September 29, 2017

Crystal Ortega
Clerk of the Council / Legislative Officer
Albuquerque City Council
1 Civic Plaza
Rm: 9087
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Mikaela Renz-Whitmore -IDO Project Manager
Carol Toffaleti – Senior Planner / IDO
Russell D. Brito – Urban Design and Development Division
Petra Morris – Albuquerque City Council Planning Manager
Isaac Benton – District 2 Councilor, Council President

RE: IDO Public Comment & Update


Ms. Ortega:

Hello Everyone –

On Wednesday (at 5:00 PM) I attended the Land Use, Planning & Zoning Committee meeting – Councilor Isaac Benton sitting as Chair – to hear a hearing involving a piece of legislation that Ike Benton has sponsored and in which Ike Benton, and three others, discussed, and I believe voted on, regarding recommendations for finalizing the draft revisions to the proposed Integrated Development Ordinance / IDO for consideration by the full Council in October.

I remind everyone that Ike Benton is a NM licensed architect and a building contractor who has an exceptional vested interest in both the legislation and in the proceedings, as is made perfectly clear on his Profile Page on the City of Albuquerque website

So what is IDO?

  • IDO is the Albuquerque Integrated Development Ordinance.
  • IDO is the “second half” of the A.R.T. project.
  • IDO is a total rewrite of the Albuquerque Comprehensive Zoning Code (and other codes and plans) that will, among other things, totally transform virtually the entire A.R.T. corridor.
  • IDO allows virtually all existing lots and properties along Central Avenue to be replaced with five-story, 65-foot-high structures. In fact, pursuant to IDO, this is the “preferred” use.
  • IDO allows virtually all of the existing Raynolds Neighborhood, starting at the alley between 15th Street in Huning Castle and 14th Street, to be rezoned to R-ML, a zoning designation that allows lots to be as narrow as 30 feet, and residential dwellings, including multi-family rental units, three (3) stories high. Parking garages will NOT be allowed to accommodate the areas’ cars. Full build-out in the Raynolds Neighborhood would result in at least a 500% increase in the Neighborhood population, and the creation of a three-story high wall along the entire east border of Huning Castle.
  • The purposed build-up and build-out inherent to IDO is to transform the entire Central Avenue Corridor into a high density, intensely populated, development where virtually everyone living along the corridor is totally, or substantially, dependent upon bus transportation for every act in their daily lives, including employment, shopping, and recreation.
  • IDO apparently makes absolutely no recommendations, or provisions, for the improvement of sidewalks, ADA accessibility, or walkability in general.

    Civilized sidewalk widths & setbacks.

  • IDO significantly expands the definition of Community Residential Programs (CRPs) by redefining them as Community Residential Facilities (CRFs). The new CRF designation apparently makes eight (8) guest resident bed & breakfasts and ‘airbnb’s’ permissive throughout the Huning Castle Neighborhood, as well as virtually all other ‘group home’ 8-person accommodations.

I believe that it is clear that IDO represents wrongful special interest legislation that has the potential to make a limited few very rich at the expense of the vast majority of Albuquerque homeowners and residents. It is clear that the primary beneficiaries are major developers, and the architects and engineers that design their projects and developments.

Also potentially benefiting are those in the real estate industry, surveyors, property speculators, and, at least initially, banks.

The hills, mountains, and valleys of the “wild west” are littered with the remanents and remains of this Boomtown / Ghost town reality and mentality. IDO is, I believe, nothing more than a Modern iteration of this type of consciousness.

The theory is that “everyone” will leave where they are now living, and flock (move from another state) to the new western Boomtown where there are jobs and growth based entirely on just ‘growth for growth’s sake’. It’s always seen as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. IF the population comes, and IF riches are made, then when the opportunities are played out, the overbuilt place inevitably experiences a sudden crash, in which real estate values approach zero, and a new environment in which virtually everybody defaults on their loans and borrowings, and leaves town; too often in search of a new Boomtown, where the cycle repeats again.

Typically, those that ‘made a killing’ during the boom, relocate their residence to a mansion on a hill in some idyllic spot in an out-of-state location, not worrying about those ‘poor folks’ at the other end that ‘lost everything’. The entire process is known as “churn,” a concept that the largest developers and speculators understand well as a way to make the ‘big bucks’.

At the IDO Land Use, Planning & Zoning Committee meeting, during an allowed two-minute-per-speaker public comment, an Albuquerque Hispanic gentleman rose and stated, “I have lived in Albuquerque for 75 years. It’s a generally wonderful place, but all these outsiders keep wanting to come in and make Albuquerque into a place that looks like someplace elsewhere, some other city. They don’t respect Albuquerque for the place that it is, nor the people who live here.”

(Paraphrased from memory – a CD audio recording of the exact comment can be purchased from Council Services.)

Naomi Klein

IDO is sudden and cruel. It represents Shock Doctrine and Shock and Awe theory at its worst.

Instead of allowing town meetings, open and frank (and fair) interactive public discussion, input, and debate, the process is marked by generally unidentified “experts,” working with various out-of-state contractors, and local ‘big business’ development firms that have a huge financial stake in the outcome. Even the IDO wording is obscure and obtuse, and the IDO documents arrangement is hopelessly confusing, unless you are a “Planning Expert.” The lack of practical, hands-on construction experience by IDO staff is blatantly obvious in the approach and wording of the IDO document.

The entire 539 page IDO document appears to be mostly a cut-and-paste affair, with numerous less than meaningfully informative illustrative illustrations added.

We are in New Mexico, right?

Further, as the very first citizen meeting speaker pointed out, the entire IDO process is fundamentally racist and elitist. There is virtually no reach-out to Native American groups, pueblos, and peoples, and the entire IDO document is not even available in Spanish.

Since this letter is also addressed to Council Services, pursuant to public input procedures, I would add that my primary and principal appeal is that the IDO process is slowed down and reconsidered, that public town-hall meetings be held, that if one staff advocate is given a certain amount of time to speak, that ALL members of the public be given at least the same amount of individual time.

I believe that the IDO document should be written so that it is clear and self-evident, in a format and manner that it needs no “expert” interpretation or explanation.

[Note: Churn – 3 [ with obj. ] (of a broker) encourage frequent turnover of (investments) in order to generate commission.]

Donald Clayton