Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved an application to rezone two contiguous land parcels where local landmarks once stood – the Black Hole and Omega Peace Church – April 2 during its regular meeting.
The rezoning, which changes the parcels designation from light commercial and professional district to mixed-use, paves the way for T2 Development LLC to construct 44 housing units on the parcels. According to agenda documents, these units will be townhouses, 21 of which will be duplexes and two stand-alone units.
County Planning Manager Tamara Baer explained that the parcels are on Arkansas Avenue and total 4.5 acres. She said the Planning and Zoning Commission has approved the housing development, but its approval is contingent on council passing the motion to rezone the property.
Councilors Katrina Schmidt and David Izraelevitz asked why zone the property mixed-use rather than just residential. Baer explained that it allows for future proposals for commercial use on the parcels. She said mixed-use was anticipated in this development by the Comprehensive Plan and will allow unit owners to operate small businesses from their properties. Furthermore, Baer said mixed-use allows for more flexibility and accommodates the density of this development.
Council Vice Chair Pete Sheehey asked developer Bill Taylor if there were any plans to try to save some of the old pines on the property. Taylor said yes, it is in the project landscape plans to try to save as many of the pines as possible.
Sheehey also asked whether Ed Grothus, the former owner of the infamous Black Hole and Omega Church, would be commemorated in some way on the property. Taylor said he had discussed this with daughter Barbara Grothu and he promised her there would be plans to honor her father. He added that the plan is to feature a plaque about Grothus on the property.
Izraelevitz said he appreciated the gesture.
“I appreciate that the new owners are going to maintain the connection part of our quirky history of Los Alamos … I am pleased there is going to be some connection,” he said.