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City withdraws zoning request for station

Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal

Mayor Richard Berry’s administration plans to withdraw its request for a zoning change to build a garbage transfer station in the North Valley, near Edith and Comanche NE.

But the city will still pursue the project under the zoning already in place, which allows manufacturing and similar uses.

David Wood, president of the Greater Gardner Neighborhood Association, called the withdrawal a “partial victory” for opponents of the transfer station.

But he said it came only after residents endured thousands of dollars in legal costs to hire an attorney to review the plan on their behalf. City officials would have faced tough technical questions in the Environmental Planning Commission hearing, Wood said.

“We just covered them up with legal issues and unresolved factual issues,” he said. “I think it was in their best interest to withdraw.”

Michael Riordan, the city’s chief operations officer, said it isn’t clear what the next step is. The city is asking the Environmental Planning Commission, an appointed body that reviews development requests, for permission to withdraw its earlier request for a zoning change and site-development plan for the project, he said.

The commission meets on Thursday.

Riordan said a land-use hearing officer indicated the project can be considered under the manufacturing zoning already in place at the site, so the city will pursue that option.

“The project is far too important not to continue,” Riordan said.

The proposal is aimed at saving the $2.5 million to $4.5 million a year in fuel costs. Instead of driving out to the West Side landfill, garbage trucks would drop off the trash they collect at the transfer station.

Larger trucks would then collect and carry the trash out to the West Side.

There’s been intense opposition from North Valley residents. They raised questions about the smell, traffic and other environmental concerns.

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