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SF residents weigh in on Zia Station development

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Years of disagreement regarding a proposed development in South Santa Fe came to a head Tuesday evening.

Santa Fe residents voiced support and concerns about the proposed Zia Station development, a large mixed-use development that would include 384 residential units and various stores, according to the plan’s current iteration.

The arguments were presented to the Santa Fe City Council, which will vote on the development this week.

The project – which has been talked about in some form for the past two decades – has received criticism from residents and neighborhood associations, who argue population density would increase traffic and damage the character of the City Different.

Resident Cindy Gregory said the development would damage “Santa Fe style,” which she argued draws tourists to the city.

“This development, I believe, thumbs its nose at all of that,” Gregory said.

The development in its current state would require a handful of code changes, including rezoning the area as residential and commercial. It would also require the city to amend the Southwest Corridor Highway, which requires buildings in the area to be a maximum of two stories tall.

And while those opposing the development have been vocal for years, Tuesday’s hearing saw multiple supporters argue that such a development is needed to address Santa Fe’s long-standing housing crisis.

“So much of the debate around density and views frames development as an either/or scenario, as if we must either choose to see the mountains or provide affordable housing,” Shawn Evans said. “This is absurd.”

Zia Station Project Manager Jennifer Jenkins said the development would actually reduce traffic in the area and that the Southwest Corridor Highway – first passed in the 1980s – no longer fits the city’s needs. “We believe that there are more important priorities right now that the city has established,” Jenkins said. “Zia Station is a unique and rare opportunity to realize those objectives.”

Tuesday’s hearing was the first of two that will be held on Zia Station. The next hearing on Thursday will see city councilors question and discuss the matter before taking a vote.

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