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Developer cries foul with lawsuit against Rio Rancho


A developer is suing Rio Rancho for $5.6 million. At issue are credits it earned for infrastructure it built at a large planned community in the city and a new ordinance that slashes or eliminates impact fees.

Curb North Inc., which developed the Cabezon project, is holding excess impact fee credits of more than $8 million.Those credits helped Curb recoup the costs of roads, parks, trails and water and sewer systems. Under an agreement with the city, Curb has been converting its credits to cash by selling them to other developers doing projects in Rio Rancho, according to the lawsuit.

But the value of those credits has been damaged, Curb argues, by the city council’s action. Fees have been cut in half for residential projects and eliminated for two years for commercial developments. Curb argues that city and state law prohibit waivers of impact fees except for affordable housing. It accuses the city of, quote, unjustly enriching itself and builders in an attempt to spur residential and commercial building” in Rio Rancho.

Other developers and commercial real estate firms supported lowering the impact fees, according to the Albuquerque Journal. They say the fees have made the city unattractive to national restaurant chains and other commercial enterprises. City Manager James Babin told the city council the lawsuit could bring legal fees of up to $100,000 dollars and result in severe budget cuts if the city loses the case.