The Candlelight Neighborhood Association announced Thursday it has filed a court appeal of what it calls the city of Santa Fe’s “quasi-judicial” process for reviewing land-use applications.
The association said in a news release it is challenging the City Council’s approval of the 384-unit Zia Station development in the state’s First Judicial District Court, alleging the approval process blocked the public from participating in land-use decisions by cutting off communication with city councilors.
A copy of the appeal was unavailable Thursday afternoon.
The project, which will rise near the Rail Runner Express commuter train’s Zia Station at the intersection of South St. Francis Drive and West Zia Road, was proposed by developer SF Brown/Zia Station LLC.
The City Council approved the 21-acre mixed-use project April 8 during a seven-hour meeting, despite complaints from some neighbors over the development’s effect on nearby neighborhoods.
The project did have supporters who applauded the arrival of additional housing to help quell the city’s housing woes.
The Zia Station development includes 39 affordably priced units at the site, as well as a fee of about $150,000 to the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The affordable units would be offered below the market rate for a period of 10 years.
Candlelight Neighborhood Association President Ed “Aku” Oppenheimer said the association does not have a problem with the development but opposes the process used to approve it.
“We’re not appealing the development in any way,” Oppenheimer said in an interview. “We’re appealing the processes that the city used to arrive at its approvals, which the city is now using increasingly to arrive at its conclusions of land-use variance issues.”
The city attorney could not be reached for comment on the appeal.
Oppenheimer said the neighborhood association also is concerned about the city’s decision to exempt the project from height limits in what is known as the South-Central Highway Corridor.
“We are appealing to dispute the various injustices in a process that allows for distorted, over-representation by developers and inadequate representation for residents, while encouraging the cavalier dispensing of established ordinances that are designed for the protection of residents and the character of our city,” Oppenheimer said in a prepared statement.