It’s only an acre on the Rio Grande, but it was considered no-man’s land, helping to stall an 11-acre residential development on Bernalillo’s west side.
The court action—which includes multiple parties and is aimed at settling who owns the acre—just wrapped, clearing a path to prepare the land necessary for new single and multi-family homes between the river and Sheriff’s Posse Road. The larger lot, as first platted, extended into the Rio Grande which complicated potential ownership claims, Zach Snyder, a co-owner of the subdivision property, told the Signpost.
“At one time we had 16 federal agencies we were working with,” Snyder said. “This quiet title has taken four years.”
Quiet title is a lawsuit to identify anyone who might claim interest in a piece of land and whether that claim is legitimate. Most parties in this case filed disclaimers of interest, the federal Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers with roles in river management were dismissed after stating they had no ownership interest, and anyone who did not step forward by the court deadline was excluded by default.
“We’ve got about four to six months before we can break ground on the subdivision,” Snyder said. Area builders backed by local banks already are lined up to begin building in the subdivision, he added.
The single acre is to remain vacant for use in drainage and riverbank protection, Snyder said. The request for residential zoning for the parcel was introduced at the Sept. 11 Town Council meeting and expected to be acted upon at the Oct. 23 meeting.
Moving parts still to settle down include the zoning, a pending agreement with the Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo and Flood Control Authority and approval of the preliminary plat for the subdivision design.
The subdivision planning has involved neighbors in an adjoining subdivision and drew some opposition, mostly over traffic concerns on rural Sheriff’s Posse Road. Also in process is development of an adjacent 13 acres of commercial land to the north between the subdivision and U.S. Highway 550.
The two projects and land on the river north of US 550 are part of an overall development to be connected by a river walk announced as @Rio with a groundbreaking in September 2018.
Also on Sept. 11, town councilors upheld the Planning and Zoning Commission denial of a height variance for a wall constructed in front of a home on Calle Cielo Vista in far southwest Bernalillo. The homeowner said he relied on a state regulation he found and was unaware he needed a building permit for the six-foot wall around his property he said he built for safety and security.
Town building codes require a permit and limit front walls and fences to four feet in height. Mayor Jack Torres said taller walls hinder police approaching properties and suggested the homeowner work with the Planning Department to mitigate the height problem to obtain the permit.
In other action, councilors approved a celebration permit to allow a beer garden during the ASLA Enchantment Games on Sept. 23 at Rotary Park. Andrew Faber of the nonprofit American Sign Language Academy in Albuquerque told councilors the family-friendly event is a fundraiser for the academy.