By CEDRIC D. PAGE
Executive Director UNM-LA
UNM-Los Alamos has been working for the last six years (since I became the executive director) on a solution to the challenges of our student housing complex.
All renovation options have been exhausted or too expensive. Our decision to engage a highly qualified developer has been difficult. In fact, the County’s experience in securing a developer for the Trinity site demonstrated just how challenging redevelopment in Los Alamos can be for something so vital to the future of our community.
The UNM-LA redevelopment will address both student housing needs and workforce housing needs in response to the County’s economic development and housing plans for the community. The preliminary site design for our project is in the programming stage and has incorporated the concerns of residents in the immediate neighborhood. The developer continues to explore opportunities related to setback, height, and parking in response to resident and community recommendations.
The Planning and Zoning Committee is scheduled to hear our rezoning request Wednesday, Feb. 26. Any decision or recommendation by this body will require final approval by the County Council at a later date. If and when the request is approved, site plans for redevelopment must be submitted to the County for a comprehensive review. This review process and the requirements of any building permits must meet building codes and storm water retention requirements during construction.
Our commitment during this process is to gather input and constructive suggestions that will lead to a redevelopment project that serves the housing needs of future students and workforce personnel and their families, and positively impacts the surrounding neighborhood. Thus far we have achieved this through two meetings with residents that have been of great value to us
and the developer in creating site design options.
We will hold a third public meeting on the rezoning request and redevelopment project at UNM-LA Monday, Feb. 24, 6-7:30 p.m. in the Building 2, Lecture Hall, Room 230. This will be an opportunity for us to share the mission and goals of the college and, more importantly, to listen to the needs and expectations of the community in the context of achieving our mission.