JLM Living, Inc. out of Austin, Texas, hopes to build rental single-family homes and duplexes on Trail Side Road SE and the northeast corner of Westside Boulevard. (Gregory Hasman/Observer)



  • Where: in the Cabezon neighborhood near the Village at Rio Rancho
  • What: Rentals — most of the homes would likely be single-family units
  • Who: JLM, an Austin, Texas-based company, is seeking to build about 130 units


People looking for a house to rent in Rio Rancho could be in luck. 

The Rio Rancho Governing Body approved a zoning change from Retail Commercial (C-1) to Special Use (SU) last Thursday to accommodate the construction of single-family and duplex rental homes on about 10.6 acres of land between the northeast corner of Westside Boulevard and Trail Side Road SE. 

That’s in the Cabezon neighborhood near the Village at Rio Rancho.   

JLM Living, Inc., an Austin, Texas-based company, is seeking to build about 130 units, though CEO Dan Diechert told the Observer, “We don’t know for sure.” 

“We’re targeting communities that have good demographics for us,” he said. “Income levels in Rio Rancho are high. There are a lot of professionals that live in Rio Rancho and people like to live here.” 

The selling points 

Single-family units could have an average size of 1,374 square feet, while duplex units may range between 575 square feet for one bedroom to 1,097 square feet for a two-bedroom, according to a city meeting packet.

Consensus Planning Principal James Strozier told the Governing Body Thursday that most of the homes would likely be single-family units.  

The Planning and Zoning Board recommended the zone change request at its March 22 meeting, but between then and the recent Governing Body meeting they added a condition that each building cannot be higher than 32 feet. This is the maximum height requirement for homes constructed in several city residential zones, according to a height and area chart in the city’s planning and zoning ordinance.

Western Hills Drive SE resident Michael Barger opposed the zoning amendment because the new homes would block his view of the city. 

He said while likes the idea, there are better places to put the units up, such as west of Unser Boulevard.  

The Westside Boulevard and Trail Side Road SE site would be better served to have medical buildings instead, Barger added.  

City Councilor Paul Wymer said he liked the proposed location, adding that it creates a “nice buffer” between it and other properties in the area including The Rio Grande Gracious Retirement Living. 

As for the complex itself, Strozier said the maintenance, landscaping, and amenities would be managed by the property owner and manager, Strozier said.  

A patio and small backyard could also be included for each unit.   

“That is one of the selling points of this product,” Diechert said.   

People would have a space where they can let the dog outside in a fenced area or have a cup of coffee or a barbecue, he said.   

But what about parking? 

The complex would be a gated community with designated private parking spots, Strozier said.  

“We haven’t done the detailed site planning yet, but we will be reviewing and meeting the city’s parking requirements,” he said. 

Hoping for success 

JLM Living will be coming back to the city with a site plan proposal, though when is not known. 

If the site plan is approved, construction will begin. Diechert anticipates that it will take 10-12 months. 

The Governing Body voted 6-0 in favor of the ordinance change. Councilor Daniel Stoddard was absent. 

City Councilor Karissa Culbreath said she is “grateful” about the possibility of having the rental homes built. 

“I hope that it’s successful moving forward,” she said.