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IDO Planners: Keep Neighborhoods Under Control

The words jump off the pages of the city planning documents, and if you're a member of an Albuquerque neighborhood association that opposes the Integrated Development Ordinance, smack you across the face.

“Keep neighborhoods under control,” says one line.

“Eliminating Sector plans,” says another.

“Growth no matter what,” says a third.

And then there's this:

“Rebalancing neighborhood association input into development process (too much power without responsibility: Need to either remove from process or give them a charge – they can say no to a development only if they offer another area within the neighborhood where it would be more appropriate.”

The words of hostility to neighborhood associations by city bureaucrats are contained in two IDO planning session summaries that were made by city employees.

The first session was on July 16, 2013, and talks about the city needing higher density developments and neighborhood associations having too much power.

The second session was held on Jan. 3, 2014 and contains – twice – the line about keeping neighborhood associations under control.

To some neighborhood association members, the planning documents are proof that city bureaucrats were biased from the beginning in favor developers and development over neighborhoods and their residents.

“We are going to remove from the process the neighborhoods and the neighborhood associations. I find that deeply troubling,” Jerry Worall, president of the Westside Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, said recently. “It's development at any price, build, build, build.”

The Westside Coalition gave city councilors the two planning documents on Nov. 7 during a meeting in which the council was voting on amendments to the 397-page IDO.

Only councilor Ken Sacnhez seemed concerned about the potential bias on the part of city planners. But Council President Isaac Benton dismissed the documents, and their potentially explosive revelations of bureaucratic bias, as people throwing out any and all ideas in free-for-all brainstorming sessions.

You can read the documents, which are linked above, and judge for yourself.

The council is expected to approve the IDO at a special meeting on Nov. 13.

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