Residents have concerns about property plat

By Tony Parra

Community residents filled up the Portales city hall on Tuesday at the city council meeting to listen in to the presentation of the subdivision preliminary plat which is planned to go up off of University Drive across from the Eastern New Mexico University baseball field.
Ortega said the planning commission will have another meeting to review the final subdivision plat. Economic Development Manager Darla Wilhoit said there probably won’t be a planning commission meeting in July. Wilhoit said if there are no applications to review then they do not hold meetings, and that is currently the case for July 19.
The owners of the land, Victor and Linda Baca, have tried to create a subdivision on the land before. Their first application was for a zone change to the property from single-family to multi-family. The application for zone change was presented to the planning and zoning commission in May of 2003.
At the time, the planning commission denied the request because of the following reasons: Possible increase of parties, loud music, crime and area transients, according to an article in last May’s News-Tribune.
“It’s politics,” Victor Baca said in the article. “I’m not sure who is rubbing elbows with who and that some people are working with each other. It’s a buddy system.”
This time, however, the application is for single-family subdivision. Despite the new application, citizens showed up to express their concerns over the drainage and emergency access (police, fire, ambulances, etc).
“I’m concerned in case of an emergency,” Ronnie Birdsong said to a group of citizens gathered in front of the city hall building to view the blueprints of the subdivision. “What happens if there is a baseball game? Where is the emergency access going to be?”
Wilhoit said there have been meetings with other city officials and engineers throughout the process of creating the design of the subdivision. She said fire department officials have seen the proposed emergency access and feel the projected alleys will fill the need.
“We have listened to the concerns,” Wilhoit said. “Department heads of the water, sanitation and fire departments have already looked at it. We’ve done our best to address these issues.”
She said more than likely the final subdivision plat form will be presented in one of the August meetings. Wilhoit said the planning commission meetings take place on the first and third Mondays of the month.
“They’re (Bacas) doing everything they can to meet requirements,” Ortega said. “They are meeting the state statutes in accordance with the law. A lot of input has gone into the designs. Our process is fair. It’s well thought out and the goal is to create a well-constructed subdivision.”
Also at the meeting:
• Marilyn Rapp was sworn in as treasurer at the conclusion of the meeting. Rapp has been working as an interim treasurer since the retirement of Reba Robertson in late February.