A Santa Fe County committee is set to consider a proposal this week that could put to rest a long-running conflict about development of pristine property near La Cienega—or at least most of it.
The County Development Review Committee agenda for July 17 features a request by a private company to change the approved master plan for 845 acres of the former Santa Fe Canyon Ranch to facilitate its sale to a family for a single home.
If approved by the officials, the request would represent a significant shift to the allowable development density for the entire 1,316-acre Santa Fe Canyon Ranch, located south of the City of Santa Fe along Interstate 25.
The Board of County Commissioners greenlighted the development of a subdivision of up to 174 residential units on the land in 2008. Then in 2009, the county agreed to fork over $7 million in taxpayer money to Santa Fe Canyon Ranch LLC in exchange for 470 acres of the property, where creeks course through hills whose only deformities are invasive Russian olives and barbed-wire fences.
LLC partner Rick Borrego told La Cienega Valley Association earlier this month that a potential buyer wants to use the land for a family horse ranch and is seeking a variance to allow the installation of a swimming pool on the property.
La Cienega Valley Association supports the idea, its board president wrote in a letter to the county.
"The LCVA Board recognizes and embraces the opportunity to protect this special 845 acres as a ranch, a single family ranch," reads the letter, "when the original approved master plan for Santa Fe Canyon Ranch allowed for as many as 18 homes on [this portion of the] property."