On Monday, the Albuquerque City Council voted 6-3 to override Mayor Tim Keller’s veto of the revised Neighborhood Association Recognition Ordinance. On April 18, the council voted to repeal and replace NARO with a new ordinance that defines how an association or neighborhood coalition is recognized and prevents associations from requiring members to pay dues to vote in its elections, among other changes.
An April 20 petition was sent to the mayor asking him to veto the revised ordinance. In the petition letter, residents asked Keller to veto the ordinance on the grounds it has “zero support from the community” and “limits and over legislates community organizations.” In bold font, the letter reads, “More importantly it confuses and confounds the process of notifications to resident regarding developments and appeals regarding developments in our areas.”
The letter says the new ordinance places the responsibility of notification of new developments on neighborhood organizations. “This effectively removes the ability to appeal a development due to non-notification!” the letter reads.
Ava Montoya, public information officer for the mayor’s office, responded to a request for comment on the city council’s override of Keller’s veto, writing, “The current Neighborhood Association Recognition Ordinance is out of date and reasonable updates should be made; however, we strongly believe that changes like these should be made through a fair process that includes the voices of neighborhood stakeholders. Despite Neighborhood Associations across the city making it very clear that they were not given adequate opportunity to provide input, Council apparently felt that the changes to NARO were ‘good enough’ without broad neighborhood participation.”
Montoya also said, “Since the start of this year, Mayor Keller has now vetoed six pieces of legislation and Council has upheld all but two of the vetoes.” Keller’s veto of the repeal of the Clean and Green Retail Ordinance was also overridden earlier this year. That ordinance prohibited single-use plastic bags from being used by grocery stores. District 4 Councilor Brook Bassan initiated the repeal of the Clean and Green Ordinance. On Monday, Bassan voted against overriding the mayor’s veto of the revised NARO.
On April 22, president of the Heritage East Association of Residents Daniel Martinez responded to a request for comment on the passing of the revised ordinance. Martinez wrote: “As far as the Neighborhood Association Recognition Ordinance, as a member of a community that has been under constant growth, I feel that it’s important that our concerns are heard by all parties affiliated with the new phases of commercial and residential development.
“Bringing more people to the area means that there will be more traffic and need for a supportive infrastructure to ensure safety for everyone in the area at all times, day or night.
“On a micro-level, we know what types of support our neighborhoods need. If we can’t voice that or if no one is there to listen, can you really say that our best interests are being met?”
A request for comment from other Neighborhood Association representatives in the Northeast Heights went unanswered at the time of this writing. For more information on NARO from the city’s website, click here.