Las Cruces Country Club land development plan moves forward

LAS CRUCES – The former site of the Las Cruces Country Club is in the process of being developed, and the city says the landowner’s intent is to develop the area under a community plan.

While the Las Cruces City Council will have the final say on the rezoning of 75 acres of vacant country club land, development plans advanced Tuesday night when the city’s planning and zoning commission voted to accept the recommendations personnel for zone changes.

“I have seen this property vacant for quite a long time and will be very happy to see it developed,” Commission Chairman Harvey Gordon said after voting yes.

The Apodaca Plan, adopted by the Las Cruces City Council in 2018 after a public consultation process, is a long-term vision for the city’s 730-acre development, which includes Apodaca Park; the old country club and golf course off North Main Street; a segment of the east-west avenue of Madrid; an old flood dam on Triviz Drive known as the Villa Mora property; and many houses north and south of Madrid Avenue.

The country club property primarily constitutes focus area A of the plan – the focus area amounts to 158 acres. The target area is further subdivided into several suggested land use zones including commercial business centers, mixed-use centers, high-density townhouses, single-family homes, and green spaces.

The master plan does not suggest zoning for the intervention area.

In 2020, Nebraska-based real estate developer Zachary Wiegert proposed forming a development district of land tax increases to incentivize and fund the development of different types of housing, retail, office and entertainment , but the deal ultimately fell through through Mayor Ken Miyagishima’s subsequent questions and concerns before the city council could vote to form the district.

Following his withdrawal from the TIDD request, Wiegert told theSun-News his company could either rezone the land and develop it – at a much higher cost to his company than if there had been tax increase funding – keep the land without developing, selling or developing it under his zoning current single-family residential.

Later that year, Three Crosses Regional Hospital opened on part of the former country club grounds, still leaving the 75 acres undeveloped zoned for single-family housing.

Trois Croix Regional Hospital on Friday, October 2, 2020.

Wiegert’s property development company, Tetrad Property Group, has submitted multiple zoning requests to the city for these 75 acres which are intended to conform to the land use zones defined in the Apodaca plan.

Randy McMillan, president of NAI First Valley Realty in Las Cruces and one of the property’s landowners, said in an email, “We are moving in the direction the city has always wanted with this area. of the city in full compliance with the Apodaca Plan.”

Related:City manager Pili will try to negotiate a new development contract for the former country club grounds

Wiegert and Tetrad Property Group could not be reached.

If the zoning changes are passed by council, the city says the developer intends to use the master plan as a “master plan” for development of the land. The application for the zone change is expected to be presented to council in March, according to lead planner Katherine Harrison-Rogers.

“No future development will take place without adherence to the Apodaca Master Plan as a master plan, including but not limited to road design, trail and pedestrian connections, use of land and location of buildings,” city staff wrote as the recommended condition of the area. modification of the town planning and zoning council.

Although Eva Nevarez St. John, president of the Country Club Neighborhood Association, argued before the commission on Tuesday that the zoning requests do not conform to the descriptions of each proposed land use zone in the master plan.

She points out that in the master plan, an open-plan recreation area intended to connect Apodaca Park to the Outfall Channel Trail suggests that “certain detached or attached single-family residential developments may be permitted” if they are adjacent to another residential area and constitute 10% or less of the area. The zoning application for the same area, from Tetrad, would allow 50% of the area to be residential.

Or, she also points out, Tetrad is proposing to add commercial zoning to a “flexible district” zone described in the plan as intended for townhouses, single-family dwellings and offices.

Nevarez St. John described a similar incongruity with the Apodaca plan for all zone change requests.

“So if that’s your master plan, you have to stick to what’s in the master plan, and they’re not,” Nevarez St. John said.

Still, the commission voted 5-0 on Jan. 25 to accept the staff’s recommendations.

Michael McDevitt is a city and county government reporter for the Sun-News. He can be reached at 575-202-3205, or @MikeMcDTweets on Twitter.