Sandoval Signpost


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  The Gauntlet

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letters, opinions, editorials

Signpost welcomes letters of all opinions. Letters are subject to editing for length, clarity, libel, and other considerations. Anonymous pen name letters will not be published. Attach your name and contact information. Send to: Signpost, P. O. Box 889, Placitas, NM, 87043 or

re: T-Mobile

We just wanted to update our neighbors on our experience with T-Mobile and the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. I emailed our concerns about lack of service in Placitas on October 31 to David Martinez at the New Mexico Public Regulations Commission. T-Mobile responded in writing to myself and Mr. Martinez on November 15.

Basically, T- Mobile admitted that their "lease on the property that houses their network tower serving Placitas was not renewed (no reason given) and that, because of this, they "cannot access our tower to make the needed improvements." He also mentioned that they do not have an estimated time frame as to when they will be able to make the improvements.

I was connected to Christopher Rausch from Executive Response with T-Mobile, who agreed to reimburse us for the last four months of non-service and gave instructions on how to unlock our T-Mobile phone.

Hope this helps shed some light on the issue, though we were happy with T-Mobile's response and actions it seems as if our little area must not be a huge priority for them to keep our business. 

—Kathy Johnson, Placitas

re: Letter from the Placitas Sage Cohousing board

On November 30, 2016, after two hearings and six months of delays, the Sandoval County Planning and Zoning Commission denied recommending to the County Commission the Application for a Zone Map Amendment by Placitas Sage Cohousing on six acres in Placitas West. Their denial was ostensibly based on an opinion by the recently appointed County Attorney on what she called an “ambiguous” and “open to interpretation” zoning ordinance referred to as “spot zoning.” The Chair of the P&Z Commission clearly forced the issue, allowing Placitas Sage’s attorney only a brief opportunity to rebut. Three of the four Commissioners had not even seen a full presentation of the project.

This decision was made by the Commissioners despite the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Staff for approval of our Application, citing it as the best and most complete application they had received. The Staff also recognized the Placitas Sage project as providing a needed alternative for downsized housing for seniors in Placitas.

Cohousing allows residents to own their own homes in a small, supportive community, developed and managed by the residents themselves. The Placitas Sage project would have allowed local residents to “age in place” in the community they love, where they have invested their time and energy in volunteer activities which make Placitas such a vibrant community: the Placitas Artist Series, the Holiday Sale, the Studio Tour, the Placitas Community Library, the Recycling Center, Casa Rosa, and Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. The Placitas community loses not only these active, contributing residents, but also the addition of a beautifully designed small community of low-profile, Southwest style, green-built, energy efficient, and water-conserving homes.

Although there was much support for Placitas Sage throughout the larger Placitas community, a small group of residents of Placitas West raised strong opposition to the project, often using misinformation and intimidation to support their cause. At the P&Z hearings in May and October, those residents raised no substantive claims against the project, but offered “Not in My Back Yard” complaints about how the project would disturb their “rural lifestyle.” At times hissing and booing and making hostile, false accusations about the landowners, they demonstrated their disregard for civil discourse in that quasi-judicial setting.

We, the Members of the Placitas Sage community, were very disappointed in how our project was handled by the Planning and Zoning Commission, and how many of the potential neighbors in Placitas West reacted out of fear. Our Mission was to create a small, supportive community for Placitas seniors to be able to downsize while remaining in the community they have come to love. As the sole developers, funding this project out of our retirement savings, we worked for nearly four years to create the carefully thought-out plans for this cohousing community, which would have been a model for Sandoval County. We will now move on to find another location that welcomes and values us. We are immensely saddened that Placitas, through the action of P&Z Commission, rejected us.

—The Members of Placitas Sage Cohousing: Joyce Thompson, Andrea Mason, Bunny & Leland Bowen, Jan Kenney, Betty Milstead, Nancy & Pat Wright, Janice Langdale, Cooper Gallegos, Judith Roderick, Irene Stevens

re: Sage Co-housing denial

It was with great sadness, even despair, that I heard the Planning and Zoning Committee did not approve the Sage Co-housing development on November 30. I won't go on and on about the short sightedness of the Committee's decision, nor the mean spirited self-centeredness of the opposing neighbors, because local government is notoriously short-sighted and this past presidential election shows that mean spiritedness and self-centeredness may well be a wave of the future.

While I do know that the Sage Co-housing proponents found this mistaken decision to be quite disappointing, I think the greatest loss is for the Placitas Community at large. Just think about it: we have a local group of well-respected and accomplished elders wishing to live on common land in a participatory community, grounded in the principles of conscious aging, decision-making by consensus, environmental stewardship, and a connection to place. These good folks are committed to building community, expanding housing options for older adults, and developing housing in a way that is ecologically, socially, and financially sustainable. Doesn't this sound like a good deal for Placitas?

Such as these deserve to be able to build small homes on commonly owned land, thus showing us how to sensibly live here in Placitas into the Golden years—respectful of our fragile ecology and serving to strengthen the local social fabric. To my mind they are like pioneers modeling the way forward toward more sustainable ways of life. Why not actually help this Sage Co-housing group find good land right here in Placitas?

Together with some of these fine Sage folks in Placitas I have blessed and buried in a grove of tall trees a coyote likely killed by dumb people poisoning rodents outside. With some, I have sung one hundred times and cried just a little bit. Several of our local Sagers are known to create great beauty everywhere they go, which time and again speaks of the living earth right here where we all live. These sort of folks we want to keep in Placitas. Does anybody have some good land for these farsighted and generous folks? It seems to me that even some of our Placitas neighborhood associations would welcome the Sage Co-housing group into their midst, if only to provide yet more options of lifestyle for their aging residents. Placitas as a long history of locals living in extended compounds in close harmony with nature, serving to support each other in mutual aid. Why not help keep that admirable legacy going in beautiful Placitas?

Michael Crofoot, Placitas

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