Ask Council To Adopt Planning & Zoning Commission’s Recommendations On Building Height And Parking

Los Alamos

Dear citizens:

Many of you are familiar with the ongoing housing crisis in our county, which is in fact real. In the community survey published at the beginning of the year, “availability of affordable quality housing” is the second lowest score in the entire survey at 5% positive. (Only “shopping opportunities” is lower, at 4% positive — a related issue.)

The county council is taking an important vote on this matter tomorrow, May 2. The Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously recommends changes to the county’s development code that increase building height flexibility and ease parking mandates, and the council will decide whether to accept those recommendations.

These changes will have little to no impact on viewsheds or recreation, and the current code has resulted in actual, specific developer rejections. Further, denser downtowns are simply more vibrant and more pleasant. Bottom line, shorter buildings and more parking — i.e., the status quo — means less local businesses and less housing, both of which are desperately needed. 

Even if your own housing is stable and satisfactory, like mine, you probably care about the well-being and/or availability of critical personnel such as teachers, firefighters, health care staff, etc.

These thoughtfully-considered changes are critical to improving the housing situation in Los Alamos. I urge everyone to contact the county council promptly and ask them to adopt the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recommendations as written, without meddling.