Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Co-housing developer anxious for county vote

~Bill Diven

Hampered by a death, two resignations, a recusal, and some absences, the Sandoval County Planning and Zoning Commission may at last be ready for an up-or-down vote on the Placitas Sage Co-Housing project.

“It’s been long five months of waiting, waiting, waiting,” Placitas Sage President Joyce Thompson told the Signpost. “We are encouraged that finally they have a quorum, or at least they appear to have a quorum.” Also, three out of the four P&Z commissioners are new and were not present at the original May 25 presentation.

That presentation laid out a plan to build an over-55 community by combining five lots into a single 6.2-acre parcel in Placitas Small Tracts, also known as Placitas West. The project proposes 18 residences, clustered as duplexes and triplexes around open space, plus a community building with a kitchen and worship and gallery space.

“Every month means time, energy, and money lost in the process,” Thompson said. “We’ve kind of put everything on hold. New member intake is on hold.”

The main market for the homes is older Placitas residents, wanting to downsize without leaving the community. The P&Z Commission was scheduled to meet on October 26 after the Signpost deadline.

Nearly thirty people testified during the May 25 hearing, with another 17 left on the sign-up list for the next meeting. More than twenty spoke against the project.

Critics said that while they support the concept, the co-housing project and related traffic are not appropriate for a neighborhood of single-family homes on large lots. They also contend the zoning change under condominium regulations would set a precedent for more high-density development in Placitas.

The county planning staff has recommended that the P&Z Commission approve the project with conditions and send it to the County Commission for a final decision. Whatever the county decides can be appealed to District Court.

The process ground to a halt shortly before the June meeting when commission member Wesley Bassett died from illness at age 74. Member James MadueƱa, a Placitas homebuilder working with the Sage developers, already had recused himself from all proceedings, and with another member absent, the commission lacked its four-person quorum.

In July, county commissioners appointed Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton of Rio Rancho to succeed Bassett, but by his first meeting in August, member Bob Cote had resigned after eight years due to a job change. Other absences combined to scuttle consideration of the Sage project until September, by which time member Sam Landee-Thompson had resigned citing family reasons.

In October, county commissioners appointed Jo Anne Roake of Corrales to Landee-Thompson’s position. That creates the likely quorum for the October meeting of her, Clayton, Chairman John Arango, and Vice-Chairman Pat Vester, who was absent for the May 25 hearing.

Cote’s slot, set aside for appointment by one of the county commissioners from Rio Rancho, remains unfilled. By ordinance, the P&Z Commission is made up of seven members although it has operated with only six in recent years given the difficulty in finding volunteers willing to tackle the workload of planning and zoning issues.

Friends of Coronado Historic Site fall lecture series offers surprising discoveries

The Friends of Coronado Historic Site fall lecture series continues with a tale of wild living and depravity at the Fort Marcy Military Reservation. “That Sink of Vice and Extravagance,” will be presented by Matthew J. Barbour, Manager of the Coronado and Jemez Historic Sites on November 20, at 2:00 p.m. at the DeLavy House (Sandoval County Historical Society Museum) in Bernalillo.

Matt Barbour is a noted anthropologist and scholar who will bring to life the fascinating story of Santa Fe’s Fort Marcy Military Reservation of the late 19th century. If you think today’s problems with alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and illicit sex are new, you’ll be amazed at the story of debauchery that emerged from the more than seventy thousand artifacts excavated from the ruins of the territorial military base that promised to protect its citizens and “keep off the Indians.” From West Coast oysters to syringes to Irish whisky bottles, the refuse pits gave up their dirty, little secrets to the archaeologists (including Matt) who conducted the excavation in downtown Santa Fe between 2004 and 2008 to make way for the city’s new convention center.

General Admission is five dollars for adults; Members of Friends of Coronado are always free. For more information, call George at 771-9493 or visit

Master Gardeners open enrollment for 2017 Intern Training Class

~Lynda Garvin

Applications are now being accepted for the Sandoval County Master Gardeners Intern Class of 2017, with a newly expanded curriculum of 18 weeks. The classes meet once a week, starting in early January, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., at the Sabana Grande Recreation Center in Rio Rancho. Applications can be found online at To be certified as a Sandoval County Master Gardener, students must successfully complete the classes and complete a thirty-hour internship that includes ten hours of public outreach activity and twenty hours of other community service activities. The course costs $175. For further information, call 505-867-2582.

Top of Page

Ad Rates  Back Issues  Contact Us  Front Page  Up Front  Animal News   Around Town  Sandoval Arts   Business Classifieds  Calendar   Community Bits  Community Center  Eco-Beat  Featured Artist  Gauntlet Health  Community Links  Night Sky  My Wife and Times  Public Safety  Real  People  Stereogram  Time Off  Youth