The past eight years have seen a huge swing in land-use decisions within the City of Rio Rancho.

Decisions that have brought on a slow assault on the fabrics of what have made Rio Rancho the most desirable city to live in and occupy for families.

The once beautiful and thriving Club Rio Rancho 27-hole golf course went up in flames in 2019.

The course, once lush with green space and enjoyed by city residents, has turned into a desolate wasteland in the historic southeast corridor.

Out west in late 2020, the current elected officials touted the Los Diamantes TIDD development as new homes, new infrastructure and the new Joe Harris Elementary went up.

However, a look at the fine print revealed that 16 acres of business park had been re-zoned to R-6 for the future possibilities of affordable housing.

This move cost the city a projected $1 billion in gross regional product and 600 jobs over a 10-year period.

The Loma Colorado and Diamond Ridge areas were under attack by a proposed and recommended re-zone of C-1 commercial to R-6 for the purposes of an affordable housing tower behind Lowes that was met with significant resident challenge.

The Mariposa area saw their estates and R-1 lots carved up for R-4 residential development, decreasing lot size and bringing in smaller residences, jeopardizing their trail systems and piggy backing off of the existing property values.

The Cabezon area is currently in an organized effort to challenge the development of a gas station in their backyard.

The Vista Entrada area has seen smaller lot attempts and bonds approved to support affordable housing apartments near Idalia and 528.

All the while, residential roads the past eight years have significantly deteriorated, with minimal resolve by way of the Neighborhood Streets Improvement Project (NSIP) for the foreseeable future.
The NSIP only provides crack and seal, no slurry and no re-pavement.

If we are trying to increase GRT to increase revenue by bringing in high-density rooftops, what impacts will this have on the Rio Rancho residents, the businesses we attract and the already crowded schools, the traffic?

Our charter review committee was changed for the first time since the city’s inception.

It was handed to governing body members, while citizen seats were cut.

This needs to be returned to the citizens of Rio Rancho. Elected officials shouldn’t be making recommendations to themselves for changes to the charter (Rio Rancho’s constitution).

It’s time to seriously consider the candidates running for city council.

Rio Rancho citizens have an immensely important decision for early voting on Feb. 1 and on March 1.

Boxes checked on these days have the propensity to greatly impact the direction the city takes for future Rio Rancho development, and its residents.

Make no mistake, Rio Rancho is at a tipping point, and knowing what each candidate stands for is paramount.

John Pearse
Rio Rancho