Groups Challenge Safe Outdoor Space Process and Dawn Legacy Point’s application
For Release: December 30, 2022
Contact: Tom Garrity, firstname.lastname@example.org, (505) 898-8689
Albuquerque, NM – Seven Albuquerque organizations filed their objections to the approval of the Dawn Legacy Pointe (DLP) Safe Outdoor Space permit to allow a homeless tent encampment at 1250 Menaul NE. The approval was granted by the Code Compliance Manager of the City of Albuquerque (City) Planning Department. The seven groups, filing separate appeals, include: Santa Barbara Martinez Town Neighborhood Association, Crowne Plaza Albuquerque, Sunset Memorial Park, Menaul School, Greater Albuquerque Hotel Lodgers Association, LifeROOTS and the Albuquerque Hotel Project (Ramada Plaza Hotel).
The appeal filed by the Rodey Law Firm, on behalf of the Crowne Plaza Albuquerque’s owner (property is located due east of the tent encampment) cited multiple flaws in the DLP application and City process, including:
- Inaccurate “location description” on DLP’s application
- Arbitrarily increasing the tent encampment’s footprint from 0.78 acres to 11.7623 acres; an increase of 1,407%.
- No mitigation of the expected adverse impacts of the tent encampment on the surrounding neighborhoods and businesses.
- Adverse environmental conditions on the site not addressed
- Inadequate security plan.
- Inadequate social and physical infrastructure
- Failure to consider the glaringly, obvious inappropriateness of the site for the intended occupants.
- Disregard of the right of surrounding residents and businesses to rely on existing zoning, by approving an incompatible land use in the midst of a cohesive neighborhood.
- City-expedited process to grant the permit, without notice or hearing, violated the due process rights of surrounding residents and businesses.
Sunset Memorial Park, located less than 100 feet of the city sanctioned tent encampment, filed an appeal to the DLP’s permit approval stating the organization never contacted them and that the move lacked any “opportunity for community input or a meeting to discuss the projects’ impact on the neighborhood.” The appeal also states that the DLP “application does not provide for social services and support facilities to the residents, as required by the IDO (Integrated Development Ordinance.” It continues that the SDLP application does not even comply with IDO requirements for obtaining a Temporary Use Permit.
According to the Sunset Memorial Park appeal, “Sunset has struggled with homeless people setting tents just outside the park, using drugs inside the park, disposing of garbage and waste inside the park, using water fountains to bathe, aggressively approaching families who are at the park paying their respect to deceased loved ones, and even removing anything of value left on graves, crypts, and niches.”
Menaul School, an independent sixth through twelfth grade day and boarding school in Albuquerque, located on its property for the past 126 years, filed a 91-page appeal stating that over the past few years Menaul School has suffered tens of thousands of dollars of on-site damages, as well as significant negative impact upon the School’s ability to recruit local and international students.
In it’s appeal the school says that it has been necessary to provide 24-hour security and camera coverage across the 35 acre campus as well as installing higher and more substantial fencing.
Their appeal also states that placement of a tent encampment, about 1,200 feet from the school, will serve as a magnet for other unhoused individuals, essentially, across the street from the campus will only exacerbate the situation, causing additional adverse impact on Menaul School.
The Ramada Plaza Hotel appeal stated the City’s decision “approving the Homeless Camp was arbitrary and capricious, was inadequately noticed, violated due process, failed to comply with state law for changes in zoning” and failed on a multitude of other levels.
The Greater Albuquerque Hotel Lodgers Association is concerned about the negative impacts the issue of homelessness is having on the city’s reputation as a visitator destination and how the City’s SOS DLP approval runs counter to the just completed Menaul Redevelopment Study. Specifically, their appeal cites a closed door process by the City which did not allow for any public comment, ignoring precedent for other “special use” or “conditional use” applications. It also raises a number of other deficiencies including that its member hotel properties were never notified by DLP, ignoring General Procedures for Public Notice.
The 27-page appeal filed by the Santa Barbara Martineztown Neighborhood Association, where the tent encampment is currently located, cited multiple instances of flaws in the City’s process and DLP’s application including:
- Normal application processes were ignored
- The City failed to give notice and opportunity to be heard
- Preferential treatment the City provided to a member of DLP
- The City ’s failure to develop operating procedures for Safe Outdoor Spaces
- DLPs plagiarizing of a Las Cruces area program documents, cutting and pasting them into their application.
- DLPs deficient security plan
- The City is creating a public nuisance
- The City ’s Planning Department ignoring processes outlined in its Integrated Development Ordinance
- Detrimental impact of the tent encampment on Martineztown Santa Barbara and its neighborhoods
LifeROOTS, Inc is a New Mexico non-profit institution that provides programming, medical support and services to children and adults who are differently abled. Their appeal says they were never notified of the city-sanctioned encampment and say that the permit “as issued places this community at dire risk of personal harm and ultimately threatens the viability of the organization because the safety and wellbeing of its participants and employees cannot be provided.” The organization’s 63-page appeal lists, in detail the many failings of the City’s processes and negative impacts on the community.
In an effort to raise awareness about the issue of Safe Outdoor Spaces, citizens and small business owners have developed an informational website at wwwSOSABQ.com to provide more information about the program and how residents can make their voices heard on these important issues.
About SOSABQ is an informational outreach supported by residents of the Santa Barbara Martinez Town residents and small business owners who are in favor of finding solutions for Albuquerque’s unhoused residents. The citizens would like to see the city finish what it started with the Gateway Center approach and provide solutions for the unhoused in areas where there are centralized services. More information can be found on SOSABQ.com
# # #