Acequia groups appeal Valverde Commons vote


Three acequia associations have joined together to appeal the town Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of a Planned Unit Development known as Valverde Commons. The appeal was filed Dec. 19 by attorney Fred Waltz, who also represents the Taos Valley Acequia Association.

  The Town Council, therefore, has 30-60 days to hold a hearing on the appeal.

  The basis for the appeal is the claim that the relocation of the malaria ditch on the 14-acre property could damage the Sanchez, Lovatos and Molino acequias.

  The developer, represented by Bob Draper, told the planning and zoning commissioners that relocation of the malaria ditch within the property is permitted by state law since it is not an “ancient” acequia.

  The three acequias do not intersect the Valverde Commons project, but Waltz said state law declares ancient acequias “may not be disturbed at all” by development.

  The Planning and Zoning Commission’s ruling authorized the annexation of a portion of the project, the Planned Unit Development and a rezoning from Residential Agricultural (one home per three acres) to R-2 (two homes per acre).

  Thecouncil,however,mustapprove the Planned Unit Development and the annexation before it is final.

  The developers intend to cluster 28 hours on one side of the property and leave the remainder of the property as a public park.

  The existing ditch on the property, which Draper and other representatives of the development said was created as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project in the 1930s, would not be protected by the ancient acequia regulations.

  The Planning and Zoning commissioners did not give the project unanimous approval at the board’s December meeting. Commissioner Josefa Cruz and Cippy Medina voted no to the zoning change; Medina voted against the annexation; and Cruz said no to the subdivision plat and Planned Unit Development approval.

  Waltz expects the council will schedule a special meeting on the appeal.