Wednesday, October 16, 2013

City May Rezone 4,669 Acres in Northwest El Paso

CPC Will Review Application on Thursday

Around 4,669 acres of mostly undisturbed open space in Northwest El Paso could be partially preserved if City officials approve a rezoning application for the area. The majority of the property is immediately adjacent to the Franklin Mountains State Park and stretches from areas near the Transmountain Road corridor north to the New Mexico state line.
Over 4,600 acres of land in Northwest El Paso could be designated as ‘Urban Reserve District’ by the City. (City of El Paso)
The acreage is owned by the City of El Paso and made up of 14 parcels currently zoned for either manufacturing or residential development. The proposal would change the zoning to Urban Reserve District, defined by the City’s Municipal Code as “an area that has development value with open space opportunities.”

The District’s definition goes on to say that the land can be preserved for “sustainable, transit served, form based code development and redevelopment when such land becomes necessary to serve growth in the region.” Language in the rezoning application includes the description for Natural Open Space, but the application is not for that designation.

By choosing Urban Reserve District instead of Natural Open Space zoning, the City may be preserving the land in the interim while leaving the opportunity open for smart growth development in the future that would preserve natural elements more than traditional developments. The City approved the Northwest Master Plan last year for areas south of Transmountain Road with similar objectives in mind.

The area up for rezoning comprises about 7.3 square miles and represents the largest portion of undeveloped land in Northwest El Paso. The City Plan Commission will consider the rezoning application at its October 17, 2013 meeting. If approved, it would go to City Council for a final vote.