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Bernalillo County Commission Approves Santolina

Kaveh Mowahed
People protesting the Santolina development wore bright yellow shirts to show their opposition.

Bernalillo County commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to approve the Santolina Master Plan and zoning. The huge development west of Albuquerque is to include 38,000 homes, plus commercial and open space.

Commissioners spent a lot of time discussing Santolina’s jobs forecasts – developers say the plan would bring two jobs for each home built. This sparked a debate on the definition of the word “job.”

But critics say the jobs predictions are inflated.

Pablo Lopez is with Contra Santolina, a group opposed to the development. He said residents have concerns other than new jobs. “The people’s interest is the agriculture in the South Valley, preserving our water rights, and having sensical, logical development for Albuquerque.”

Developers envision Santolina as only one component of a larger, long-term growth plan for the Albuquerque metro area.

Tom Garrity runs a PR firm that’s working on behalf of the project. "There are 300,000 people that are anticipated to move here over the next 40 years," he said. "Santolina is only going to be able to accommodate 75,000 of those. Where are all the rest going to go? They’re going to go all over Albuquerque.” 

The Associated Press reports Santolina opponents plan to appeal the commission's decision. 

Kaveh Mowahed is a reporter with KUNM who follows government, public health and housing. Send story ideas to kaveh@kunm.org.
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