A shopping mall at Paseo del Volcan and Westphalia Boulevard closes in after Rio Rancho’s board meeting Thursday night.
At the Town Hall meeting, members of the governing body unanimously approved the land use rezoning of 9.3 acres northwest of the retail intersection residential mixed use. The State Land Office owns the plot and much of the land around it, and last year asked the public if it should be sold for retail development. Mayor Gregg Hull voted in the absence of Councilman Jeremy Lenentine.
State Land Office officer Jim Strozier of Consensus Planning said the zoning change, along with an amendment to the area’s master plan, was part of the refinement of a 23.5-acre parcel for the mall. He didn’t say which stores might be there, and developers often don’t know which companies will come until much later in the process.
“It’s something we really need, and I’m really excited to see what’s going to happen out there on that corner,” Councilman Bob Tyler said.
“I think we’re all going to be really, really happy when we see this start,” he said.
In another matter, board members unanimously approved a site plan for an RV storage lot at the corner of NM 528 and Rockaway Boulevard.
Stephen Litsas, agent for landowner Macritchie Storage Ventures, said the facility will be paved and have about 405 covered RV parking spaces, as well as wash and dump stations. The main entrance should be off Rockaway, west of the existing mall.
Two residents of the nearby neighborhood, Suzanne Santillanes and Suzanne Walters, protested that they wanted a business for their children in space, washing motorhomes would use too much water and they were worried about pollution from washing vehicles and owners dumping their sewage. .
Litsas said RV washing would use less water than a retail establishment, the property had been vacant for decades with no other proposed use, and RV wash water and sewage would go into the city sewer system. He expects four vehicles a day to enter and exit the facility.
Councilman Paul Wymer said RV storage had been a permissive use of the land since at least 1989, which was zoned for manufacturing and commercial use.
“My opinion is that it’s pretty low-intensity use,” he said.
Businesses permitted by the zoning include adult-only bookstores or theaters, concrete plants, and sheet metal sales.
“While you might want something else (here), you might get something else that’s much worse,” Wymer said.
Hull said the governing body needed an overwhelming reason to refuse the site plan or the move would take ownership rights.
In other matters, the governing body approved a site plan for Brew Lab 101 to make its rear terrace seating area permanent and approved the consent program, which included a budget adjustment for the replacement of the roof of the Esther Bone Memorial Library.