Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association
2520 Camino Entrada Unit B,
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87507
505.982.1774
Fax: 505.982.0238
Miles D. Conway
Executive Officer
505.455.2853
eo@sfahba.com
Tanya Doreme
Administrative Manager
tanya@sfahba.com

Election ’21 – Santa Fe: We Build It!

SFAHBA Candidate Questionnaire

Candidates for Office [and Incumbents] in Santa Fe’s Municipal Election SPEAK Directly to SFAHBA Members, Answer our Questionnaire, and Join us on the Radio Show.

Incorporated in 1992, we are a 400 member trade association serving serves the needs and interests of our membership in seven Northern New Mexico Counties. Prior to 1992, we were known as the Building Contractors Association of Santa Fe County. We are builders, architects, electricians, plumbers, and essentially every trades-person you can imagine involved in the residential or commercially built environment, or, as we like to call it, the “home sweet home” industry.

Scroll down to read and listen to candidate responses to our questionnaire.

The Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association, as a matter of policy, does not endorse candidates for political office. We invited all candidates for City Council and Mayor’s Office to answer a questionnaire on issues important to construction industry professionals and also extended an invitation to join our weekly radio show. SFAHBA thanks all the candidates for participating in this questionnaire. These responses help our members and the greater community who are concerned about housing and our economy get to know the candidates and current elected officials.

build-santa-fe

The Questionnaire:

Recently, the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association, in alliance with other stakeholders in the Land Use Department process, sent a letter to the Mayor and City Council with proposals on how we believe the Land Use Department could become more efficient.

In order to best inform our membership prior to the election, we invited all candidates and incumbents to respond to the 09/24/21 letter and indicate their support or opposition to the bulleted list we propose.  

 Given that:

  • Santa Fe finds itself in a housing crisis that undermines our economic momentum, threatens to further displace residents, and casts into peril the character of our City; and
  • In canvasing Santa Fe’s older, established neighborhoods, one can find accessory dwelling units and multi-family residential buildings with four, five or more units – all on a higher density footprint. [Many of these “traditionally” allowable projects are not currently allowable under code]; and
  • Santa Fe’s current priorities and principles involve aggressively addressing climate change which equates to building green, mitigating sprawl and increasing walkability and accessibility to public transit for our neighborhoods.
  • Ancient cities across the globe, including Santa Fe, have shown that greater density and height can be achieved using traditional materials while maintaining a historic vernacular and character of our neighborhoods.   

We invited candidates to respond to these questions:

  1. Indicate your SUPPORT or OPPOSITION to the specific proposals contained in the 9/24/21 letter from the Land Use Working Group.
    • – Allows the option for City Approved Independent Third-Party Plan Check (TPPC) companies to work with applicants in the permit process; and
    • – Amend City Policy and/or Advocate for Amended New Mexico Legislation that: Allow certain HERS rater inspections mandated for compliance with the Santa Fe Residential Green Building Code to qualify as official inspections, making a second redundant City Staff Inspection unnecessary; and
    • – Engage outside consultants to help administer improvements and train city staff and design & construction industry stakeholders on Citizens Self Service (CSS) portal (Residential Express, Commercial Express, Trade, and Secondary permits), the Land Use Website; and review and propose updates to Chapter 14 – Land Development of the Municipal Code.
    • – Employ data from Compensation and Classification Studies from previous and upcoming 2022 studies to adjust pay scales, in order to retain and attract skilled personnel at Land Use.
  2. Describe your vision for Santa Fe’s built environment 20 years down the road.
  3. Indicate your SUPPORT or OPPOSITION for amending current codes to allow greater flexibility in height restrictions, making accessory dwelling units permissible, and, in general, allow for more intensive use of properties in existing and future neighborhoods.
  4. Indicate your SUPPORT or OPPOSITION for increasing Green Building and Water Efficiency Standards for residential, multi-family, and commercial development.
  5. Indicate your SUPPORT or OPPOSITION for a mandate that future neighborhood developments in outlying areas of the city incorporate green space and commercial footprints so that residents may have walkable access to services and are less car-dependent.

Candidates for Mayor of Santa Fe

Candidate for Mayor – JoAnne Vigil Coppler [Current District 4 Councilwoman]

campaign email: joanne4santafe@gmail.com

web: joanneforsantafe.com

1. I support the idea of a city-approved independent 3rd party plan check and I support a HERS rater as a valid, qualified inspector to review compliance with the Green Building Code. Anything the city can do to ensure compliance with the land-use code and speed things up at the same time is a plus. I do, however, wish to ensure that we have good managers in place that can streamline the process. I am also in favor of conducting a full review of “time in motion” and “cost-benefit” type studies that identify improvements to the entire permitting process–whether a manager can perform those studies or an outside consultant can conduct them. The important thing is that improvements are made and they’re made quickly. My past experience as a Human Resources Director for various organizations, including two times with the city of Santa Fe, brings forth direct compensation know-how. I believe all city staff should be paid commensurate with what a job is worth and that the pay should be fair and equitable. The expectation is that employees also do the work competently with efficiency, professionalism and give full customer service.

2. I envision housing for everyone who wants to live in Santa Fe at all price levels. I envision homes that make the best use of energy-saving measures as well as homes that contribute to reducing harmful climate impacts. I envision homes that are built by Santa Fe’s own homebuilders and less out of state builders because I believe employing our own builders helps contribute to Santa Fe’s economic development. I envision livable, walkable neighborhoods including the St. Michael’s Drive Corridor becoming a reality with the improved zoning/permitting incentives.

3. I support amending the codes to allow for this flexibility. I want to note that I supported the ordinance change to allow for accessory dwellings.

4. I support this idea because I believe it goes a long way toward addressing conservation of valuable resources. We must do everything we can to protect our water and sustain the resources we do have.

5. I am in full support of this measure. Livable, walkable neighborhoods are the way to go. I also believe this adds value to a greater quality of life.

Candidate for Mayor – Alan Webber [Current Mayor]

campaign email: campaign@alanforsantafe.com
web: www.alanforsantafe.com

1. Support. The proposals to make our Land Use department faster and more responsive all make good sense—and in fact, we are already implementing or working on implementing some of them. We are going to expedite filling positions that have been “unfrozen” in the current budget and in filling the new positions created in that budget to add more band-width to the department; we are eager to add a “TSA fast lane” for plan checking and permitting; and doing even more for the CSS portal. We want to go paperless in the next 3-5 years. The other recommendations are also ideas that we should pursue to add flexibility and responsiveness to the process.

2. Santa Fe 20 years from now has been able to protect and preserve its enduring qualities: A diverse community where people can live, work and put down roots; where people who work in Santa Fe can afford to live in Santa Fe; a community that continues to find expression of its unique histories and cultures; and a community that is a trailblazer in sustainability. We have the opportunity to grow with grace, with affordable housing and livable neighborhoods that have unmatched quality of life and a genuine sense of place. At the same time, we want to continue to nurture our local businesses so that we don’t become “any place.” We want to protect and preserve the heritage of Santa Fe as “a special place.”

3. Support. When I became Mayor about 3 1/2 years ago, we had a very clear housing agenda and we’ve executed that agenda with vigor and success. For example, you ask about permission for ADUs: We adopted that ordinance in my first year in office, just as we adopted more stringent controls and regulations on Short Term Rentals—both measures aimed at increasing density and protecting our existing housing supply. In the current budget I included $200,000 for the City’s first-ever Growth Management Study. That will give us real data about or capacity to add housing and other development—and not only how much, but also what kind and where. In general, where Santa Fe can gracefully grow more dense and slightly higher—like on the St. Mike’s corridor—we should. Where it would lead to a deterioration of our sense of place or neighborhood values, we shouldn’t. This is why a growth study, combined with a series of corridor and neighborhood planning studies, are steps we need to take right now.

4. Support. We are in the process of developing a Green Building code for multi-family dwellings already; we have been working with the Green Chamber (among others) to make water conservation, in particular, a priority for our commercial users, such as restaurants and hotels; and I expect more efficiency and conservation standards to come forward as the next order of business, as we continue to work on our sustainability agenda.

5. Support. I support planning in all parts of the city that encourage walkability and a sense of place. I have always said that we don’t just want more housing—as if we were somehow just dropping housing units out of the sky—but that we want livable neighborhoods. An example of my approach can be seen the changes made to the Tierra Contenta Phase 3 planning process. The plans that I were shown early in my tenure as Mayor were largely a matter of creating lots that could be sold for development. I insisted that we needed a different planning lens—that we wanted TC3 to be the first choice for working families and others to select as the neighborhood where they wanted to live. With the help of Daniel Werwath and the planning firm that has been consulting to the City on mid-town, as well as the input of the surrounding neighborhood and local developers, the TC3 plan evolved to include connections to Mutt Nelson and other neighborhoods and to provide for a much more flexible and innovative development pattern. That’s an example of what we need to do as we think about combining our approach to adding more housing—and making the development livable, sustainable and desirable.

Candidate for Mayor – Alexis Martinez Johnson

campaign email: alexisforsantafe@gmail.com

web: www.alexisforsantafe.com

1. I fully support and will look to fund increased employment for the city, as well, as recruitment to make sure our permitting and processing of housing/business developments is promoted. There has to be check-in regard to implementing policy that takes into account the populace of Santa Fe’s priorities of environmental and cultural stewardship. Although, for our community, these elements should be promoted there should not be an egregious wait time in the development process. Developers and businesses should look into the future to make sure that their profits are not only monetary but make a difference in the lives of our children 5-25 years into the future. I would fully support 3rd party assistance from contractors to outsource work wherein we are unable to recruit or employ within 60-days of my administration as mayor. We should always look to hire locally and the City of Santa Fe should make a concerted effort to fill any vacancies before any outsourcing is done. In addition, I would work with mentorships at the high schools and community college to shadow city employees so that they can gain real-world experience and look to gain employment upon graduation in the permitting sector as well as administrative positions. A solicitation for employment to all Santa Feans should be done so that we effectively market the need and provide current residents with the opportunity for gainful employment.

2. Santa Fe should lead in the areas of cultural awareness and “green” initiatives. I look build upon the framework of the LEED paradigm and fulfill these standards to the highest while taking into account our very unique cultural perspectives regarding esthetics and the traditional uniqueness of Santa Fe. In 20 years, Santa Fe will change from low quality of life for the community to highest quality of life in regard to recreation centers, park upkeep, and trail beautification and flora/fauna respect and enhancement of habitat.

3. I oppose unilaterally changing codes as the Mayor of Santa Fe. Ordinances and zoning have been voted upon by the governing body and I would refer any changes to zoning to this governing body which is representative of the community. Secondly, I would make sure that subject matter experts, stakeholders, and community members had input to the city governing council and new ordinances or zoning be changed according to this voting and information gathering process.

4. I fully support sustainable measures that we are able to economically attain. Some measures would require such an input of funds that there would be no money left to build the rest of the structures. I take a balanced approach and would advocate for respect for the environment and understanding that Santa Fe and the greater New Mexico are an arid and semi-arid environ and to use this and cultural aesthetics when creating and implementing new development.

5. I would promote green space and commercial footprints if the community approves. Some communities do not want to have commercial sites or large apartment complexes next to their home and that is okay and we must involve stakeholders.

Candidates for City Council

Candidate for City Council District 1  – Roger Carson

campaign email: send2rmc@gmail.com

web: carsonforsantafe.com

  1. Yes, I very much support.
  2. Environmentally sustainable, architecturally relevant, affordable and desirable.
  3. I support the spirit of the changes. New neighborhoods should be engineered to solve the challenges of today rather than repeat the problems of the past. Making changes to existing neighborhoods is fraught with issues so that would need to be done with the cooperation of those who live within those neighborhoods.
  4. Yes, fully support. We have new technology and increased public support.
  5. Yes, fully support.

Candidate for City Council District 1  – Signe Lindell

campaign email: Sigforthecity@gmail.com

web: https://sigforthecity.com

1. Amend City Policy and/or Advocate for Amended New Mexico Legislation that:

Allows the option for City Approved Independent Third-Party Plan Check (TPPC) companies to work with applicants in the permit process; and

SUPPORT – We could amend, dependent on New Mexico Legislative approval.  I would be happy to work with our lobbyist and personally spend time at the Roundhouse promoting this.

Allow certain HERS rater inspections mandated for compliance with the Santa Fe Residential Green Building Code to qualify as official inspections, making a second redundant City Staff Inspection unnecessary.

SUPPORT – I would be happy to sponsor this immediately.

Engage outside consultants to help administer improvements and train city staff and design & construction industry stakeholders on Citizens Self Service (CSS) portal (Residential Express, Commercial Express, Trade and Secondary permits), the Land Use Website; and review and propose updates to Chapter 14 – Land Development of the Municipal Code. 

SUPPORT. I would ask the Land Use Working Group to complete a proposal on this and bring it to the Council. 

Employ data from Compensation and Classification Studies from previous and upcoming 2022 studies to adjust pay scales, in order to retain and attract skilled personnel at Land Use;

SUPPORT – we need to pay a competitive wage and increase staffing.  We increased the budget by nearly 20% but it isn’t enough to meet our needs.  

2. Our built environment in 20 years is exciting to imagine – technology will offer us methods, techniques, and materials we currently can’t know.  Our permitting will all be electronic and FAST. Carbon neutral will be a given. Our water use will be vastly improved, using all of our water.  Zoning will allow for more density and height. The sprawl we have fostered will look very different.  The built environment will need to be considered in conjunction with transportation, economic development, recreation, and sustainability.

2. SUPPORT This is essentially talking about zoning, which in turn means density.  If we are to stop sprawl, we will need to build higher to allow for increased density.  We have to address these issues in order to minimize neighborhood upheaval.  We need an updated plan; however, considering that we have few sizable tracts of buildable land, it would be wise to do the planning in sections, to avoid being outdated by the time projects are complete.  

3. SUPPORT – I have a solid voting record in favor of water conservation. As a city, since 1995, we are using 33% less water with a 25% population increase. Residentially, we have done well with water conservation, and it is time to focus on multi-family dwellings and commercial use.

4. SUPPORT green space.  Everything about green space makes life better.  Of course, it needs proper planning, and in our desert environment, it is challenging to meet our sustainability goals but it makes life better for residents.  I theoretically SUPPORT a commercial footprint.  I think it can be very challenging to get to a point of occupancy but I would support the concept with a minimum size development to be mandated.

Candidate for City Council District 4  – Amanda Chavez

campaign email: amanda@amandachavezforsantafe.com

VIDEO COMING TOMORROW!
  1. I support this. With my experience on the Planning Commission it was clear that their was a need for policy change, as the General Plan is 20 years old and needs to evolve as the needs of our city has evolved, especially now that we are working to recover form the pandemic. I believe that addressing the systems within the city and creating processes to source out is a great way to address lack of human resources we are facing as a city. As a director in education we face the same challenges with the shortage in employees and our immediate response is to look out for agencies outside of our district that can build our capacity. It is effective and will work.
  2. I want our community members to have homes. I envision a Santa Fe where there are diverse home options to meet the needs of our diverse population. I see affordable housing near resources to make that housing sustainable for residents. I see neighborhoods that have multi-use developments so our community members have what they need walking distance from home. I see us making choices in development that have less strain on our environment so that as a city we are reducing our carbon footprint.
  3. Support amending current codes to allow greater flexibility in height restrictions, making accessory dwelling units permissible, and, in general, allow for more intensive use of properties in existing and future neighborhoods.
  4. Support increasing Green Building and Water Efficiency Standards for residential, multi-family, and commercial development.
  5. I support all three options that future neighborhood developments in outlying areas of the city incorporate green space and commercial footprints so that residents may have walkable access to services and are less car dependent.

Candidate for City Council District 4  – Rebecca A. Romero

campaign email: rromerosantafe4@gmail.com

1. I think this is something we can implement. As a growing city and a city who wants to be greener, we can use new ways to implement the change we need as a city.

2. My vision for Santa Fe would be to focus on maintaining our water reservoirs and making sure we as a city are taking every measure, we can to prevent more pollution. For example working with a new administration to implement an emissions regulation for the City.

3. I oppose flexibility to amending any codes that will allow higher buildings to be built. We as a city need to find other areas of land to build and grow. One of the main reasons people move to Santa Fe is the mountain views and we should not get rid of that.

4. I support this as we need to maintain a safe water efficiency for years to come.

5. I support developments to help community members access services and the needs they require for living. We should have more walking trails.

Candidate for City Council District 2  – Carol Romero-Wirth

campaign email: romerowirth@newmexico.com

1. I appreciate the work the Land Use Working Group is doing to identify and articulate issues in the planning, permitting, and inspections process. As part of a second term, we can evaluate with staff and stakeholders the feasibility of the identified solutions as well as the changes necessary for the implementation of any viable choices. As we have more resources, continued modernization while building back the capacity of this department will and must be a priority. A lot of work has been done, systematic changes have been made to help navigate the global pandemic, and as you state more work is necessary. This administration was the first in a long time to implement changes from the Classification and Compensation Study completed just after I was elected to the Council. Prior studies had been undertaken but not implemented. Another study is budgeted and will be undertaken in early 2022 as you point out. We must continue to stay the pace and implement the findings to retain and attract the skilled workers we need across the City government not just in the Land Use Department.

2. As part of the current budget, we have funding for a growth management study. This work will require important conversations with the community to better understand where and how we can grow in a manner that fits our values and achieves our stated goals like affordable housing. Climate change will require that we demand continued and greater efficiency in water and energy use. Improvements in the transportation sector and walkability will also be important.

3. Community conversations about density should be part of the upcoming growth management study. We need to identify areas in the City and build community support and understanding for the areas that can accommodate density while balancing and maintaining other factors that preserve the character of Santa Fe. The future development of Midtown is an opportunity to incorporate more density and achieve additional affordable housing so that people who work here can afford to live here.

4. I support increasing Green Building and Water Efficiency Standards for residential, multi-family and commercial development. As Chair of the City Water Conservation Committee, I know that there is more we can and must do to conserve water. Conservation in the commercial and building sectors are reasonable places to look for additional water savings. The building community has demonstrated support for a lower WERS standard which is used to insure new building is water efficient. Early next year, we will be making changes to the green building code to incorporate multi-family housing. In December 2019, the Governing Body approved a resolution I sponsored for 40 and 80- year water plans to help identify the work of ensuring a sustainable water supply. These planning efforts are underway. The return flow pipeline, currently positioned for evaluation by state and federal authorities, will provide more resiliency in our water system. This infrastructure will allow us to utilize the City’s full allocation of imported San Juan Chama water. We are lucky that for decades elected leaders and staff have been working on and making hard decisions to diversify our water system. As a community, we are leaders in water conservation strategies. This work puts us in a strong position as we deal with the challenges presented by climate change. A recent presentation to the City Council demonstrates that currently, even in this drought, our water system sustainably produces more water than we are using. \

We know if we do nothing, studies tell us that shortages are possible in about 50 years. Our long-term planning will help us identify what we need to be doing now to meet our needs down the road. Examples will include work on conservation, infrastructure, adaptation strategies, and additional policies to protect our water resources. Moving forward, as we have done for a long time, we will have to demand continued efficiency at every turn. This is some of the work of a second term.

5. Walkable access to services and less car dependency should be part of our future. Sustainably planted trees should also be part of these footprints and will be important as our climate warms. How we achieve more can be part of the community conversations we engage in as part of the growth management study.

Candidate for City Council District 3  – Roman Tiger Abeyta

campaign email: tigerabeyta@gmail.com

  1. I support the bulleted list above. (9.24.21 Proposals from Land Use Working Group)
  2. We need to update our City’s General Plan. We need to fulfill our annexation agreement commitments. We need to extend water and sewer to the areas of the City that were annexed. We need to begin the construction and build-out of Tierra Contenta Phase III.
  3. I support and in fact have been working on a code amendment to allow higher building heights for mixed-use development in appropriate locations.
  4. I support this.
  5. I support walkable access to services.

 

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