The proposed new zoning ordinance comes up for its second and final vote at the Rio Rancho Governing Body meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall.
If it passes, it will become law.
Councilor Chuck Wilkins is sponsoring the ordinance, and worked with city staff, developers and builders to recommend the changes, although they don’t agree on everything. According to city information, staff presented suggested changes to the governing body in 2011, before Wilkins and two other new councilors were elected, and the issue was postponed for more research.
Now, the new ordinance would decrease the space between property lines and structures, increase the allowed heights of some buildings and generally loosen many restrictions. Development Services staff, builders and developers say they support most of the changes.
In one major change, the new ordinance would permit land uses from lower-intensity zoning in higher-intensity zoning, according to Wilkins and city information. For instance, single-family housing would be allowed in multi-family residential districts, and anything allowed in a Commercial-1 district would be permitted in Commerical-2 or industrial areas.
The reverse would not be true.
Also, the new ordinance would permit detached accessory dwellings, such as mother-in-law quarters, with kitchens in single-family residential areas. Previously, accessory dwellings were allowed only in estate zoning and without kitchens.
According to city information, staff members recommend limiting the accessory dwellings to 900 square feet. Wilkins wants to allow them up to half of the size of the primary house on lots with at least 7,000 square feet.
The new ordinance would allow apartments above the first floor in commercial and office districts. Builders have protested that requirement is too restrictive, but city staff said commercial-zoned areas needed to be set aside for business rather than multi-familly housing.
The agenda also includes:
• A vote on accepting $50,000 from Lockheed Martin and Sandia National Laboratories for A Park Above, which would have equipment designed for people with disabilities;
• A public hearing on restructuring the bonds in Special Assessment District 6;
• Consideration of a permit that would allow O’Hares Grille & Pub to serve alcohol at a public event;
• Consideration of authorizing a $796,000 loan from the New Mexico Finance Authority for a new Fire Rescue Administration building;
• A second and final vote on amending the water conservation ordinance so that spray irrigation restrictions in Rio Rancho are at the same times as in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County;
• Votes on three ordinances to refinance city bonds to save money; and
• A vote on reappointing Dave Heil to the Planning and Zoning Commission.