Developer’s plans for Club Rio Rancho needs zoning changes

Brittany Costello

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — For more than a year Club Rio Rancho has sat empty. A new developer has a solution, but it would require rezoning the area to allow additional residential housing.

That vote was postponed after residents living near that golf course spoke out at a zoning meeting at Rio Rancho City Hall Tuesday. Many are still concerned that the proposal isn’t fully thought through. Others say some development is better than nothing.

The committee agreed the proposal needs further clarification.

There was a time when homes around the former Club Rio Rancho were in high demand. But now it’s seemingly an overgrown, vacant golf course consumed by debt.

Josh Skarsgard is the new owner. He wants to transform 70 acres of the property into residential development. It’s needed to pay off debt. He said the other 200 acres could become an 18-hole golf course.

“All of our efforts are going toward a successful golf course rehabilitation,” he said.

If it’s not a golf course, then the plan is for open space. Neighbors say not so fast.

“The golf course plan is lacking,” one resident said. “Don’t be seduced by this.”

To make a golf course work the city would have to lower water rates. But there’s some concern because there’s no guarantee there either.

Attorneys for neighborhood associations say a lot of questions remain unanswered, including how residents can trust the word of a developer who has left the area in deteriorating conditions.

“Promises not being kept, follow through not existent and meeting deadlines occurring last minute,” a resident said.

But others say any development is better than no development.

“I know there’s been a lot of planning and a lot of work and lot of time and a lot of caring that has gone into what the development and the ordinance present here shows,” another resident said. “I am in favor and I support it.”

The developer will have four weeks to work on those issues. Planning and Zoning is expected to take a vote on this Feb. 13. Their recommendation will then head to the City Council.

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