Sandoval Signpost


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letters, opinions, editorials

re: highway department projects

Thank you for your recent article (re: DOT project) in the May 2014 Signpost. Two issues that I would like to bring to your attention are stated below. Perhaps you have a contact to whom you could forward this email.

Travelling east from Bernalillo, the I-25 North and I-25 South combined sign on the right is barely discernible. While the I-25 South arrow to the right is accurate, the I-25 North direction is a straight arrow. More accurately, it should be a left arrow, as the present sign does not allow the driver enough time and space to move to the two left lanes to cross lanes and enter the I-25 North entrance ramp. My husband and I often see drivers turning around past the exchange east at the I-25 Frontage Road exit.

Going east to Placitas from the exchange, the I-25 Frontage Road (going north) is not marked. The exit is a loop road and should be marked—perhaps immediately on that road. It is a confusing loop road, as it first appears that it may be an entrance ramp onto I-25 North. It is only when one pursues the road some distance, and it turns due north, is it apparent that it is a frontage road. While Sundance Mesa/La Mesa residents and those customers that frequent Villanueva Granite and adjacent businesses are aware of the topography, visitors (or those who have missed the initial I-25 North exit) would quite naturally become confused.

—Norma Jameson Barney

re: Corolla correction

In the May, 2014, Signpost article “Placitas horse problem returns to public agenda,” the Signpost incorrectly printed the number of homes on the Corolla Island in North Carolina. The paragraph should have read:

Meanwhile, a few members of the task force and others are working to form an organization to keep the horses roaming free. The effort is the outgrowth of a recent presentation in Placitas by Karen McCalpin, who runs a nonprofit, protecting wild horses on a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina. McCalpin is executive director of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, a nonprofit corporation currently responsible for about one hundred horses roaming 7,500 acres of public and private land that includes seven hundred homes on an island.

re: highway problems

We observed a car exiting I-25 northbound and making a turn onto US 550 westbound end up in the opposing traffic lane. He had to turn around to get out of the situation. Fortunately, no accident occurred. This intersection is confusing and dangerous because it is so long. Something needs to be done before we have a head-on collision. A yellow double line through the intersection might help.

—George Key, Bernalillo

re: trash on Tecolote

It’s gone—the trash that had been dumped for months along the Tecolote roadside. I want to thank whomever is responsible for taking the trash away—especially if it happens to be the same party who put it there in the first place. If it was anyone else, I doubly thank you! My faith in humanity has been restored. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

—Linda Spaulding, Placitas

ES-CA announces its Land Use Protection Trust

—Dick Ulmer, LPT Board Chair

The Lafarge mine is an economic and quality-of-life nightmare to Sandoval County and especially the Placitas community. Property values are decreasing and trucks are tearing up local roads. The dust follows the prevailing winds into homes, and the noise invades the quiet spaces that were treasured escapes for Placitas residents.

A notice of violation was sent by the County Planning and Zoning department to Lafarge in June of last year—but the order has been ignored. The Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association (ES-CA) board circulated a petition calling on the County Government representatives to step up enforcement with more aggressive actions.

On April 21, a lawsuit was filed against Lafarge by the County for this flagrant disregard. Correction of these violations would decrease noise and pollutants, as well as ensure an earlier end of the mining operations. The sand and gravel lease, which began in 1973, ends August 2015, and the nonconformity should not be allowed to extend beyond that point.

Seeing the threat of mining and other invasive activities increasing, on April 5, ES-CA Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution establishing the Land Use Protection Trust (LPT) fund. LPT’s specific purpose is “to protect property value and character of the lands of Eastern Sandoval County communities through activities and actions that will ensure the purpose, intent, and integrity of zoning ordinances, and state and federal laws that protect property, and their consistent enforcement.”

Bob Gorrell, president of ES-CA, is urging all Placitans to contribute to the LPT fund whether they are directly impacted and feeling the pain of the current mining activities in our area, or are concerned about the precedent being set that could result in additional mines being established in the future.

With initial investments from an HOA adjoining the Lafarge mine, and subsequent LPT contributions to the LPT fund from businesses and individuals, a nationally recognized land use attorney has been engaged. This extremely qualified professional was deemed necessary for advice and guidance on legal actions and potential protective legislation against future land-use issues. ES-CA and its recently established LPT believe it is time to get serious. The LPT will use volunteers where qualified help is offered, but it will need financial contributions as well. The LPT encourages residents to consider their contributions as investments in Eastern Sandoval County similar to property protection provided by homeowner’s insurance. The LPT expects that more than one hundred thousand dollars will be needed to be effective.

Initial contributions are already coming in. Among them is a “challenge gift” of ten thousand dollars from Tom Ashe and Steve Gudelj, who have made developing this area in a responsible way their life’s work. These donors will match funds from other contributors up to the $10,000 amount in order to accelerate the contribution ramp up.

Any contribution is helpful and you may remain anonymous. Checks can be sent to the fund that ES-CA has established, payable to ES-CA LPT. They should be mailed to ES-CA LPT, P.O. Box 215, Placitas, NM 87043.

This ES-CA LPT fund will be administered by a board of directors appointed by the ES-CA Board. Dick Ulmer has been appointed the interim chair.

Placitas is at a crossroads. Before Lafarge is able to negotiate a new lease, or other operators gain footholds, residents must act and act forcefully to curtail these kinds of operations. Anyone with questions can check out the ES-CA website at or contact Dick Ulmer by email ( or phone 404-0416.

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