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Subdivision gets go-ahead, officials say

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By David Giuliani

The City Council deadlocked Wednesday on whether to approve a proposed subdivision on New Mexico Avenue, but officials say the developer may have the go-ahead anyway.

Local developer Phil Warfield wants to divide his property at 2323 New Mexico Ave. into four lots, with modular homes and garages on each.

But neighbors protested the proposed subdivision, saying it would cause increased traffic and that four was too many homes for six-tenths of an acre.

“This could have negative consequences for the entire neighborhood,” resident Mary Jane Valdez said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission had already approved the subdivision, and some officials said that it would take a supermajority of the council — three of its foru members — to overturn a commission decision.

Councilman Andrew Feldman said he agreed with the city’s master plan for development within the city rather than outside it. But he said the subdivision didn’t fit within the scheme of the west-side neighborhood, saying dividing the property into two lots, rather than four, would be better. He said he also wanted to take the neighbors’ objections into consideration.

However, Councilman Cruz Roybal said the city should follow the master plan as closely as possible and promote development within existing spaces in the city.

Councilman Morris Madrid said he would need a major reason to overturn a decision of Planning and Zoning.

Roybal and Madrid voted for the subdivision, while Feldman and Councilwoman Diane Moore voted against it. Mayor Tony Marquez, who breaks ties, wasn’t at the meeting.

At first, the effects of the tie vote weren’t clear. But later in the City Council meeting, Madrid said he believed Planning and Zoning’s ruling would stand. Others agreed, but city officials said they would seek a clarification to make sure.