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Community watchdog ES-CA eyes Sandoval County issues

—Chris Daul, Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association

The Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association (ES-CA) continues to be involved in a number of issues facing Placitas, including sand and gravel mining, the I-25/Rt. 165 interchange, the fate of the Buffalo Tract of the BLM land, and other Sandoval County issues.

ES-CA’s Land Use Planning Trust (LPT) has been monitoring the County lawsuit against Lafarge/Vulcan and is studying the possibilities of joining the lawsuit to insure that Placitas’s interests are represented. The LPT has also been working with the New Mexico Environment Department on the issues of air and water pollution that may exist in and around the mining site. In addition to Lafarge, ES-CA is monitoring the Fisher Sand and Gravel Company’s proposal to be annexed by the Town of Bernalillo. Any new application that is submitted to the Town will be quickly reviewed by ES-CA and the details published on our website. In addition, ES-CA members will be notified of any public meeting in which an application is to be presented. ES-CA continues to oppose any new mining in Placitas, which includes the BLM land. Sand and gravel mining brings few economic benefits to the area or the County, but does bring dust, high water use, land erosion, and truck traffic.

An independent traffic engineer has finished his study of the new I-25/Rt. 165/550 interchange, and ES-CA has reviewed the results. A detailed article appears on our website. The report does recognize the issue of sight line for vehicles exiting I-25 northbound and heading east on Rt. 165. They have proposed moving the stop lines back for traffic waiting to go westbound on Rt. 550, so that traffic going to Placitas can have a better view of oncoming traffic. The study does not recommend constructing an acceleration lane for traffic heading eastbound on Rt. 165.

As many people know, the Bureau of Land Management is proposing to sell their land around Placitas. Most importantly is the Buffalo Tract, which consists of approximately four thousand acres and is adjacent to Placitas to the north. ES-CA has issued a Statement listing what uses they oppose and support. This Statement is based upon a survey of ES-CA members. The number one issue is a prohibition on any type of mining on the property. Other major items include: low water use; limited public access; and, prohibition on motorized vehicles (except for emergency and maintenance). The entire Statement is on the ES-CA website. ES-CA has sent the Statement to the Pueblos of Santa Ana and San Felipe and to the San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant, as well as to the New Mexico Congressional delegation. ES-CA is not endorsing any one entity for acquisition of this property, but will work with whichever entity or entities ultimately acquire the property to insure that the land is not designated for industrial, commercial, retail, or residential use. This is an important issue that affects all residents of Placitas, and we need to be proactive and vigilant in making sure this land is not used in an adverse way to Placitans.

Early voting is already taking place in Sandoval County and Election Day is Tuesday, November 4. It is important that all voters get to the polls and cast their votes. There are Federal, State and local offices up for election this year and all of these officials can have a vote that affects us in Placitas. ES-CA does not support any specific candidates or parties, but our strength in working with elected officials depends upon the number of members we have and the number of voters from Placitas. Your vote is important, and it counts. If you have any questions about voting, you can go to the Sandoval County website and click on the Elections Bureau.

ES-CA is trying to reach out to everyone in the Placitas community. We are attending homeowner association meetings and welcome invitations. We would also be glad to meet with any other organizations in Placitas and explain what we do and how we can all work together to make Placitas even better. If you have questions or would like us to attend one of your meetings, contact Bob Gorrell at 771-9464 or In addition, ES-CA board meetings are open to the public and take place on the first Monday of each month, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the La Puerta Realty conference room on Rt. 165. Remember to check the ES-CA website at

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