Addressing Housing Needs

Democratic Candidate for
Los Alamos County Council

There is consensus among candidates for Los Alamos County Council regarding the need for new housing in Los Alamos County. However, while we need to accommodate folks who want to relocate to our community with the expansion of the LANL workforce, it is important to consider those who already live here – whether they are retirees looking to downsize to appropriate senior housing, or School District employees or those who keep our businesses and services running and can’t currently afford to live in the County.

I support the careful and pragmatic development or redevelopment of available or underutilized land and buildings in the County to best meet the needs of the community – first looking- at specific demographics such as the missing middle, seniors and those who qualify for income-based affordable housing – instead of rushing to approve as much housing as possible. 

There has been some discussion of increasing housing density, especially in the downtown areas and I encourage you to engage if you can in the three-afternoon virtual special sessions of the Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission on the Chapter 16 Development Code set for October 12, 13, and 14. Public comment can be made during each meeting and written comments can also be submitted via email.

The Development Code proposed revision has several potential major changes to a variety of requirements, such as building heights, minimum parking requirements, outdoor lighting, accessory dwelling units (e.g., casitas), among many others.     

One change that I believe is important for the community to consider carefully is the possible approval of a 7-story limit for downtown Los Alamos. The example presented to Council would add another ~1600 housing units assuming 14 new buildings at 7 stories each are built with half being mixed use with retail and office space on lower floors. 

The White Rock Town Center also has potential for more housing based on a proposed 4-story height limit. The example presented to Council had indicated ~360 more housing units assuming 8 new buildings. I am hearing many concerns about the visual impacts of these proposed height limits. There is also the practical question of whether or not the existing height limits are causing developers to look elsewhere for housing projects to develop.     

If you have comments or questions on the revised Development Code, I encourage you to reach out to the County Council and Planning and Zoning Commission, or myself. If you would like more information on my positions or would like to contact me, please visit — I’m Randall Ryti and I ask for your vote to continue serving the community.