Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – The controversy surrounding the Zia Station development in Santa Fe, one of the city’s largest projects in recent years, is far from over.
The Candlelight Neighborhood Association – an outspoken critic of the project in recent months – filed an appeal in district court Thursday to overturn the Santa Fe City Council’s April decision to approve the development.
Ed “Aku” Oppenheimer told the Journal the association’s appeal concerns the “quasi-judicial” process the city used to approve the project in the first place. He said developers were able to argue their side for multiple hours, while opponents only had 2 minutes each to speak.
“It’s become a shock to see how unbalanced and deluded the process is,” Oppenheimer said.
City spokesman David Herndon wrote to the Journal that the city does not comment on pending litigation.
Once completed, the Zia Station development will contain nearly 400 residential units, along with myriad storefronts and office spaces. The 25-acre property is located near the Rail Runner Zia Station stop, and developers said its traffic could be based around public transportation.
The developers, Zia Station LLC, paid the city around $150,000 to make only 10% of the units affordable, down from the city-mandated 15%. Those units will remain affordable for 10 years.
However, opponents of the project have argued it will lead to increased traffic jams and impact livability for residents in the area. Oppenheimer has also been critical of the lack of houses available to purchase in the project.
“You need to be able to invest in a home – this is all rentals,” he said.
Studies suggest Santa Fe has a rental shortage upwards of 5,000 units, with a vacancy rate that hovers around 2%.