By Kathleen Sloan
The Truth or Consequences Planning & Zoning Commission was given an information-only, no-action-necessary presentation on the 230-acre Rio Vista Land Development that lies across the river from downtown.
John Roberts, owner’s representative for Mitch Brown – the principal for The Shepard’s Group – gave the presentation at the regular P&Z meeting, held Tuesday, May 1.
The P&Z and City Commission approved the zoning of the development about two months ago. It went from a transitional zone to Residential/Commercial Planned Unit Development.
Roberts wanted to prepare the P&Z with density estimates. He said the city code has only residential density guidelines, found in section 11-15-2-B-1. Roberts said, “four units per gross acre” are allowed. He said commercial development density would be “an average of eight in certain areas by giving back one acre per 20 units in passive areas.”
The preliminary master plan shows 130 acres residential and 100 acres commercial.
A “green zone,” about 30 feet wide along the riverfront, is also shown on the plan.
Because the city code does not address commercial density, “We would like to engage city staff and the Planning and Zoning Commission and hopefully all will benefit from it,” in clarifying that part of the code, said Roberts.
Commissioners asked how much land was Bureau of Reclamation easement. Roberts said it varies from “30 to 100 feet” along the river. That easement is to allow the BOR to “move spoilage” from flooding and to get equipment to the river when channelization is required. The river, according to state and federal law, must be deep enough to prevent flooding its banks.
P&Z Commissioner James Jacobs asked how marketable the property is, since it is mostly floodplain. Roberts pointed out that most of Truth or Consequences is floodplain. He said structures within the BOR easement and flood plain are allowed, although stricter engineering plans apply.
Roberts said that part of the river is always maintained at a certain level in order to keep the hot springs pressurized, which makes the riverside land “unique,” and thus marketable.
Commissioner Joey Perry said she is not clear on the steps required in approving master plans, subdivision plans and special use permits for R/CPUD zones. She asked city staff to conduct a workshop on the processes.
City Manager Juan Fuentes said this will be a second agenda item added to the workshop on sign code, still to be scheduled.