Los Alamos County Council Chair Sara Scott
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos County Council Chair Sara Scott says the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has acknowledged the receipt of the County’s request for a transfer of some 3,000 acres to be used for housing, retail, mixed-use, industrial and recreational purposes.
Scott said the local site office is working through their process to determine whether this or other parcels of NNSA owned land in Los Alamos County are considered excess. She noted that a similar land transfer request was made approximately 10 years ago but was not approved.
“Pending the outcome of this assessment and NNSA’s interest in executing a land transfer, next steps in this process would include broader community engagement, engagement with neighboring entities, and Council discussion and determination of whether and how to proceed with a potential land transfer,” she said.
Scott said the 2019 and 2020 Strategic Leadership Plans highlight the need for housing, supporting the local business environment, and protecting and improving open spaces as community priorities. She said other community engagement, such as a business town hall held by Council last year and discussions with the Voices of Los Alamos group emphasized the importance of increasing options for land ownership for sustainability of local businesses and identified seeking land transfers from NNSA as part of the County’s strategy for identifying options to address priority needs.
“Because the County owns less than 30 acres of developable land, it seemed prudent to explore other options for addressing housing, support for local businesses and protecting and improving our open spaces,” Scott said. “As a result, the County requested the transfer of approximately 3,000 acres of land located southwest of White Rock from NNSA in December of 2019 as reflected in documents including the January 7, 2020 State of the County Report, the County Manager’s 2019 Report, the FY2021 Federal Legislative Priorities, and my recent open letter regarding development. This parcel is located southwest of White Rock and 275 acres is identified for potential development with the balance identified for public use.”
Although the concept of the proposed land transfer has been discussed regularly by Council, the specifics of the December 10 request have not been included in the discussion. The 20-page proposal may be reviewed here.