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Thursday, March 20, 2003

Albuquerque May Lose Extraterritorial Zoning Powers

By Kate Nash
Journal Capitol Bureau
    SANTA FE The House has approved a measure that would strip Albuquerque of its powers to make zoning decisions in the five-mile extraterritorial zone around the city.
    The measure (SB 241 committee substitute) earlier had also applied to Santa Fe and Las Cruces but was amended in committee Tuesday to only apply to Albuquerque. Because of the amendment, the measure had to go back to the Senate.
    The bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Manny Aragon, D-Albuquerque, gives the Bernalillo County Commission veto power over annexations, something county officials support, but city officials oppose.
    "This would make sure we preserve our rural farm lands ... and make sure the city of Albuquerque can't continue to develop as they want and can't annex for their tax base," said House Majority Whip James Taylor, who presented the bill in the House on Wednesday.
    City Councilor Eric Griego said the bill "really undermines the collaborative relationship that the county and city should have with planning and development.
    Another local government measure by Aragon, (SB 887 committee substitute), was approved Wednesday by the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Under that bill, a joint city-county authority would oversee the $5 billion Albuquerque water utility. The bill originally proposed a takeover by the county of the water and waste-water utility. The bill now goes to the Senate floor for consideration.