Denying the Santolina Master Plan: How You Can Get Involved

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The Santolina Master Plan, if you don’t know, is a proposed 13,700-acre (almost 22 square miles) urban sprawl development on the far West Mesa near Albuquerque.  Variously described as a “boondoggle” and as a plan “based more on greed than on need,” a former ABQ City Councilor even opined that “There isn’t the slightest economic, social or governmental justification for it to be developed.”  The plan was approved on a 4-2 vote by the Bernalillo County Commission last year.

But the fight isn’t over.

The Southwest Organizing Project and the Contra Santolina Working Group are leading the fight against this ill-conceived development that will benefit large developers at the expense of New Mexico’s land, air, and water (the proposed build out would require 20 million gallons of water per day).

Contra Santolina


The groups have organized a number of upcoming events for people to speak out against the plan, including a town hall and educational forum TONIGHT in Albuquerque’s South Valley. Here’s the info:

Deny Santolina – Upcoming Events

Community Town Hall & Educational Forum on the Santolina Master Plan

Thursday, March 19th  6 – 8 PM

South Valley Multipurpose Ctr. – 2008 Larrazolo Rd. SW

Free Food! RSVP now on Facebook.

People’s Rally & March to Defend Water

Wednesday, March 25th  12 – 1 PM

SWOP – 211 10th St. SW

The day begins with a teach-in at 12 PM, followed by a Press Conference at 12:30 PM. Immediately following the press conference we will march to the Bernalillo County Commission hearing – bring your signs and banners! Lunch provided! RSVP on Facebook.

Santolina Master Plan Hearing

Wednesday, March 25th  1:30 PM

Vincent E. Griego Chambers – 1 Civic Plaza

Sign up to testify and have your voice heard! The Bernalillo County Planning Commission. Tell them to deny the Santolina Master Plan based on the community’s concerns for water, transportation, increased taxes, urban sprawl, overcrowded schools, etc.

The groups have also produced a radio spot urging residents to call their county commissioners and express their dismay with this plan, ahead of a hearing on Santolina zoning changes on March 25th:

Anyone who cares about the impacts of the Santolina plan should get involved and make their voice heard. Some of the most compelling reasons to reject the plan have been laid out in a number of opinion pieces over the last year. The New Mexico Political Report recently ran one by David Vogel that gets right to the point:

Some of the most compelling reasons for rejecting this expansion include:

1) The geographic expansion that has dominated the County’s growth pattern over the past several decades has contributed substantially to the economic stagnation and quality of life erosion for Bernalillo County citizens. The benefits that have accrued to private developers have been at the expense of essential urban infrastructure development. Approval of the Santolina Master Plan will further dilute our already scarce resources and hinder Bernalillo County’s prospects for the kind of economic & infrastructure development critical to our well-being thereby further eroding our prospects for becoming a thriving metropolitan area in the future.

2) Neglect of the core urban infrastructure that is essential to support the County, the City of Albuquerque and adjacent urban areas will relegate our County to bottom tier status in perpetuity, thereby consciously (or unconsciously) forcing us to struggle at the bottom of all too many “lists” of desirable places to live in the US and the Southwest. Is it our destiny to follow the precedent of Detroit

3) Most contemporary urban planners have concluded that increasing urban density and reducing urban sprawl and its unsustainable, costly infrastructure are key “criteria for success” for creation of thriving 21st Century metropolitan areas. Shifting our planning strategy now to one that is in line with contemporary urban planning principles holds the prospect that future life in the Bernalillo County metropolitan area will be attractive not only to those who already live here, but perhaps even more important, will become a compelling attraction to the coming generations of citizens who will be choosing where to live.

Read David Vogel’s full op-ed on the New Mexico Political Report website HERE.