Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mora County Commission adopts CLUP & San Miguel County Commission votes in a Moratorium

Tuesday, January 12th, the Mora County Commission adopted a revised version of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) during their regular commission meeting. This revision has not been reviewed with or by the citizens and is currently not yet available for review. Anyone interested in a copy must sign an "Inspection of public records" form, or write a letter requesting an electronic or hard copy of the CLUP adopted January 12th 2010 from the Mora County Clerk's Office, Joanne Padilla. According to the Attorney General's Office, the county must respond within three days, and produce a document within 15 days.

John Grubesic, county attorney, indicated that this document represents the ideas of Mora County's land use plan. More than ideas, it represents the goals and visions of Mora County which were originally drafted in 1994 and adopted in 1995 by the Mora County Commission. This plan was written with a 25-30 year vision of land use policy for Mora County.

While Mr. Grubesic indicated that the CLUP should be revised regularly, it will be important for the citizens to review this latest revision in order to acquaint themselves with the latest "goals and vision" that the Commission and Land Use Administrator, Rumaldo Pino, have agreed to for the Mora County citizens. These changes will set the current and future land use goals and visions for Mora County.

The DRAFT revisions (available in electronic format by emailing to the 1995 CLUP represented significant changes which incorporated land use for oil and gas development in Mora County. There were other changes in the draft version as well, such as renewable energy (solar, wind, algae farms and hydro-electric). Beyond energy issues, roads, emergency response preparations, cell towers, outdoor storage, septic system improvements etc. were included. As a result of a state CDBG grant, Mora County hired Sites Southwest, Albuquerque, to conduct public meetings and put together the July 2009 draft revision copy. Many state requirements for Mora County were a result of acquiring the state funds.

The public process to revise this document, as stated in the 1995 adopted version of the CLUP, was to be an open, public process every step of the way. Mr. Gubesic spoke about the three public meetings that were held to include public participation. Those meetings were attended heavily by Shell representatives and a few Mora County citizens. The actual effectiveness of the meetings for public comment will be seen once the citizens have access to review the newly revised and adopted CLUP dated January 12th 2010.

Industry submitted an 80 page revision to the county which if adopted in any significant or perhaps even minor proportion, could in time turn Mora County from agricultural into an industrial land use county. According to attorney John Grubesic, he had phone conversations with industry and the NMELC. Citizen's access to the county attorney have been somewhat limited.

This same day the Mora County CLUP was passed, San Miguel County Commission adopted a one year moratorium. When questioned by a citizen during the Mora County Commission meeting in December 2009, about whether or not Mora County had a moratorium in place, Commissioner Peter Martinez, Chair, responded that Mora County did not.

In fact, the Mora County Commission voted two years ago, Spring, 2008, to put a moratorium in place. The county attorney drafted a moratorium, but the commission has yet to adopt this moratorium. Perhaps the leadership of the San Miguel County Commissioners will pave the way for Mora County Commissioners to take an equally strong, definitive leadership role in Mora County. Such action would give the citizens some indication what their intentions are regarding the future of Mora County and the pending oil and gas development by Shell LTD.