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ABQ Environmental Planning Commission OKs new Oxbow site plan

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Developers have scored another victory in the battle over a planned residential project above the Oxbow wetlands on Albuquerque’s West Side.

Taking up the case for the second time in less than a year, the city’s Environmental Planning Commission on Thursday approved a revised site plan for the Overlook at Oxbow development.

Gamma Development’s current plan includes 69 homes on 23 acres known as the “Poole Property” and located at the east end of Namaste Road near the city of Albuquerque’s Oxbow Major Public Open Space.

Critics have questioned both the potential environmental impacts and whether the project – designed in two “clusters” – meets ordinance requirements with regard to density and open space.

The EPC first approved the Overlook site plan last March, but opponents appealed. A city land-use hearing officer sent it up to the City Council with a recommendation to deny the appeals. The council – the municipality’s ultimate zoning authority – decided instead to send the case back to the EPC for another review, prompting Thursday’s hearing.

The revised Overlook site plan has a different layout than originally proposed. There are seven fewer homes and slightly more open space overall, but more of the development is concentrated toward the bluff’s eastern edge – changes developer Brian McCarthy said were made to satisfy concerns outlined by the City Council.

The EPC voted to 6-1 to approve the site plan, but with a lengthy list of findings and conditions.

McCarthy said he anticipates an appeal of this decision as well, but said he was pleased with Thursday’s vote.

“The EPC did a fantastic job of reaffirming the findings that have been already deliberated on by city staff, the EPC, the (land-use hearing officer) and city attorneys throughout this process,” he said.

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