We moved to Rio Rancho six years ago. We both held builder licenses in New Mexico.

We did the responsible thing before choosing our half-acre lot at Fourth Avenue SW and Rainbow Boulevard. We checked the area plot map.

All the surrounding area lots were also half-acre. No commercial multi-plexes, no apartments and no small lots. All half-acre lots, including but not limited to Third Avenue SW.

Then in March 2019, the notice came. The applicant began the request to change the zoning map. The request was for only one street, but all of Third Avenue SW. At that time and currently, it consisted of approximately 64 half-acre lots.

The change was to make 188 lots. What?

We spoke against the change. This issue is not a NIMBY issue.

Rainbow Boulevard is a horrible mess, with eight-inch cracks and patched asphalt. When vehicles, such as garbage trucks, pass by our house, they currently and have always vibrated our windows, floors and even our china cabinets.

When deciding this issue in 2019, the reason for changing the zoning was the applicant had been working on this for 20 years, so let’s let him change the zoning. The councilors approved this subdivision based on 20 years, not the impact to the surrounding residents.

The planning and zoning staff, after much research, gave a recommendation of no to this project on April 19, 2019, citing so many concerns. Water, sewer, traffic, roads, the lots were too small, and the applicant did not demonstrate consistency with the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the city.

The staff found no criteria had been met for the approval of the zoning change. Then the City of Rio Rancho councilors, against their own staff’s recommendation, approved the zoning change!

We sat in the audience, stunned!

Something in Rio Rancho was not right in 2019. This project could have gone four streets north, where smaller lots would have been accepted. The applicant should have looked at the plot map.

This project went against the comprehensive plan and the city’s own master plans and amendments, as noted by the staff’s denial. The councilors and mayor knew this was wrong.

Now comes a new hearing April 13 at 6 p.m. The general public is not allowed to attend due to COVID.

One hundred eighty-eight lots on one street with residential half-acre lots now. Must a class-action lawsuit be filed to address this issue?

This project is wrong.

We know the mayor is pushing for lots of subdivisions in Rio Rancho. This does not make his decisions right.

After COVID, Rio Rancho will need to really look at impacting the city with subdivisions.

Councilors of Rio Rancho, please hear the taxpayers, voters and majority of residents, and reconsider voting for this subdivision. The ramifications are lasting and permanent. Vote “no” — it’s the right thing to do!

Steve and Deborah Steele

Rio Rancho