Fast-tracked Safe Outdoor Spaces are discriminatory - Albuquerque Journal

Fast-tracked Safe Outdoor Spaces are discriminatory

The Albuquerque Journal’s Aug. 21 report, “Appeal targets first approved safe outdoor space,” failed to report in any detail the legitimate grounds the Santa Barbara Martineztown Neighborhood Association has in asking the city to reverse its approval of the Dawn Legacy Pointe “safe outdoor space” homeless encampment for women who are sex-trafficking victims. The article was … a biased regurgitation of the applicant’s justification for the homeless encampment.

The application approved by the city was as sneaky and underhanded as it gets. The application was “fast tracked” by the Planning Department to approve the application just eight days before the City Council repealed the Safe Outdoor Spaces zoning use on Aug. 16. The city failed to notify the neighborhood association of the application and failed to allow the neighborhood association to give input on how the neighborhood will be detrimentally affected.

The Planning Department unilaterally approved the application behind closed doors without notice to neighborhood associations or businesses or public hearing or input. The city gave preferential treatment to the applicants, working with them to identify city-owned property to be used and with the city agreeing to fund operating costs and not affording others the same opportunity.

… The security plan offered and approved by the city for the homeless camp is defective and insufficient for the campsite to ensure safety of the homeless and surrounding landowners and businesses.

The operation of the encampment will have a detrimental impact on the Martineztown-Santa Barbara neighborhood. It will adversely affect property values and interfere with residents’ peaceful use and enjoyment of their properties. Occupants will not be confined during the day and will be free to go and come as they please and will wind up uninvited in the neighborhoods.

The Planning Department’s approval of the application is akin to Mayor Tim Keller allowing Coronado Park to become the city’s de facto city sanctioned homeless encampment in violation of the city’s own public nuisance laws and city ordinances. The encampment will be a magnet for crime, prostitution or illicit drug trade. …

The Martineztown-Santa Barbara Neighborhood is sick and tired of the blatant discrimination and racism it has experienced for decades from the outright neglect the city has shown toward the neighborhood. The city has imposed on its residents methadone clinics, has failed to address rising crime rates, failed to provide adequate police protection, failed to provide city facilities like a community center and has allowed property destruction and filthiness throughout the neighborhood. The residents are under siege by the homeless displaced from Coronado Park and now the city wants to allow a safe outdoor space on city-owned property … to house women in tents who will likely be victimized again at the homeless encampment.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Fast-tracked Safe Outdoor Spaces are discriminatory


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