La Cienega Valley Association

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LCVA News – June 29, 2015

Fourth of July Community Breakfast

My apologies for the late notice but please don’t forget the Community breakfast this Saturday 9-11 a.m. at the Community Center. It is our fourth annual “Red. White and Blue Breakfast” so please join us. I am encouraging stories of the valley as part of the breakfast and I have a couple to share. The Reverend Heath and how the LCVA came to be.

Keir and Carol are out of town so we are looking for kitchen volunteers. Please let us know if you would like to help out.

La Cieneguilla Open Space

The County’s Open Space Program has contracted with Ecotone to create a management plan for the County Open Space in La Cieneguilla which includes area along the Santa Fe River. The La Cieneguilla Open Space is one of three County properties that are creating management plans in conjunction with Ecotone, a Santa Fe landscape consulting firm.

Terry Lease, Facilities, Operational and Maintenance Manager and Maria Lohman, Community Planner with the County’s Open Space Program will be leading the planning activity with Ecotone, with Ms. Lohman serving as the County’s community liaison. Ms. Lohman has assured the LCVA that there will be a series of opportunities for residents to provide ideas and suggestions on the management plan.

The LCVA appreciates and supports the County’s effort to create a community-based management plan for the La Cieneguilla Open Space but recognizes the subsequent importance and need to actively manage the Open Space.

Santa Fe River Traditional Communities Collaborative

Active comprehensive management plans for all the properties along the Santa Fe River is one of the goals for the Santa Fe River Traditional Communities Collaborative (SFRTCC) a group the LCVA has co-chaired for the last four years. That effort was recently bolstered when the Santa Fe Girls School committed to being involved in the efforts of the Collaborative. The Girls’ School has actively managed their piece of the river just south of the Paseo Real Bridge for several years as part of an environmental program at the school.

Management plans are the long-term goals of the Collaborative but there are more immediate and real dangers caused by the failure to adequately manage properties along the river. This includes fire issues as a result of coyote willow dying in the river and the great number of trees that have been felled by the beaver population but the flood concern may be of greater concern. As the main water drainage from the City, the Santa Fe River has seen major flows of water rushing through La Cieneguilla all the way to La Bajada. This is definitely not a matter of if there will be another flood event but rather when will it happen.

The combination of a large flood event coupled with the great amount of debris in the river has the potential for devastating impacts below the City’s treatment plan. The raging river and debris would first hit the already weakened Calle Debra Bridge first which wouldn’t be much of an obstacle. The surge would continue down the river with the real chance of doing damage to County Road 56 before hitting the already blocked Paseo Real Bridge and further damaging Paseo Real.

The impact on the farms and ranches below is hard to estimate but it would be serious and difficult to fix. I think we can all imagine the difficulty of removing flood driven debris. Through their discussion and with the guidance of member Charlie Gonzales from Agua Fria the SFRTCC may have determined a way to mitigate the potential flood damage through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Mr. Gonzales who has worked for both the County and City in related land use positions invited Vicki Lucero, the County’s Building and Development Services Manager to the May SFRTCC meeting.

Ms. Lucero was able to explain how FEMA establishes flood flow levels which can predict/estimate future flood impacts. Ms. Lucero was also able to provide maps of both La Cieneguilla and La Cienega indicating where FEMA has already established flood flow levels. Interestingly the measurements end at the borders of both La Cienega and La Cieneguilla.

Ms. Lucero explained that if our community can convince FEMA to continue the flood flow level measurements through our communities we may be eligible for federal funding to mitigate the potential flood damage. The SFRTCC is hoping to have a FEMA representative attend their July meeting to discuss the process in getting flood flow levels measurements.

The LCVA will keep you posted.

Family Transfers and Variance Requests

The LCVA is currently responding to 2 proposed small lot family transfers in Upper La Cienega and a variance request for building in an arroyo without the appropriate permit. The LCVA generally opposes family transfers based on water issues and will express that concern. Family transfers are granted or denied administratively by the County’s Land Use Administrator Penny Ellis Green and do not go before the County Development Review Committee, unfortunately.

The LCVA will ensure that the proposed family transfers meet the five-year ownership requirement and include the La Cienega Watershed Conditions. The LCVA will oppose the variance request for building in an arroyo. This practice has gotten out of hand in parts of our community and needs to be stopped.

Fall Festival

The Pueblo of Pojoaque is considering a request to allow our community to hold a fall festival at the Downs. The fall festival is tentatively planned for early October and will be a low-key event with a focus on kids for the first half of the day with music and entertainment through the afternoon and early evening.

Please look for future notices on the details of the event and opportunities to participate.

Sunrise Springs Wait Person

Sunrise Springs will have a soft opening beginning in August. For the first few weeks there will be small groups of people coming to the Integrative Wellness Resort and they are need of a wait person to work from 5-8 p.m. each evening. There are no tips but the pay is $15.00 an hour.

Please contact me if you are interested in working as a waitperson. .

Bus Service 2016

La Cienega is on schedule for bus service in the spring of 2016. In the initial plan La Cieneguilla was not included in the route but that is being addressed by Marlene Foster who is the LCVA liaison to the North Central Regional Transit District.

This will be a few months of trial runs which will determine whether or not our communities have the need and demand for regular bus service.

Park Location Confusion

The LCVA Park Committee recently learned that the County has decided to place our proposed community park location in an area that had not been previously discussed by our community. The location is close to the site identified several years ago by our community but the County’s proposed location came as a surprise and there was not explanation for the change.

The LCVA Park Committee will be working with County staff to resolve the confusion. As planned the site will also include enough space for a future new community center.

Library Committee

A sincere request, please no more books.

Our Library Committee has been overwhelmed by book contributions and books simply being dropped off at the community center are causing extra work for the crew led by Committee Chair Linda Grill with the able assistance of Mary Dixon and JoAnne C’de Baca.

At this point the library is only accepting children’s books.

Trash Issues

Someone recently asked me who to contact if they encountered an issue with trash. In this case it was finding bags of trash dumped off of Paseo C’de Baca. The County Enforcement Officer is Joe Martinez who can be reached at 992-3032. Mr. Martinez does not hesitate to look through trash to find the name or names of the law breakers.

Community Plan and County Code Review

Santa Fe County is hosting a series of open house meetings to review the 2015 Community Plan Updates. The Open Houses also include reviews of the Overlay District Drafts and proposed zoning.

Last Tuesday over 20 residents attended the first of two community Open Houses. The next County Open House for our community will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8 at the community center. The LCVA encourages all residents who are interested in the proposed zoning to attend this meeting. County officials and Planning Committee members will be available to respond to questions.

The LCVA would like to sincerely thank all the members of the La Cienega-La Cieneguilla Planning for their hard work, patience and dedication to community.