Council requests more information

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Portales city councilors tossed a preliminary subdivision plat approval back to city staff and the planning commission Tuesday, looking for more information.

Desert Oasis Subdivision, proposed by David Sanders of Portales, seeks a mixed-use development with up to three commercial lots and an undetermined number of residential lots on a 25.6-acre parcel east of Wal-Mart, cornering at Kilgore Street and Roosevelt Road 4.

City councilors declined to vote on the plat after several councilors and the town attorney expressed concerns about traffic issues in the area.

“I believe there are some potential problems,” City Attorney Stephen Doerr said.

“There are at least three access points onto Kilgore (on the plat) and potentially five accesses in that area. I really think for future planning you need to look at limited access onto Kilgore.”

Mayor Orlando Ortega agreed.

“That Kilgore Street is busy already and if we increase the access points, it really aggravates the problems,” Ortega said.

City planning director Steve Standifer said that ideally he would like to have items such as access points, curb cuts and other planning items addressed by city ordinance.

Doerr and City Manager Debi Lee suggested that the council request the police department do a traffic survey of the area and bring back recommendations. Council also wanted staff to check into additional right-of-way around the intersection, since Sanders was offering additional right-of-way on two sides.

“The research and investigation you mentioned tonight is very important for us to make an intelligent decision,” Councilor Robert De Los Santos said.

The subdivision is actually just outside the city limits, but because of its adjacency is subject to city review. Councilors learned at the meeting the project had not yet been reviewed by Roosevelt County Commissioners.

In other action councilors:

• Approved ordinances replacing outdated sections of the city building code. According to city staff the changes bring the codes in line with state code and are necessary for maintaining insurance ratings.

• Passed a resolution authorizing the mayor to sign and submit a petition for annexation of property south of the Portales Cemetery. The annexation would satisfy the city’s comprehensive plan and ensure that land use patterns don’t conflict with the city’s interests.

• Approved an easement agreement with Gary Watkins for an encroaching fence on property at 208 W. 10th. Watkins, a city councilor abstained from the vote.

• Passed a resolution authorizing the mayor to execute grant agreements for projects approved by the 2006 Legislature.

• Approved a resolution allowing staff to begin the application process for potential funding of a project that would repave a section of U.S. 70 in downtown Portales. The application would be for $916,000 and would potentially pave about four blocks.

• Approved a joint powers resolution with the county seeking emergency money from the state related to the recent snowstorms.

• Gave staff the OK to pursue leasing space at City Hall to PNM for one staff person who would collect utility payments for the gas company.