La Cienega Valley Association

Protecting and preserving our acequia culture and agricultural traditions…

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LCVA News – October 5, 2014

The agenda for Monday’s LCVA Board Meeting is at the bottom of this page. An article follows that was written by Dr. Devin Bent who will be attending Monday’s meeting. Please take the time to read it. It is important for our community.

Halloween Harvest Festival

LCVA Halloween Harvest Festival update coming soon, our committee has accomplished a lot in a short period of time but there is still plenty to do and plenty of opportunities to be involved. Please contact Carol Cooper at [email protected] if you would like to help. Please contact Carl Dickens at [email protected] if you have a pumpkin connection.

Article by Dr. Devin Bent

The Santa Fe County Sustainable Land Development Code (SLDC) targets the acequia-irrigated crop-producing areas of the county for urbanization – i.e, higher density. Is there anything positive to be said about this?

1. An earlier message outlined the destructive impact on agriculture including farm to table, farmers’ market, sustainable agriculture, etc.

2. Beyond this, the people living in the rural/agricultural areas irrigated by acequias simply do not want to be urbanized. The Board of County Commissioners came up north and held a hearing in Pojoaque. They got a gym full of people, and the speakers said they did not want to be urbanized, and the crowd cheered. Not one speaker said they wanted urbanization. The simple fact is that those people who live in these areas do so because they choose to do so. Increasingly, they practice sustainable agriculture. If they prized greater density, they would live elsewhere. Why is Santa Fe County engaged in massive social engineering – telling us that they know best?

3. There is only one justification for urbanization/higher density presented in the Sustainable Growth Management Plan, and that is alleged greater efficiency and thus alleged lower per household cost result from increased density. That is, at least according to a New Jersey college professor citing his own unpublished, non-peer-reviewed, study. But these savings are, at best, questionable. Only a limited number of county services will see lower costs from increased density. Other services will experience higher per capita costs. A major, published, refered study on the county level found that total per capita expenditures decreased up to a density of 250 person per square mile and increased above 250 persons per square mile. Population Growth, Density and the Costs of Providing Public Services, by Helen F. Ladd in Urban Studies, Vol. 29, No. 2, 1992, pp. 273-295. The Pojoaque Valley is already considerably denser than this.

Further, harsh reality tells us that higher density results in higher costs and thus higher taxes. New Jersey, for example, is incredibly more dense than New Mexico. Yet, the latest data from the Tax Foundation shows that New Jersey’s state and local tax burden as a percent of income is the second highest in the nation. New Mexico is down at number 37. (

In dollar terms, the average New Jerseyite pays $4,659 per year in New Jersey state and local taxes. The average New Mexican pays $2,089 or less than half the New Jersey taxes. The per capita yearly savings we get by living here, and not there, is $2,570.

For a family of four, the cost of moving to New Jersey would be more than $10,000 per year.

Perhaps those people, if any, who want higher density can move to New Jersey. The rest of us are happy here.

La Cienega Valley Association Board Meeting
October 10, 2014 – 7:00 p.m., La Cienega Community Center
Preserving Our Rural Way of Life


Special Guest Dr. Devin Bent
A Discussion on the Santa Fe County Sustainable Growth Management Plan and Sustainable Land Development Code Impacts on Rural Communities

Call to Order

  1. Approval of Agenda
  2. Approval September Minutes
  3. Matters from the Public
  4. President’s Report
    • Halloween Harvest Festival Update
    • Community Liaison with North Central Rural Transportation District
    • La Bajada Ranch Update
    • County Failure to Enforce Water Ordinances – A Response
    • BLM Sign Issues and Lack of Community Involvement
  5. Committee Reports
  6. Newsletter Content
  7. Matters from the Board
  8. Adjournment