Third time’s a charm

City Council and mayor agree on new price for property that will pave way for Richards Avenue extension

Santa Fe city councilors agreed Wednesday to a new price for about 23 acres of land between Rodeo Road and Siringo Road that the municipal government has been angling to buy from the state Game Commission.

The vote paves the way for the city to connect the north and south ends of Richards Avenue, a long-discussed and controversial project that boosters say will relieve traffic on Cerrillos Road but which opponents argue will steer more drivers through surrounding residential neighborhoods.

While Mayor Alan Webber and the council had previously approved purchase of the land, the project hit a speed bump last month when an appraiser reported that it was only worth $1.4 million, not the $3 million the city initially voted to pay the Game Commission.

A third appraiser the city and game commissioner hired to review the deal came back with a different price—$2.1 million.

The third appraiser said the other prices were based on comparisons to property sales that in some instances were several years old or didn’t reflect the physical characteristics of the property.

Webber and councilors voted Wednesday to amend their agreement with the commission to include the new price. The vote was unanimous, though Councilor Amanda Chavez was absent.

The change is still awaiting the commission’s approval, and plans for the extension of Richards Avenue have not been finalized.

But the sale raises new questions.

While the extension of Richards Avenue is expected to only require a few acres, the Game Commission wanted to sell the entire, larger property.

The remaining land could be turned into housing, though it is bisected by Arroyo de los Chamisos and about five acres are in a flood zone.

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