina Level A Master Plan.

Project Overview:

Western Albuquerque Land Holdings, together with Albuquerque Public Schools, has requested approval of a Planned Communities Level A Master Plan called the ‘Santolina Master Plan’ for approximately 13,700 acres of undeveloped land in the southwest portion of Bernalillo County. The plan area is generally bounded by I-40 to the north, 118th Street and the escarpment open space to the east, the Pajarito Mesa on the south, and the escarpment area adjacent to the Rio Puerco Valley on the west. Along with access from I-40, the property is can be reached from several existing roadways, including Central Avenue, Dennis Chavez Boulevard, Atrisco Vista Boulevard, and 118th Street.

The Santolina Master Plan, which is contingent upon future demand and market conditions, provides a general framework for development over the next 40-50 years, to include residential villages and village commercial uses, two business parks, a town center, an industrial/business park, and an urban center, along with parks, trails, public open space, educational facilities, roads and utilities. Over time, it is anticipated to be developed with approximately 38,000 households and to provide approximately 75,000 jobs. 

The Santolina Master Plan has been under review by Bernalillo County staff and other state and local agencies, with particular attention to its compliance with the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Comprehensive Plan and the Planned Communities Criteria

Santolina Vicinity Map


Bernalillo County Planning Commission Additional Documents/Background

The County Planning Commission had a series of hearings on the master plan throughout 2014 - please click here for the past meeting schedule.

To view the staff report and related attachments from the Dec. 3, 2014 CPC hearing, please click the main meeting agenda


The Bernalillo County Commission today approved the Santolina Master Plan as amended.

The commission also approved a zoning change for the property from generally rural agricultural to a planned community zone.

Both measures passed on a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Art De La Cruz, Wayne Johnson and Lonnie Talbert voted in favor. Commissioners Maggie Hart Stebbins and Debbie O’Malley voted against.

The commission also heard public comment on a proposed master development agreement between the county and the developer. No vote was taken on the master development agreement. That portion of the hearing has been continued to June 24 at 1:30 p.m.

Western Albuquerque Land Holdings requested approval of a Planned Communities Level A Master Plan and Planned Communities Zoning for 13,851 acres of undeveloped land in the southwestern area of Bernalillo County.

The Santolina Master Plan, which is contingent upon future demand and market conditions, provides a general framework for development over the next 40 to 50 years, to include residential villages and village commercial uses, two business parks, a town center, an industrial/business park, and an urban center, along with parks, trails, public open space, educational facilities, roads and utilities. Over time, the applicant proposes that the project will be developed with approximately 38,000 households and provide approximately 75,000 jobs.

While the master plan provides a general framework for development, the proposed development agreement provides details on the responsibilities of both the county and the developer.

Today’s action is the first step of a three step process before development can occur. The next step in the process would be Level B village plans. The final step includes the building permitting process.

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