Welcome to our new web site!

To give our readers a chance to experience all that our new website has to offer, we have made all content freely avaiable, through October 1, 2018.

During this time, print and digital subscribers will not need to log in to view our stories or e-editions.

Overhaul of development rules sparks mixed reaction in Las Cruces Council


A massive overhaul of Las Cruces’ development codes received a mixed reaction during a council meeting on June 24.

Several groups lauded the proposed changes for creating safer streets and allowing for more affordable housing, while homebuilders and developers predicted increased costs that would burden homebuyers.

No vote was taken on Realize Las Cruces, a package of proposed updates to the city’s more than 20-year-old zoning codes. Still, the council did hear concerns and encouragement as it prepares to approve or amend one of the most significant sets of rules in Las Cruces.

“Any cost that is dumped on me as a developer gets pushed to the builder. And once it gets pushed to the builder, I push every cost that I’ve incurred to my end customer. It’s just part of the process,” Kelly Fort of Fort Construction said.

Fort’s comments juxtaposed with those of Beth Bardwell, who spoke on behalf of the League of Woman Voters of Southern New Mexico.

“(Las Cruces’) comprehensive plan called for balanced development, preserving our natural setting, fostering economic prosperity, vibrant neighborhoods and livable community. And today’s proposed changes to the land development code are a credible effort to implement that vision and those values,” Bardwell said. 

Zoning laws dictate the types of buildings, businesses and homes in a given neighborhood. These laws and regulations play a massive role in creating the character of a given area, how development and homebuilding firms make money and the public’s access to housing, which research shows has several other downstream effects on poverty and crime.

The overhaul replaces many of the traditional zoning types with a more modern understanding of urban planning and development, according to Erica Craycraft, a consultant hired by the city to work on the project.

Craycraft said Realize Las Cruces originated in Las Cruces’ most recent comprehensive plan, Elevate Las Cruces. While drafting Elevate Las Cruces before 2020, planners noted that the development codes were old and needed updating.

Now, Realize Las Cruces is nearing its final stages.

According to the proposed changes, Las Cruces would also affect regulations and rules around the subdivision, drainage systems, signs, outdoor lighting, roads and rights-of-way, landscaping, parks, trails, open spaces, tree preservation and fencing.

A full review of the proposed changes can be found at RealizeLasCruces.com.

Next, Craycraft said that the city is working towards an open house to allow the public to review the changes before they are brought before the council for a vote. A date for that has not been s

overhaul, development codes, Realize Las Cruces