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05-20-2014WS 1 PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION 2 WORK SESSION 3 FOR THE 4 CITY OF LAS CRUCES 5 City Council Chambers 6 May 20, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. 7 8 BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: 9 Godfrey Crane, Chairman 10 William Stowe, Vice-Chair 11 Charles Beard, Secretary 12 Joanne Ferrary, Member 13 Kirk Clifton, Member (arrived 6:06) 14 15 BOARD MEMBERS ABSENT: 16 17 STAFF PRESENT: 18 Carol McCall, Planner, CLC 19 Becky Baum, Recording Secretary, RC Creations, LLC 20 21 OTHERS PRESENT: 22 Eddie Binns, Binns Construction 23 Steve Chavira, Las Cruces Homebuilders Assoc. 24 25 I. CALL TO ORDER (6:04) 26 27 Crane: Good evening, welcome to the work session of the Planning and Zoning 28 Commission. This is not a public input meeting but nevertheless we will 29 have verbatim minutes taken as we usually do at our meetings. So for the 30 record I will introduce the commissioners present. On my far right is 31 Commissioner Stowe who will tell us which district he is because I forgot 32 to remind myself. District 1. 33 34 Stowe: Number one. 35 36 Crane: And then Commissioner Ferrary who I think is five. 37 38 Ferrary: Six 39 40 Crane: Six. Okay, and Commissioner. 41 42 Ferrary: Oh no, I'm sorry, it is a five. It is District 5. 43 44 Crane: Do you want my vote? And Commissioner Beard. 45 46 Beard: District 2. 1 1 2 Crane: District 2. And I'm the representative of District 4, Godfrey Crane, and the 3 Chair. 4 5 It. APPROVAL OF WORK SESSION MINUTES 6 1. August 20, 2013 7 8 Crane: Normally our next item of business would be at a work session to vote on 9 accepting the minutes of the last work session but due to an administrative 10 slip of no great moment we don't have those minutes with us, they weren't I1 in our package so we will simply address that issue at the next work 12 session we have, whenever that is. 13 14 III. NEW BUSINESS 15 16 1. PA-14-014: Arroyo Preservation Plan. Update on the status of the Arroyo 17 Preservation Plan draft document (Discussion Only). The plan is citywide 18 encompassing all council districts. 19 20 Crane: So we'll continue to the next item of business which is Ms. McCall's 21 presentation regarding the arroyo preservation. 22 23 McCall: Thank you Mr. Chair, Commissioners. I'm Carol McCall from the 24 Community Development Department and I'm here to tell you about the 25 arroyo preservation plan that the city has been working on for some time. 26 At the moment it's in the first draft form. There has been a public input 27 period starting about March first and it will continue until about June sixth. 28 And as I mentioned in my packet and in my memo to you, if you have any 29 comments or suggestions for changes for this draft I would appreciate 30 having those by June sixth if possible so that I can incorporate them into 31 the revision that would come back to you on June 24th for your regular 32 public hearing meeting. 33 What I thought I would do is very briefly go through the structure 34 and the overall contents of the plan, you have a copy in your packets and 35 not spend a lot of time on each particular section or chapter until we get to 36 the issues and challenges and the goals part. I would prefer to have a 37 discussion about you know your questions and concerns and those 38 components of the plan rather than the earlier parts, so I'll just breeze 39 through those fairly quickly, but if you do have questions, please stop me 40 and I can go back. 41 This is the study area. The map is in your copy of the plan. 42 Essentially it is the arroyos and unnamed flood areas within the ETZ. 1 43 should say that the flood commission, Paul Dugie and Mary Evans at the 44 Dona Ana County Flood Commission have served on the technical team 45 that has helped me with this plan and so they have been reviewing it all 46 along and they have expressed interest at some point if the plan is 2 I adopted by the City of Las Cruces that they would perhaps review it and 2 modify it to a larger area and perhaps adopt a regional or a county arroyo 3 management plan. In the course of this process a lot of people have 4 asked me who owns the arroyos and who has jurisdiction over them. We 5 primarily think ... I think that the City of Las Cruces and the BLM and the 6 State Land Office are the primary people who had jurisdiction and 7 management authority, but it turns out that that's not the case; most of the 8 arroyos on the East Mesa are on state land. There are some that are 9 under the jurisdiction of the BLM, a couple that are under the jurisdiction of 10 NMSU, and Las Cruces Public Schools, and then the City of Las Cruces 11 of course. The City of Albuquerque up around the old landfill has some 12 property that goes through, includes an arroyo, and there are some 13 specific development companies that own portions of some of the arroyos; 14 one example is the Sonoma Ranch Golf Limited Partnership, there is quite 15 a large area up there that includes arroyos. And then there are many 16 many individual property owners who have parcels in the arroyos adjacent 17 to the arroyo. And I did a property search to find out how many people 18 owned property within a 300-foot buffer of the arroyos within the ETZ and 19 it came out to over 4,000, so there are a lot. 20 The idea of having an arroyo plan of some kind and protecting the 21 natural waterways goes back as far as 1956 in the first subdivision rules 22 that govern the city. It was again mentioned in the comprehensive plans 23 in 1968, 1999, and the comprehensive plan 2040 which was the update 24 process that was begun last year. It's also included in the stormwater 25 management plan that was adopted in 1992 and then another ... policy 26 plan, excuse me, and then a subsequent stormwater management plan in 27 2009. It's also mentioned in the Transport 2040 transportation 28 organization primarily addressing trails along the arroyos, adjacent to the 29 arroyos and in the parks and recreation master plan, again addressing 30 open space parks and trails. In the course of the public input meetings 31 and the stakeholder meetings people wanted to know what the purpose of 32 the plan was. It came up a number of times that there are ordinances, 33 regulations in place that govern how storm water management is guided 34 and trails and open space, that sort of thing, and so why do we need an 35 additional arroyo plan. It turns out that a lot of those plans that are already 36 adopted are fairly disparate and not connected to one and other, not 37 integrated very well into an overall kind of umbrella document that looks at 38 the big picture. So, one thing that this document tries to do is that very 39 thing, serve as a broad policy plan that incorporates trails, stormwater 40 management, flood control, open space protection, habitat, wildlife habitat 41 protection, and try to do it in a way that looks at the big picture from a 42 regional or a watershed scale. 43 This is the next chapter in the plan, it's called regional 44 characterization which is essentially a snap shot in time; what is the area 45 like now and I should say ... I should have mentioned at the beginning that 46 we quite often, most of the time I think, envision the East Mesa when 3 I we're talking about the arroyos, but there are arroyos on the West Mesa, 2 there just haven't been studies to the degree that the ones to the east 3 have because there isn't very much development up there and the storm 4 drain, the flood studies essentially go hand-in-hand with development. So 5 although a lot of the research and background information in the plan 6 comes from documents that were done from ... regarding the East Mesa, 7 those policies will still come into play as development moves west. So 1 8 won't go into the details but the regional characterization includes ... kind 9 of looks at ... takes a broad view and looks at the Chihuahuan Desert in 10 general and then the Organ Mountains, the West Mesa Escarpment, and 11 more specifically a description of the climate, the thunderstorms, and how 12 those impact the behavior of the arroyo. A brief description of soils, the 13 watersheds, the vegetation and the wildlife, and most of this information is 14 found in detail in other documents. I didn't really feel a need to go into a 15 lot of detail in this section regarding those, but they are cited in the plan for 16 people who want more information. There is a description and section on 17 the Las Cruces Dam and the Flood Control Dams primarily on the East 18 Mesa and they were intended essentially to protect the center part of Las 19 Cruces from floods such as is illustrated here. This is along Alameda 20 back in 1937. The dams that were built on the East Mesa were primarily 21 designed as 50 year dams to protect agricultural lands and were not 22 intended to protect development, so they had limited usefulness, although 23 they did protect the center of town. It was later in the 1970s when it was 24 determined that something larger would be needed and that's when the 25 Las Cruces Dam was built. 26 And then there is a description of how the arroyos and the open 27 lands around the city are used in general for recreation purposes, non- 28 motorized transportation like biking, although at this point I think mostly 29 the biking is recreational, trails and parks, and since there is a lot of 30 wildlife habitat and vegetation that isn't found anywhere else in the country 31 except in this part of the Chihuahuan Desert there are a lot of people who 32 just go out there to look at nature and study nature. 33 The issues and challenges section kind of laid in the process of 34 drafting this plan. Had an opportunities component added to it and this is 35 where we essentially give an overview of what some of the problems have 36 been over the years with the way the arroyos are being managed now and 37 then some suggestions for how they can be improved. And they're ... 38 roughly the regional characterization section includes the same 39 components that are discussed in the issues, challenges, and 40 opportunities section. And then the goals and policies chapter later on 41 address those things and in policy form to guide future decision making. 42 So there is of course development pressure as Las Cruces has grown. 43 There has been more of an interest of building closer to the arroyos, as 44 close as possible, with that comes some flood control problems because 45 where the arroyos want to go isn't necessarily where they are able to go 46 because of development, so that leads then again to erosion and 4 I sedimentation problems. And this picture is just an example that I got 2 from the Public Works Department of some of the erosion that has really 3 eaten away at the arroyos and I know a few years ago you probably saw 4 some pictures in the paper where people's retaining walls washed away 5 as a result of flooding, and those are very infrequent events but 6 unfortunately they're the ones that stick in people's minds and they're the 7 ones that ... they're kind of the common denominator for all of this 8 because if it happened before it could happen again. And one thing that 9 was suggested to me by a gentleman at the Army Corps of Engineers 10 office in Albuquerque is when you're planning for future storm drain policy 11 documents or regulations, you really have to envision the worst case 12 scenario. And I don't think we could possibly imagine what the worst case 13 scenario might be but as a compromise we can go a little bit further than 14 where we are right now I think. 15 And then in addition the arroyos are used by utilities, wastewater 16 lines are typically put in down the middle of the arroyo, parallel and sort of 17 going in the same direction. Water lines are generally installed 18 perpendicular and that has caused some problems time to time as you 19 can see erosion is a big problem because as the land, the terrain and the 20 soil has to be disturbed in order to put the lines in which makes it then 21 more susceptible to erosion and flooding, so you know over time this sort 22 of thing has happened. The arroyo used to be about three feet higher 23 than this water line, and here, this is about three feet, so in the course, 1 24 believe these pictures were taken in 2006, but the sewer line itself is 25 probably five to eight feet below that manhole. So, it will probably be a 26 long time before the threat of that ever becoming uncovered, but the 27 situation does exist. 28 Another concern to a limited extent for the City of Las Cruces is the 29 functionality of the flood control dams, the smaller earthen dams, some of 30 which were built back in the '30s and then throughout the decades until 31 the present time. And I just included this little map here as an example, 32 they don't show up very well on the map, they're just made of dirt. We 33 were talking about the Tortugas Dam before the meeting started, before 1 34 knew it was a dam, it wouldn't have occurred to me that that's what it was. 35 So, over the years the area behind the dam has been ... has built up a lot 36 of sediment, there is a lot of vegetation back there for the most part and 37 they don't really serve the same purpose as they originally did, they don't 38 function optimally. So the state engineers office, the flood commission, 39 Elephant Butte Irrigation District, the State Land Office, the BLIVI, the 40 Bureau of Reclamation, all of the players, private property owners, the City 41 of Las Cruces, and Dona Ana County and probably more are involved in 42 what to do with the dams. In some cases removing them completely may 43 be the best thing, in some cases breaching them or in some cases 44 rebuilding them might be the best thing. So it's a case-by-case situation. 45 It will cost millions and millions of dollars when the time comes and that is 46 one reason why it's such a complicated process because the amount of 5 I money required to tackle them on a regional scale is a bit overwhelming. 2 And then the threat of more intense thunderstorms more often is certainly 3 real. Just in the past 10 years there has been an increase, sort of a 4 general increase in temperature ... actually it's not the last 10 years, more 5 recent than that, a general increase in temperature of 1.3 degrees during 6 the same time period all this weird weather we're having across the 7 country has taken place; more drought, more intense thunderstorms, more 8 wildfires, more storms in the eastern part of the country so it's possibly 9 coincidence but it is possibly related, so regardless of what people may 10 think or not think about the theory or climate change, the fact remains that 11 we have for the last few years experienced more flooding and more 12 thunderstorms even while we've been in drought, so that is certainly a 13 factor that needs to be taken into consideration when we plan for future 14 infrastructure and future development both east and west. 15 And then sort of going back to nature, with development and with 16 channelizing or trying to contain the arroyos or move them in a different 17 direction comes the reduction or elimination of wildlife corridors. And in 18 some cases for small animals like rabbits or skunks they don't really mind 19 the encroachment of people, but for larger animals like bobcats or coyotes 20 there is a greater disruption. So I included these pictures because what 21 happens is wildlife come into the neighborhoods, there is a lot more 22 roadkill. And so there are some suggestions made in the plan for how to 23 incorporate wildlife corridors or at least be more mindful of them when 24 we're out there moving the land around. 25 And then the last thing is really just related to quality of life. As we 26 move into an era where technology is the central factor in a lot of 27 businesses these days such as internet, just anything digital, you can 28 essentially work wherever you want to work. And so quality of life 29 becomes one of the main components for why a business or an individual 30 may locate to a particular place. And outdoor recreation or access to the 31 outdoors is one of the highest ranked priorities for people who are looking 32 at quality of life as a reason to move to a particular location. So, that's 33 one part of it, the other part of it is that there can be organized events 34 around open space and trails. As an excellent place to ride horses, that 35 could be certainly exploited and expanded. Equestrian centers or inns, 36 that sort of thing, that cater to people with horses is a ... it's a small 37 component to economic development but it does have potential. 38 The next chapter is the goals, policies, and actions. And everything 39 that I just talked about is essentially sifted into these four components. 40 They don't necessarily have to stay this way, to date no one has made a 41 suggestion for a different kind of structure so I've left it like this, but it 42 certainly could change. Anyone of these could be divided out into another 43 section or called something different or even combined, whatever people 44 think is ... makes more sense. 45 Within the city of Las Cruces most of the plans that we have start 46 out with goals which are the very broad goal that we aspire to. You're 6 I never supposed to do that, use the word you're trying to define in the 2 sentence when you're defining it. And then under that in some cases 3 there are objectives. What we went with in the Comprehensive Plan 2040 4 was we removed the objectives and just went with goals and policies, 5 where the policies served to support the goals. So we made the same 6 decision in the arroyo plan to follow that structure and then actions which 7 are more specific and actually are designed to do something to implement 8 the policies that will carry out the goals that is primarily a different chapter 9 in the plan under implementation. And I'll get to that component in just a 10 bit. It's not filled in very ... in very much detail at this point because it's a 11 little bit complicated as to who would do what in what amount of time and 12 so we're still trying to work a lot of that out. 13 In the land use section there are three goals. I mentioned 14 managing arroyos holistically, something that the other individual plans 15 don't do to quite an extent that this plan is attempting to do. And then it 16 addresses the flood control dams, improve the safety of the flood control 17 dams, and restore native vegetation in the storage pool areas behind the 18 dams, and then improve road-crossing infrastructure. This turns out to be 19 a major issue because on some roads there is constriction depending on 20 what kind of culvert or what kind of supports you have for the bridge or the 21 overpass. It's typically where a trailhead might start, where there might be 22 a parking lot for access to the arroyos, so there are a lot of components 23 that impact how a road crossing may be built, and then they also impact 24 the developers in major ways because of the expense involved and how 25 the private sector and the city share the costs of those things. And these 26 pictures just illustrate some of the suggestions that are made for 27 addressing some of this. This is a graphic of a cluster subdivision where 28 instead of having large lots with ...where everybody sort of has their own 29 space, the lots would be smaller, the housing units would be condensed, 30 and the open space would be ... yeah I want to say conglomerated but 1 31 don't think ... that's not the right word, but you know all one piece. 32 33 Crane: Consolidated. 34 35 McCall: Consolidated. Thank you Commissioner Crane. And then in this 36 particular graphic one thing that is proposed in the land use section is to 37 create a buffer beyond the boundary of the 100-year flood zone within 38 which there would be no development. It could possibly be the width of a 39 trail. It could be a linear park. But it would be just an added safety net for 40 protecting some of the arroyos that may be more prone to erosion and 41 side channel ... changes to the side channel. And what the plan proposes 42 is to develop a model, a hydrologic model that characterizes each arroyo 43 individually and this is something that would follow later, it's not part of the 44 plan, but it's an implementation component. Right now there is a model 45 that was developed by the Army Corps of Engineers that most of the 46 engineers in town use for the drainage studies that are required for 7 I development proposals. And it would be that model that would be used as 2 a starting point, but it would also incorporate other things like vegetation, 3 wildlife, a few other criteria, the possibility of a linear park for example. 4 And it would be just taken further, so there is a starting place, it isn't 5 something that's a completely new idea for people because there is a 6 model that already exists. It would just be added to and expanded for 7 more uses. And then this is a graphic of what is known as a transect 8 where development goes from more concentrated to less concentrated or 9 more rural. And so there are examples of this all over the place, 10 downtown is one of them, Telshor and Lohman is another one, just about 11 any neighborhood or district within the community has pockets where 12 there is commercial development surrounded by more dense residential 13 development and then less dense residential development. And then 14 entire cities even though they may not be round follow the same pattern to 15 some extent where the central part of the city is more dense and the 16 fringes are less dense. So as we move toward the Organ Mountains and 17 on the West Mesa just away from the river the proposal is to get less 18 dense and that's what this graphic represents. And this is the West Mesa 19 Escarpment where building is quite problematic because it's a lot steeper 20 than some of the drainage channels on the East Mesa. It's difficult to do 21 anything more than low density development there and so it is an area 22 that could be protected from development, it also could be developed but 23 there are problems inherent in it that are a bit more complicated and more 24 expensive to solve. 25 In the environment so far there's one goal to protect and maintain 26 natural habitat and wildlife connectivity. In the public input that we 27 received during the general public input meeting there was another goal 28 proposed for this section, at the moment I don't remember where it is, 1 29 haven't gotten to that part of the revision process yet, but there were a lot 30 of suggestions about increasing the importance of vegetation in any of the 31 ... in the policies and further activins regarding arroyo management. And 32 so that comes under this and then protecting wildlife of course. 33 And community facilities, this is primarily trails and parks. This is 34 an example of a linear park in which there is development on this side of 35 the street but no development on this side of the street. The plan 36 proposes this in selected cases where the model might identify certain 37 segments of certain arroyos that would be suitable for a linear park. It isn't 38 proposed to be for every arroyo or that there would be a street adjacent to 39 and parallel to every arroyo, but it is an idea that would have ... could 40 have limited application in certain places to perhaps protect view sheds or 41 just exploit the characteristics of that arroyo to a greater extent. And then 42 starting from ... as a starting point, the Transport 2040 trail plan which is a 43 map of proposed trails throughout the metropolitan planning area, the plan 44 proposes a series of regional trails that have connections to existing 45 amenities such as parks and school playgrounds or neighborhoods, 46 commercial areas of the city so that you could actually use the continuous 8 I system of trails to get from one point to another. And then guidelines for 2 those trails and trail crossings including ADA compliant trails where those 3 might be suitable and this is another example of where the model would 4 be useful to determine areas for ADA compliant trails and trail crossings 5 and then perhaps trailheads with parking lots and other amenities. 6 And then the last section of the goals chapter is utilities and 7 stormwater management. Goal eight, create safe and effective 8 engineering standards for flood control and conveyance does essentially 9 take what we have already and point out discrepancies or places where 10 there have been problems in the past and tries to offer solutions for 11 improving that aspect of it. A lot of it has to do with stronger compliance, 12 greater compliance with regulations that already exist and in some cases it 13 calls for amending the design standards to include more innovative 14 methods for stormwater captures, low impact development, and green 15 infrastructure techniques that people have used for many years but there 16 isn't any reference to them in the design standards or in any of our other 17 codes. And then along with that goes minimizing erosion and soil and 18 slope instability, they go hand-in-hand in fact. And then the last one has 19 to do with improving the safety and efficiency of utility installation. And 20 then there are a number of appendices that just have a lot of good 21 background information, best management practices that come from the 22 City of Las Cruces Storm Drain Master Plan which in that document came 23 from the EPA. Other illustrations for things that could help cut down on 24 the amount of erosion as water comes into the arroyo and so on. These 25 were ... most ... I have a couple of other references to add but these were 26 the main references that I used in preparing the plan. The East Mesa 27 watershed survey and the feasibility study that the Army Corps of 28 Engineers did in 2007 and then the storm drain master plan that 29 Bohannan Huston did in 2006 were both very helpful. And then in addition 30 to that Sandoval County and the City of Albuquerque both have 31 stormwater management authority organizations and they have extensive 32 plans that address flood control and stormwater management and I used 33 those to a great extent to kind of compare what we have with what they 34 have and what they propose with what we're proposing. 35 And I've already talked a lot about the buffers and how they would 36 be determined, so as I said, we would just take the model that already 37 exists and add to it using topography, GIS, three dimensional modeling, 38 looking at soils and vegetation, that sort of thing. Because we want to see 39 something like this in the cases where it's appropriate, where there is ... 40 Peter Bennett in the Public Works Department did this graphic and I'm not 41 so sure that this is the sort of arroyo that would lend itself to a wide buffer. 42 It's more likely that the channel would be narrower because then as water 43 comes down it there's a greater chance of the banks eroding away and 44 that's where you would want added protection. In this particular case 45 because it's shaped more like a salad bowel there's a lot of room for the 9 I water to go before it ever hits the higher elevations, so I think I probably 2 ought to change that graphic. 3 1 mentioned that we had several public engagement opportunities. 4 There was a public input meeting and then four stakeholder meetings, 5 both of which met twice, conservation groups and individuals interested in 6 conservation issues, engineering, development, and ... three stakeholder 7 groups, I'm sorry. And then the Paso Del Norte watershed council which 8 falls under the engineering stakeholder group. And then a lot of individual 9 e-mails from groups that attended one or more of those meetings and then 10 had further thoughts that they wanted to add. 11 In general this is what the public input had to say; in land use a lot 12 more education about flood control and stormwater management and be a 13 little more positive and a little less negative, develop more incentives 14 rather than punitive measures to protect arroyos. As I said earlier a lot of 15 the plans are very disparate so look at policies across all city departments 16 to make sure that they all have a consistent message and strengthen the 17 green infrastructure, low impact development techniques component in 18 our plans and our regulations. And then I think the biggest concern that ... 19 regarding land use and development is that people said that since the 20 regulations already do exist and for the most part the issues are being 21 addressed adequately, the problems are few and far between that 22 perhaps an arroyo plan isn't needed, that we can just amend the 23 documents that we do have, correct the documents that we do have such 24 as the design standards to address problems that we already know exist 25 and then follow those regulations more strongly and more effectively. 26 The other thing that was said is that buffer zones may be 27 appropriate but only in areas where there is no development yet. As you 28 know within the city limits there's already quite a bit of development 29 adjacent to the arroyos and they're really only in their natural state outside 30 the city limits and within the ETZ, where development is expected to be in 31 20 years. So, in those cases they may be appropriate for buffers. The 32 biggest problem with the concept of buffers is that if that land is purchased 33 by an individual or a development company and they have to set it aside 34 and not use it, then they're losing money. They've paid for land that 35 they're not allowed to develop and that's seen as quite problematic and 1 36 certainly agree. The BLM and the state land office are open to the idea ... 37 what they would like to do is when buffers are determined include that 38 amount of land in what is conveyed to the city before they sell the land for 39 development. So in actuality or ideally the developer would not be buying 40 any land that they could not develop. The land office however has pointed 41 out that their mission is to raise money for schools and other institutions 42 and so they do have to be really careful about how they would identify 43 those buffers and when they might take effect, in which situations because 44 they too would be losing money if there's an amount of land there that 45 they would not be able to sell or that we would propose turning over to the 46 city. So, it's certainly not a simple concept, there's a lot that would have to 10 I be worked out before it could happen but the idea is to look at those 2 arroyos and those sections of the arroyos that are likely to be developed 3 around sooner rather than later and take those as the priority and then 4 over the years just chip away at the rest. Another issue that was raised 5 which is quite important I think is that if that land along with the arroyo is 6 conveyed, the easements are conveyed to the city then maintaining them 7 becomes the city's responsibility. And even if we don't build anything like 8 a trail or a park, if it's just left in open space there is an amount of 9 maintenance that is required, not to mention liability, so the city has to 10 think about funding and what funding is in place over the years to be able 11 to do that. So, it isn't something that's going to happen willy-nilly and on 12 every arroyo, on every section of every arroyo because it does have very 13 important implications, financial primarily and liability as I said. So, those 14 are also very important considerations. 15 Let's see, there was a suggestion that the dam, the flood control 16 dams are an integral part of arroyo management because what happens 17 to them affects downstream development, but because they are multi- 18 jurisdictional the city doesn't really have a lot of control over what happens 19 and so the suggestion was made that there not be planned policies 20 regarding future implementation steps about what to do with the arroyos, 21 so that will also be taken into consideration. As I said earlier in the 22 environment section integrate protection of native vegetation in the 23 policies to a greater extent. The reason being vegetation, or the presence 24 of certain vegetations indicates flow path even though it may not be the 25 100-year flood zone, it indicates the path that the arroyo takes sometimes 26 and so would indicate the possibility of flood later on. And then the 27 vegetation and wildlife habitat are also important criteria when developing 28 the characterization model for the same reason. Part of the model, the 29 result of the model would be that wildlife areas and open spaces could be 30 mapped so that going into a development project, areas are identified as 31 possible places where open space could be or where parks could be or 32 we may want to just steer clear of development in those areas. 33 And then lastly utilize the habitat ... a specialist, someone in wildlife 34 biology who would be on the team that develops the buffers. And then for 35 community facilities, there actually were not a lot of suggestions or 36 comments made in this component. I think the reason being that trails are 37 addressed in a lot of other documents already and there's already a trail 38 map of proposed trails on the East and West Mesa, so there were some 39 suggestions made for more trails, there were some suggestions made for 40 places that should be protected, actually I have those on a map. On the 41 West Mesa some of the arroyos have a lot of fossils and other Native 42 American artifacts and then suggestions were made to use trails to 43 connect to other trails as I mentioned earlier. On the East Mesa, several 44 very popular walking areas were identified and places where there is 45 unusual wildlife or unique vegetation that doesn't show up everywhere in 46 the desert, trail connections to parks, that sort of thing. And further north Il I someone pointed out the Pat Garrett murder site. There has been some 2 interest over the years in protecting that, unfortunately it is right in the 3 middle of the projected extension of Mesa Grande Avenue South. Let's 4 see if there's anything else. There was a suggestion to promote the old 5 quarry as an off road vehicle area and the comment that all of the flood 6 control dams have a lot of vegetation and habitat behind them and that 7 should be taken into consideration when any actions are considered for 8 what to do with the dams. 9 In utilities and stormwater, I already talked a lot about the model. 10 The engineers who were involved in the stakeholder meetings thought that I I was a great idea. And staff ... in addition staff has suggested that there 12 be an update to the storm drain master plan. It was done in 2006, so the 13 data is from 2006, but the arroyos have changed over the years and so 14 has the community and so that needs to be updated. The comment was 15 made that you know the plan calls for maintaining the arroyos in their 16 natural state to the greatest extent possible. There were some stormwater 17 engineers who pointed out that within the city limits or in areas where 18 there is development it would actually be better to do something rather 19 than leave them in their natural state. And as it turns out, what they 20 proposed is really what the plan proposes too, using things like pervious 21 concrete or low impact development techniques, or weirs, or gabions or 22 something in certain places in the arroyo where they are more vulnerable 23 to erosion. So, it sort of turns out that the best of both worlds is probably 24 the best answer in how to manage the arroyos affectively for stormwater 25 management and to protect open space. And then as I mentioned, there 26 are a lot of current regulations but they're not being enforced to the extent 27 that they could be. And then I don't know if there's any way around 28 putting utilities in the arroyo because it's the lowest possible place and 29 everything depends on gravity, but that was a suggestion as well. 30 Staff review, in addition to the professionals in the private sector 31 who attended the stakeholder meetings, staff from various city 32 departments, the flood commission, the land office, the Bureau of Land 33 Management and Reclamation, and Elephant Butte Irrigation District have 34 reviewed the plan and made comments. I mentioned earlier the list of all 35 of the people who had a stake in this as property owners. NMSU and the 36 school district were made aware of the plan but to date I haven't received 37 any comments from them. 38 The last chapter, implementation is the action steps and primarily it 39 calls for changing the design standards to address a lot of the policies in 40 the plan and then finding funding to carry out some of the projects that are 41 called for, the characterization model primarily and update the storm drain 42 master plan, and then all the other mapping projects would also require 43 some funding. As I mentioned I'm encouraging people to review the plan, 44 if they already have then maybe review it again if they have time and send 45 me comments by June sixth so that I can spend the following week 46 incorporating them into the revision that would come before this body on 12 I June 24th at your regular public hearing. And then tentatively it would go 2 to the City Council for consideration to be adopted in July. And that's it. 1 3 would be glad to answer questions. 4 5 Crane: Thank you Carol. I'm sure I speak for my fellow Commissioners if 1 6 congratulate you on an immense amount of work and it's a very clear 7 presentation. 8 9 McCall: Thank you. 10 11 Crane: It may help our discussion if I get a couple of technical points clarified. 12 This won't take a moment, because it might've confused other people. 13 First what does GIS stand for? I have a general idea but ... 14 15 McCall: Geographic information system. 16 17 Crane: Okay. 18 19 McCall: It's the ... it's the phenomenon in computers that allows us to build maps. 20 21 Crane: All right. And in that ... 22 23 McCall: In layman's terms that's about it. That's what I can tell you. 24 25 Crane: Like Google Earth? 26 27 McCall: Yeah. 28 29 Crane: Okay. And in the Molzen Corbin comments in your appendix the 30 individual road that made a distinction between retention and detention 31 and didn't explain it but evidentially they mean different things to an 32 engineer. 33 34 McCall: Okay. You know I didn't ... I didn't print out my notes but I made notes 35 about that on that particular slide and I may even call on Mr. Binns to help 36 me out here or Kirk. But if I don't have it backwards, a detention pond is 37 designed to hold water for a limited period of time and then it would be 38 released slowly and continue downstream. A retention pond sometimes 39 called a wet pond is designed to hold water so that it can filter through the 40 earth and go into the groundwater. In a detention pond generally all the 41 sediment falls when while the water is being held in it, so all of that 42 sediment kind of keeps the water from filtering down through the ground 43 which is why it can't be used for that purpose. If it were left longer than 44 24-48 hours or however long it's built for it would just be a stagnant pool 45 and it would become a mosquitoes' holiday. So in very broad terms that's 46 the difference. They're built differently and engineered differently to allow 13 I different things to happen to the water, either move toward the river or go 2 down into the ground water. 3 4 Crane: Okay, I see Mr. Binns has his hand up. Can you help a little with that sir? 5 6 McCall: Did I get it right? 7 8 Crane: On mike please. Push the little red button. 9 10 Binns: The dam behind the city is a good example of a detention, it detains the 11 water that collects in large volume and then releases it through the 12 channel over a period of time where it's not doing damage, so that 13 eventually it does reach the river but that's the principal difference and 14 that's the best example you can point out I think. 15 16 Crane: So a retention dam simply wouldn't have the drain built through the dam. 17 18 Binns: A retention would hold the water for mosquito buildup. 19 20 Crane: Okay. Thank you. 21 22 McCall: They would be built differently so that in a retention pond there wouldn't be 23 that sediment buildup that would prevent the water from going, although 24 you know over time ... actually you know I think the requirement right now 25 when people say on-lot ponding and you see people's houses have these 26 nicely xeriscaped rock ... 27 28 Crane: Got one myself. 29 30 McCall: Plant ... you've got one yourself. Those are examples of retention 31 because the water filters down through the rocks and through the ground. 32 The problem is that over time the sediment does build up and they don't 33 serve their purpose anymore, so you either have to go in and clean them 34 out or unfortunately what a lot of private property owners do is fill it in and 35 put a swing set there. So even on a larger scale, on a regional scale if 36 you have a retention pond there is a degree of maintenance that's 37 required as the years go by to keep it clean enough that water can 38 percolate through the ground. 39 40 Crane: Thank you. Commissioner Beard. 41 42 Beard: You talked about trails an awful lot, on page 53 it says on the gold six, six 43 point one, all trails must be constructed outside the 100-year flood zone 44 and I don't know what that ... what the 100-year flood zone really consists 45 of. 46 14 I McCall: Okay, when we were talking ... 2 3 Beard: And why that ... why does that say that? 4 5 McCall: When we were talking before the meeting, when you went over to the 6 flood commission to ask for a map, FEMA, the Federal Emergency 7 Management Agency does a lot of research and determines various flood 8 zones. You've heard of the 100-year flood, the 500-year flood, and what 9 that actually means is that in any given year there's one in a hundred 10 chances that there would be a storm over a 24-hour period that would 11 reach wherever that boundary is determined to be. So, when people have 12 to buy flood insurance those maps are very important because they say 13 whether or not you're in the flood zone and if you are then you have to 14 have flood insurance, your homeowner's insurance goes up and 15 everything. One reason that they don't like to release it to the public and 16 use them internally when they're analyzing a given site or a given 17 development is that things change over time and the map that is printed 18 out today may not actually reflect the flood boundary ... where the flood is 19 likely to go in a 24-hour period on a different day. But if you have that 20 map in your hand and you go to the tax assessor or your mortgage 21 company and say, see my house is not in the flood zone when in fact it is, 22 then there's a problem. So they do control the use of those maps quite a 23 bit. The ... 24 25 Beard: But if we have a statement in here that says you can't do that ... 26 27 McCall: Yes. 28 29 Beard: Don't you think that we should know what it is? Where it is? 30 31 McCall: In general we do know where it is. This map doesn't have it but the Dona 32 Ana County database has something called the arroyo centerline and the 33 flood boundaries go out from that. So it's more useful really in determining 34 where the buffers might be and in the hydrologic model that the Corps of 35 Engineers developed that is used in drainage studies, that model has it 36 built in. These shapes on this map are quite approximate. If I were to 37 zoom in and include parcel lines some places you would see that shape 38 here, but property lines here, they're very general. But when it comes 39 right down to an analysis of a lot or a development or a flood zone, then 40 they have to be a little more specific. The thing about not having a trail in 41 the 100-year flood zone is that in this area flash floods are very common 42 and they're very dangerous. You can be walking down the middle of the 43 arroyo and before you know it water is coming down and you're washed 44 away. People essentially walk in them at their own risk. People ride 45 horses in them at their own risk and so what the plan proposes is if we 46 were to put trails in the bottom of the arroyo we would essentially be 15 I condoning that behavior and we can't really do that and be responsible 2 government. I wish I had the graphic, there's a little coloring book graphic 3 that has some kids running away as the water's coming down and it's just 4 ... a little caption says you know be careful where you play. So that's the 5 intent there. If you think it's ambiguous or if I should add a little 6 clarification. 7 8 Beard: Well we talk about it an awful lot you know how to make trails along the 9 arroyos and then we say we can't do it. We need to somehow clarify that 10 a little bit I think. 11 12 McCall: Yeah because ... cause different people picture different things. When 13 you say along an arroyo, are they talking about in the arroyo or adjacent to 14 the arroyo, lower or higher. And so that is something that I think in the 15 definitions I need to make sure is very clear, that when we're talking about 16 adjacent to the arroyo that we're actually talking up high. 17 18 Beard: The Las Cruces Dam, is the bottom of that dam considered a flood zone? 19 (inaudible) and if it is, which I think it should be, there are trails down 20 there. 21 22 McCall: You mean behind it? 23 24 Beard: Where the water would collect. 25 26 McCall: Yeah. Too bad I don't have the flood zones on this map. But yes, I think 27 so. They are. And there are ... there's a little wetland, there's a small 28 retention area, the wetland that was just recently constructed. That's very 29 true. And in fact I'll give you another example along the river we have La 30 Llorona Park and the three mile, four mile trail that's in the flood way, 31 that's part of the flood zone, that's very definitely part of the flood zone. 32 And what the international boundary of water commission requires in 33 putting that park there is that nothing can be permanently installed. It has 34 to be able to be removed at a moment's notice. So if there is a flood, you 35 know you have a little bit of time you can go down there and whip out the 36 swing set so that it doesn't wash way and hit somebody over the head 37 later on. 38 39 Crane: But there's already in La Llorona Park benches, tables, and the like. 40 How's that fit in? 41 42 McCall: Well if the parks department needed to they could go with a big crew and 43 get all that stuff out of there within an hour. 44 45 Crane: Thank you. 46 16 I Beard: Thank you. 2 3 Crane: Commissioner. 4 5 Clifton: Thank you Mr. Chair. Carol, nice to see you. Some clarification on the 6 flood maps, actually they are public information and you can go to the 7 website at FEMA and they're highly accessible and you can actually zero- 8 in on your specific property a little bit better to determine if you're within 9 the flood plain. But you know a couple questions along that line, is this 10 plan taking into consideration the new FEMA flood maps that are coming I l out? 12 13 McCall: Yes. And that's actually one reason why I don't have the flood zones in 14 the plan itself. The ... actually I don't even think I have them in the 15 appendices, but I do have that ... I have the current and proposed 16 boundaries and my intention was only to use the proposed boundaries. 17 I've heard within the last month that they've gotten the go ahead to publish 18 those I think, that it's been approved, so I don't think it'll be too much 19 longer before they're actually current instead of proposed. 20 21 Clifton: You know personally I would not be comfortable or even discussing this 22 until we know if they are approved. I mean I don't know if you've actually 23 seen them but I've had to deal with the new flood boundaries and the 24 proposed versus the old and right now on the books you build where you 25 build as long as it's outside the 100-year flood plain or you get an 26 elevation certificate or you lift the site with fill or take mitigating measures 27 to address the 100-*year flood plain. And you know to an extent 1 28 appreciate Commissioner Beard's comments that it does seem 29 contradictory putting people in a recreational area that poses a flood 30 hazard. I live in Sonoma Ranch so I'm surrounded by arroyos and just for 31 the record you cannot bicycle in an arroyo, I've never seen it, cannot be 32 done. But at any rate you know I think we really need to look at the FEMA 33 issue with the 100-year flood plain and along that line when we're talking a 34 buffer zone personally affecting private property rights is not something 35 I'm willing to do based on a proposed map based on a proposed buffer. 36 We don't know what that's going to look like. When the maps come in a 37 proposed buffer within the new flood plain could absolutely take an 38 individual's property entirely from them, how will they be compensated for 39 that? 40 41 McCall: Thank you. Some of those questions I don't know the answer to. 42 Although as I mentioned earlier ideally what I'm hoping happens is that 43 those areas would be conveyed to the city as part of a joint use 44 agreement, joint planning agreement before land was released for 45 development. So, in that particular case, in those cases I guess where 46 there is not already development proposed or on the books and approved, 17 I that would be the answer. And in cases where there is already 2 development or proposed developments that have been approved I don't 3 know how it would work. I think that was one of the main points that ... in 4 the developer stakeholder group made is that if that were going to be done 5 then there has to be some compensation. Those areas would essentially 6 have to be purchased. 7 8 Clifton: You know a number of years ago being moderately familiar with the 9 development and building industry I know that the city was approached 10 multiple times to be given arroyos and this was over the last decade, I 11 don't know how many of you have been in the Las Cruces area for the last 12 decade but when Las Cruces experienced substantial growth especially 13 along the East Mesa and quite honestly I wouldn't even really classify it as 14 substantial, I mean I think it maintained not even a five or six percent 15 growth rate at that time. But the city was approached and I know this for a 16 fact having been a staff member and on the other side of the fence to be 17 dedicated arroyos and the city would not take them. You know it was 18 gone as far as proposed conservation easements and at the time the city 19 would not cooperate even with the conservation easement idea. I know it 20 was kind of a groundbreaking idea back in 2006 but it was being done 21 nationwide. Then, you know what about a land bank. You know, has that 22 been discussed as part of this process. I mean somebody's going to be 23 impacted here and it's not ... you know I think based on the impending 24 legislation that's going to be signed in Washington tomorrow, we have to 25 look at the upstream dams now because they're not going to get 26 maintained. What about the arroyos now? What happens? We don't 27 know what any of this is going to look like. I don't know what Sonoma 28 Ranch is going to look like. You know west of town is where a lot of the 29 fears are and there are some maps here that are showing some critical 30 areas west of town that are certainly affected by the upstream dams that 31 are going to no longer be accessible because of the legislation. Cluster 32 subdivisions are a great idea, I've done three of them myself but in a high- 33 density area you're already at high density, most of Las Cruces is zoned 34 R-1a, 5,000 square foot minimum lot size. I'm not sure people want to be 35 on top of each other unless they're in a townhouse development. Thank 36 you. 37 38 Crane: Any other Commissioner wish to speak? Commissioner Ferrary. 39 40 Ferrary: I'm not sure the statement that we aren't going to be able to maintain the 41 dams just because of the Organ Mountain Desert Peaks National 42 Monument is clear. And I think that's something that we could be sure 43 and pursue. 44 45 McCall: Actually if I could clarify that, if I can get into the ... a different drive I have 46 a map that at least up to Tortugas Mountain and Dripping Springs Road 18 I shows ... I would be able to tell you where the boundary is but if you know 2 where ... excuse me. 3 4 Clifton: Carol I believe it's about a mile approximately, a mile, a half a mile west, 5 or, yes west of Baylor Canyon Road, about to Hanger Lake Road if 1 6 recall. 7 8 McCall: This shaded area on your right, my left, is called an area of critical 9 environmental concern. It's a protected, thank you. It's an area that's 10 already protected by the BLM and above that area the Organ Mountain 11 Desert Peaks National Monument follows the boundary of the ACEC. So 12 Commissioner Ferrary is correct, north from where Steve's finger is, that 13 area's already protected and most of the dams are to the west of it 14 anyway. And so we wouldn't have any jurisdiction over management 15 there at all. And then further south the boundary of the Organ Mountain 16 National Monument comes out a little bit further west than the boundary of 17 the ACEC, so that's the city limits and that's where the boundary would 18 come out. So, it'll be quite a few years I think before that area would 19 impact development. I apologize ... I did call today and ... to get a map 20 that doesn't say proposed boundaries of the National Monument but I was 21 told that it's going to take a while before the paperwork trickles down from 22 the President's hands to our local office, when we're able to have that 23 information and be able to publish it. But, I do hope that in the final 24 version or at some subsequent version of the arroyo plan if it's adopted, 25 that it will include those boundaries. And I apologize that that was so 26 confusing. 27 28 Crane: It worked fairly well. Commissioner Beard. 29 30 Beard: A couple of questions. How closely is Dona Ana County following your 31 plan or will they incorporate your plan or will it be very close to your plan? 32 And the reason I ask that is I'm concerned about the area between east of 33 A Mountain where there's a lot of residential areas and a lot of arroyos. 34 35 McCall: I've sent the plan to the Community Development Department for review. 36 And as I said it's gone to the flood commission and Paul Dugie and Mary 37 Evans at the flood commission have been reviewing it all along and 38 including their comments. They like the idea of having a broader kind of 39 management plan for arroyos and so they are at least willing to look at this 40 and possibly use it as a stepping-stone to create something for the county. 41 How much it would follow this or you know detour from this, I have no 42 idea. The county is working on their comprehensive plan sort of along the 43 same timeframe that we will be doing the second phase of our 44 comprehensive plan and so it's very possible that we can have some 45 consistency in terms of how that's addressed. 46 19 I Beard: Thank you. 2 3 Crane: Commissioner Clifton. 4 5 Clifton: Thank you Mr. Chair. One quick point, then I'll get to my main discussion 6 item. In about 2005, 2006 there was a, what you're calling like a trailhead 7 parking lot that was actually constructed off of Sonoma Ranch just east of 8 the Sonoma Ranch golf course, probably like hole number 14, it's the hole 9 that's within the arroyo and you know living in that area for a number of 10 years I rarely see anybody park there. I see a lot of cars parked there for 11 sale. I see a lot of kids riding their bikes there, but I think the conversation 12 has to be had and not necessarily right now or tonight but at some point 13 what recreational value does an arroyo bring to a community, and that 14 really kind of segues into this point about the quality of life and the 15 untapped economic development potential that's discussed in this plan. 16 There's no empirical evidence or hard numbers or studies and again I'm 17 not comfortable approving a plan that's based on opinion. I mean 18 anybody can do a study like what was done recently and say it has 19 economic value, well how do we really know that? You know I don't tell 20 my boys, hey let's go play in the arroyo kids, you know I'm not going to do 21 that. 22 23 McCall: Good. 24 25 Clifton: You know I see what happens in Tucson and Phoenix and it's just ... it's 26 more of a visual amenity than a physical amenity. There's a distinct 27 difference between the two. And when you talk about quality of life, 28 economic development, and climate change, you know I don't know that 29 you can quantify climate change so I don't know how we could even put 30 that in a policy guide that could eventually be put into an ordinance. 1 31 mean it's impossible to qualify that, to put a numeric to it. And if we can't 32 put a numeric to climate change it should not be in a city's plan that has 33 the potential of winding up in one of our ordinances. I mean that's a 34 slippery slope and it's a lot of opinion based material. I know these are 35 really labor intensive to write Carol and I certainly don't want you going 36 back to the drawing board, I've been there but I think it has to be 37 discussed. And horses, well you know the zoning allows horses in certain 38 districts, I don't think that the residents in Sonoma Ranch would be too 39 happy with horses running around in their backyards. And then when we 40 talk about the growth pattern that's mentioned in the plan as well you talk 41 about less dense as you go out from the city center, well that, you know 42 again we need to discuss responsible land use and that lends itself to 43 urban sprawl. So again there's a lot of contradictions that I think we just 44 need to tighten up and you know what is it that ... what we really want. 45 What are we trying to achieve. I can respect the visual amenities and 46 what we would try to accomplish there. I think with the new flood maps 20 1 nobody's going to build in the 100-year flood plain but if somebody wants 2 to own an arroyo that's their ... that's their property right. And 3 development pressure, I'm not sure there's a lot of development pressure 4 right now but you know I think the city has to have responsible engineering 5 guidelines and review and inspection of projects. And at this point that's 6 all I have. Thank you. 7 8 McCall: Thank you. 9 10 Crane: I share Commissioner Clifton's frustration with the fact that nothing these 11 days can be suggested unless it is going to create jobs and have 12 economic impact or even if it's not demonstrable. The Organ Mountain 13 Desert Peaks National Monument is to my mind a very good move but 1 14 can't see what the heck impact it's going to have, positive or negative, it's 15 not going to be perceptible. The space port, well that's something which 16 did at least involve money to some extent but I haven't seen anything 17 trickle down yet, in fact I haven't seen anything trickle up. And leaving a 18 trail behind it. So, you're not alone Mr. Clifton but I figure you didn't think 19 you were. It seems to me that the key problem with the plan is what to do 20 about arroyos running through developed areas. There is a method of 21 dealing with it in undeveloped areas which you've already covered. 22 Somehow or other yet to be determined the land could be deeded to the 23 city and the developer would develop the developable stuff and the 24 undevelopable would be a visual amenity. And some protection could be 25 installed that would safeguard the property of the homeowners who had 26 their land on each side of the channel. But when it comes to what's 27 already been developed, as I recall it the developers don't necessarily own 28 those arroyos. We've had discussions about, at least two since I've been 29 on the Commission, who owns arroyo land typically within a development, 30 can you tell me? 31 32 McCall: As I said earlier, there are situations where the arroyos themselves are 33 privately owned. Individual property owners as Commissioner Clifton just 34 mentioned when he said somebody wants to own an arroyo then you 35 know that's okay. There are situations where that is the case. Mr. Binns 36 owns a portion of the Sandhill Arroyo and a couple of others, so it's ... 37 38 Crane: Sounds as if it's going to be extremely difficult to do anything to that. Mr. 39 Binns since you've contributed, (inaudible) maybe we'll let you talk. 40 41 Binns: Thank you. This is Eddie Binns for your record. And yes private land is 42 owned by private individuals that arroyos run through. So they are not 43 owned by the state or by the city or anyone else. I'm paying the taxes on 44 that stuff and the tax assessor gives me the same value on the arroyo as 45 he does the stuff out of the arroyo, interestingly enough, 'cause he's 46 looking at acreages. 21 1 2 Crane: I'm sorry, he gives the same value to it as ... 3 4 Binns: That is correct. 5 6 Crane: Repeat what you said please. 7 8 Binns: He looks at it from the standpoint is acreage of land and that's part of the 9 acreage and it carries the same value as the stuff that's not in the arroyo. 10 11 Crane: Even though you can't ... it's of no value you, you can't develop it, you 12 can't build on it? 13 14 Binns: Well this is the perception that is misleading, arroyos do have value and 15 the value comes at the point in time when economics justified 16 channelization of the arroyo to utilize it if that economic level is there and 17 that decision is made economically to utilize that land. As a landowner 1 18 have responsibility to transfer that water from point A to point B safely and 19 follow the regulations of that nature. But those are minor issues. With 20 your permission gentlemen and Ms. Commissioner, there are a couple of 21 points that I would like to throw out to you, number one is public safety 22 and the public protection in these areas because if it is dedicated to the 23 city we're going to have to have fire, police, and ambulance protection and 24 accessibility into these areas. To do this it's going to have a tremendous 25 economic effect upon our safety providers. This is something that hasn't 26 been addressed (inaudible), that is something that is very important in my 27 opinion. My brother lives in a piece of property in Albuquerque that backs 28 up to the Bear Canyon Arroyo, beautiful arroyo, unfortunately RVs run up 29 and down, there are parties, there are all kinds of things that take place 30 and the police note is very weak if at all. Right now I've got people 31 running up and down the arroyos, running through my property and I have 32 requested help from the police and I can't even keep those people off of 33 developed lots that are tearing up the hard surface to protect me from 34 wind blowing, so the security and the police is a big factor. 35 There's another factor that needs to be analyzed and looked at real 36 seriously and that is the economic impact upon the city if something like 37 this were to be put together as far as acquisition. I can take a piece of 38 property that I'm involved in or the Sandhill Arroyo, it's approximately 39 7,000 feet from one end to the other, if it was a channel about 200 feet 40 wide and some 40 acres of real estate. Now is the city in a position to buy 41 that 40 acres of real estate from me? No, they're not in a position to do 42 that. We can't take care of the parks we've got let alone buy 40 acres 43 from me. So the two things are going to happen, one it's going to be 44 intimidated to me that Eddie if you want your next subdivision you've got 45 to give us the arroyo. Right now if I want to develop a subdivision you've 46 got to take care of the main arterials, the same thing that'd be followed 22 I right through and it gives me the fear that since okay, you want to do this 2 subdivision you're going to have to give us the arroyo otherwise you can't 3 do the subdivision. And it's unfortunate the way the system works. I've 4 seen it work for the last 50 years in those directions and a gradual loss of 5 property ownership or property rights by the requirement of dedications. 6 You touched briefly on utilities in arroyos and again I'm talking 7 about my own situation. In the Sandhill Arroyo there is a sewer line that 8 goes from the interstate up to Sonoma Ranch ... Las Colinas. That sewer 9 line was built by private property, private ownership back in 1975-76. It's 10 a 12-inch sewer line. That is the sewer line that is serving that entire 11 northwest quadrant of Las Cruces. The high school, all the subdivisions, 12 everything are draining down that 12-inch line and it's running full. The 13 city has on plans to put a big 16-inch sewer line through there and they 14 came to me, they said Eddie we need right-of-way for the sewer lines. 1 15 told them I'd be glad to work with you but I have certain requirements; 16 number one, erosion control in the arroyo once you put the sewer line in. 17 Oh, no, no problem. Okay, the second one is how are you going to 18 protect your sewer line when the arroyo wanders around. Okay, no 19 problem. Now then, if you're going to have a sewer line there you're going 20 to have to maintain it, so you're going to have to build a road in the sewer 21 line location so you can get your equipment in. Well we wasn't planning 22 on doing that, we was planning on driving across your backyard and get to 23 our sewer line. Well it has thrown a tremendous financial impact on the 24 utility department to put this sewer line in, in following the rules that I have 25 to follow. So it's an interesting standoff that's taken place on that. They 26 need the sewer line in a big way, but also we've got to solve the other 27 issues cause one of the requirements they were asking me was for a 28 hundred foot right-of-way that they can go through there with equipment, 29 wipe out a foliage, the trees and everything else while they're putting it in. 30 Sheesh, you're going to take that how am I going to control the dust next 31 week after you leave cause I've had dust control problems after they built 32 a bridge on Del Rey and the county says Eddie you own the real estate it's 33 your problem. So anyway, but there are a number of issues there that are 34 real complicated. This issue here on the arroyo control, Carol did an 35 outstanding job trying to sort it and figure it but it is such a complicated 36 issue and it affects so many different areas, economics, safety, and land 37 utilization downstream. There are some big issues there that need to be 38 studied, need to be evaluated and I strongly request that ... Carol, you're 39 working on it but I think this thing needs to be deeply analyzed (inaudible) 40 than these other subjects are concerned and I'd ask you to slow down. 41 This is modeled after the 2040 plan I'm afraid. The 2040 plan was shot 42 down in a number of different areas because of it didn't give the 43 consideration that was needed in a lot of areas and to follow that pattern 44 here is a dangerous one and it's uncomfortable. Thank you for listening to 45 me. 46 23 I Crane: Thank you Mr. Binns, you made some excellent points there. Will you be 2 able to come to the meeting which we're not absolutely sure is going to be 3 at the next Planning and Zoning, right, for the discussion? The public 4 discussion. 5 6 McCall: Mr. Chair, Commissioners, that's the tentative plan. If I may add 7 something however, I completely agree with Mr. Binns in his last point. 8 Part of the reason that it has taken a long time to do this plan is that it is 9 extremely complicated and at every turn I become just more amazed and 10 flabbergasted by it, but I was directed to take it forward and to have a 11 schedule, so that's what I'm doing. But I agree, there are so many 12 components that involve so many players that the plan either has to be 13 very broad or it would probably take another five years to complete. So in 14 some ways what I would prefer to do is make it more general than it is, 15 take some policies, try to use it as a guiding document, realizing that the 16 hard work would come later in the modeling and characterizing each 17 arroyo because that in a way is more like a case-by-case situation. You 18 can't apply a one size fits all solution in situations like this. 19 20 Crane: Well please don't be discouraged. The right thing's being done by you 21 and the ... Community Development. The issues are being addressed 22 and we'll see where they lead. And I hope Mr. Binns will be able to come 23 and make the same points at the public discussion because I think they 24 will stimulate other people here. Something else to say Mr. Binns. 25 26 Binns: Yes, thank you. Unfortunately through the years the city has not pursued 27 the acquisition of land right-of-ways from the state and BLM. This is an 28 area that I would strongly recommend that we direct the staff, move in the 29 direction of the stuff that's not going to cost the city money. The city 30 doesn't have any money, but if we can establish a procedure so that as 31 state and federal land becomes available, set aside (inaudible) place for 32 arroyos for trails and such as that, it doesn't cost you any money. The 33 land that the school uses, the park uses, they get from BLM for a dollar 34 and a half an acre or whatever it is. But we get right-of-ways on arroyos 35 and get a program that is focused in that area, that takes care of our long- 36 range drove and it does it without spending a lot of money. 37 38 Crane: (inaudible). Thank you. Commissioner Beard. 39 40 Beard: Two things, actually I think the city may have the money it just has the 41 wrong priorities. Not spending the money where maybe they should be. 42 But on your ... when you say that ... are you in general against putting 43 sewers in the arroyos? 44 45 Binns: This is Eddie Binns again. The location of sewer lines is established by an 46 engineering practice of putting the sewer line where it will function. You 24 I don't put sewer lines down the top of a hill, they don't work unless you put 2 lift stations on every house and pump the sewage to it. That's not an 3 economical situation. So the sewer line historically flows up the arroyos 4 which is the lowest travel path and that is the design procedure not only in 5 Las Cruces, Albuquerque or any other city you go to, because that gives 6 you the maximum economic use of that utility line. 7 8 Beard: Okay. So what are you saying? Are you saying that we have to come up 9 with different ...? 10 I1 Binns: Sewer lines are going to continue to go up arroyos. What we need to do 12 and that is to control and protect those sewer lines so they're not washed 13 out. I have seen washed out sewer lines take place in the area between 14 Roadrunner and the dam after some big storms. It wasn't a comfortable 15 feeling to see raw sewage flowing out there but I have seen it happen. 16 I've contacted Dr. Garcia and they've moved on it immediately because of 17 the impact that's there. The sewer lines in arroyos that's the most 18 economical place to put them for maximum utilization. 19 20 Beard: Thank you. 21 22 Crane: Commissioner Clifton. 23 24 Clifton: Mr. Chair, Carol, you know when I read this what jumped out at me 25 immediately was how do you articulate this document because it's going 26 to have to go into so many different codes, it's not going to be an easy 27 task. And I think it's very much so too specific and I mean as an example 28 habitat specialist to assist in determining buffers. Well, they're not 29 licensed professional civil engineers and quite frankly they have no 30 business establishing a flood zone buffer. I mean that's not something 31 that type of individual should do. That's a very specific aspect of this code 32 or this proposal, I don't know where you would put that if you're going to 33 coordinate it so to speak. What's the rush with this? I mean is there 34 something, are we expecting the 500-year storm in July? I mean I don't 35 know why we can't maybe have another stakeholder meeting, local 36 engineers, really sift through this document. I know you've been 37 hammering this out for quite some time, but I just ... I don't know what the 38 rush, I mean July seems pretty aggressive to me and I'm honestly not at 39 all comfortable acting on it at the June meeting for July City Council. 40 Thank you. 41 42 McCall: Mr. Chair, Commissioner Clifton. One point of clarification when you 43 mentioned the habitat specialist that was a comment that was made in the 44 public comment, public input. It isn't necessarily something that would go 45 into the plan. And one thing that was discussed at the engineer 46 stakeholder meeting that something that I would like to see is a working 25 I group that is established to ... made up of engineers, professionals from 2 the various firms in the community who would actually take this on and 3 address a lot of this. And yes, they would have to be paid, it would be a 4 consulting project but what I would like to see is rather than one firm or 5 one company getting the bid, it would be more interdisciplinary. For 6 example staff or all of the consulting firms that deal with stormwater would 7 be involved in it because everyone in the community is impacted and they 8 all do drainage studies and they all have various different levels of 9 expertise in different things, so I'm inclined to think that it would be a good 10 way to solve a lot of the ... not solve it but address some of the more I 1 specific issues that are raised. 12 13 Clifton: Mr. Chair. 14 15 Crane: Mr. Clifton. 16 17 Clifton: Throughout this process did you establish any type of volunteer ad hoc 18 committee? Cause I know in the past in working with design standards we 19 would establish an ad hoc committee with local representation that 20 volunteer their time and ... I mean I don't know that the local civil 21 engineers are you know too busy with work right now and they might be 22 willing to sit down with city staff and flesh some of this out. 23 24 McCall: That has been suggested and something that the Public Works 25 Department is actually on Board with. And yes, actually there was an ad 26 hoc committee formed early on in the process. Believe it or not this plan's 27 first incarnation was 2007-ish and Robert Garza was not the City Manager 28 at the time but he pulled a committee together. There was what I call a 29 zero draft, just some sort of basic themes and a little bit of background 30 information, it was just a few pages long that I took to that group and we 31 met for several months. There were engineers from the private sector, 32 environmentalists, staff, and we looked at it, made revisions, looked at it 33 some more, and then that ad hoc committee, it wasn't called an ad hoc 34 committee but that's really what it was, dissolved but over the years there 35 really wasn't a lot of interest or support. I will admit to you that it's been 36 incredibly hard to get people to dig into it. And I think because of the 37 complexity that's part of the reason. It's just ... you have to just sort of 38 block everything out of your mind and I would disagree, I think people are 39 ... people are too busy, that's why I think it's important to pay them. If 40 you're going to ask somebody to write a plan or co-write a plan that's why 41 we have RPFs and that's why we have consulting contracts and technical 42 writers. 43 44 Crane: Commissioner Beard. 45 2(i I Beard: When I read the plan it was more informative than anything else. In fact 1 2 was trying to dig out just what is it that you want us ... what do you want 3 this plan to really do? And I think it's too complicated to do that. I think 4 the plan should have these things like about the sewer, go in depth as to 5 what the pros and the cons are, why we think we have to do it in the 6 arroyo so that people when they do it in the future will consider the pros 7 and the cons of doing whatever pipe that they're going to lay in that 8 arroyo. So I don't ... I think it is too complicated to solve all of the 9 problems. So this plan I think should be more informative as to what the 10 pros and cons are to the various issues in this arroyo situation. 11 12 Crane: Any other Commissioner have a comment? Commissioner Ferrary. 13 14 Ferrary: I think part ... my understanding is that part of this goal is to make sure 15 that people's interest in development, you know when people go to buy a 16 home they know that they can trust that the sewer lines are going to work 17 or that they're not going to be in a flood zone or that the arroyo if it does 18 shift some means of you know controlling that or making sure that their 19 homes aren't in danger or their lives by having trails you know above the 20 elevation of the lower arroyo. And is that correct? Is that my ... is that a 21 good assumption? 22 23 McCall: You mean does this plan attempt to do that? 24 25 Ferrary: Right. 26 27 McCall: I think that the current regulations actually do that. One of the developers 28 in the stakeholder group mentioned that drainage studies are the biggest 29 expense in putting together a development project and so a huge amount 30 of attention and detail goes into that. And they're reviewed quite 31 strenuously by the engineers in our department and by PW, and in fact the 32 Public Works, the engineers in the Public Works Department are often 33 involved in the creation of those plans. And so this plan cannot do that. 34 What was suggested by staff to update the drainage, the storm drain 35 master plan, that project was done in 2006 and is used exclusively by the 36 city. I wanted to put it on the arroyo plan web page and was told by PW 37 that it really isn't for ... it's for use by the city. It's not something that is 38 available for the public, but it is somewhat obsolete. So I think that's ... 39 that part of it is very important, that that component of it be updated. Did 40 that answer your question? 41 42 Ferrary: Yes. But so this is just kind of like an amendment to some of the other, 43 just overall broader view of what's coming down you know in the future? 44 45 McCall: That is actually a really good question. Back in the beginning one of the 46 things that frustrated me when I was trying to structure the plan and 27 I develop it was that everybody had a different idea of what should be in it. 2 And if you were to listen to everybody it would be ... the plan is going to 3 you know solve world hunger. I mean it does everything. And at one 4 point in one of these committee meetings that we had that Robert Garza 5 had convened, I said you know there is one purpose to the arroyos and 6 that is to carry flood water from higher elevations to the river. So doing 7 that in the most effective way and the safest way, and the way that 8 destroys as little of the natural environment as possible should be the 9 primary purpose of everything we do and if that's done successfully all the 10 other things that you want including solving world hunger will sort of fall 11 into place, you'll know where to put the trails, you'll know how close you 12 can build to the arroyos, you know where the boundaries should be. So 1 13 wanted to have a primary purpose or primary goal and an ancillary goal, 14 but over the years things just have you know different weights to different 15 people and so it ended up being what it is. 16 17 Crane: You had an accretion problem. 18 19 McCall: I still think that that's the primary thing. It's just that it can't be that 20 particular issue cannot be addressed in isolation in a vacuum because you 21 do have to consider the natural environment and habitat and endangered 22 species of plants and animals and how close you can build to an arroyo, 23 so. 24 25 Ferrary: Thank you. 26 27 Binns: Mr. Chairman could I clarify a point for ... there's not a misunderstanding. 28 This is Eddie Binns for the record. 29 30 Crane: Go ahead. 31 32 Binns: The sewer lines that we've been speaking of those "in the arroyo' was 33 installed at my direction with the city's guidance and such at the boundary 34 of the 100-year flood, not in the bottom of the arroyo but at the upper 35 boundary of the 100-year flood, so that it was really not in the arroyo. It is 36 in the arroyo region, but the sewer line doesn't come up the bottom of the 37 arroyo and I see very little of that. I wanted to clarify that point. The other 38 one as far as homeowners are concerned there are no sewer lines in 39 arroyos serving homeowners. The sewer lines that serve homeowners 40 are in the middle of the streets, in the neighborhoods where they live. 41 They're not in the arroyos so that the homeowner does not have an 42 exposure to a sewer line being washed out by an arroyo. The sewer lines 43 that are in the arroyo region are the main trunk lines that feed the city, that 44 the city primarily designs and installs. They're not the sewer lines that 45 developers put in to feed the individual houses. 46 28 I Crane: Surely the developer ... where do the neighborhood lines that are running 2 down the middle of the street hook up to? Don't they hook up to this trunk 3 line that goes down the arroyo? 4 5 Binns: They hook up to the trunk line which is on the upper boundary of the 6 arroyo. 7 8 Crane: So if that line goes out. 9 10 Binns: They're out ... they've got a problem. 11 12 Crane: Okay. 13 14 McCall: Mr. Chair. 15 16 Binns: Expand that just a little bit further. I told you there was a sewer line that 17 washed out. In the Sandhill Arroyo for 7,000 linear feet there for the last 18 40 years there has been no erosion through my real estate. There have 19 been no changes in the grade of the flow line of the arroyo. In the High 20 Range neighborhood I have had excessive erosion because the city has 21 gone in behind the dam and dug out a channel six to eight feet deeper 22 than what mother nature had and when you lower the channel here the 23 arroyo coming down is going to erode and it's going to drop back to 24 mother nature's level and that's why we've had the erosions there where 25 the outfall has not been controlled and it lets it erode on out but have been 26 big erosions and you've seen it next to Veteran's Park on both side, 27 erosion has took place up by the apartment complexes close to the 28 school. That erosion took place after the city lowered the elevation of the 29 drainage of those channels behind the dam. It's unfortunate, but that's 30 what's happened. 31 32 Crane: Thank you. Carol do you have something to say? 33 34 McCall: Yes, I'm sorry. I do want to clarify that point. Mr. Binns commented on 35 where the sewer lines are placed and typically they do not go down the 36 center ... the center of the arroyo. They will be along the side. For 37 example if you look at this picture where this manhole is, this whole wide 38 thing I'm not even sure since the picture's cut off where the side of this 39 arroyo is particularly, but you can see from the picture that it is along the 40 side and not in the center. That was the only thing I was going to clarify. 41 42 Crane: So that erosion to the left as we're looking at it of the manhole does not 43 represent new erosion beyond the 100-year flood line? 44 45 McCall: Well I don't know. I don't know where the flood zone is in this particular 46 area. 29 1 2 Crane: Okay. Any other Commissioner got a question or comment? Then thank 3 you Carol. Thank you Mr. Binns. 4 5 IV. ADJOURNMENT (7:55) 6 7 Crane: We're adjourned at 7:55. 8 9 McCall: Thank you. 10 11 12 13 14 J 15 16 Chairperson / 17 18 30