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Month: April 2016 (page 1 of 2)

HELLO ALBUQUERQUE

A Rallying Cry

Many people in Albuquerque are facing many hardships these days: a poor economy; too many poor people; difficult business conditions. Add to that: a trying education system; unrepentant street criminals; unrepaired infrastructure; alcoholism; empty buildings and lots; and far too many homeless, often literally living on the streets, and for parts of their days, on buses.

These are the basics, bus basics.

All of the above stated points have been cited and argued, often passionately, by those both ‘for’ and ‘against’ a new BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system that has been proposed for Albuquerque.

Some say the “City” has proposed it, meaning the “City of Albuquerque.” They’re wrong. It’s not “the city” that wants BRT, the way it has been pursued and proposed, it’s City Government. But, that is wrong too, there are many hard working, intelligent, caring, city workers that oppose the proposed BRT project.

So, what?

The answer is simple, if not easy. The fact of the matter is that a very few number of people, apparently led by the Mayor, has made a decision to promote, and rapidly push through, a BRT (bus) system as an answer, and as a panacea, to all of Albuquerque’s myriad problems. Such an answer is simplistic. It is the answer of politicians and politics at their worst.

What to do?

Taking action is not always easy. In times past, people have pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor, to stand up against tyranny, or to stand up against far lesser wrongs. What to do is a personal decision, but We Shall Not Be Moved.

As Mavis Staples says, “we are fighting for our Children, we shall not be moved,” and, “like a tree that’s planted by the water, we shall not be moved.”

And that is where the fight begins, by the trees that were planted by the water.

In the name of “ART” the Mayor proposes to destroy at least 249 living and healthy “Gen X” age TREES that were planted along, and as part of, Central Avenue, not far from the waters of the Rio Grande.

The fight, the good fight, might begin as a tree fight, but it will not end as just a tree fight. It is (to paraphrase Churchill), “on to the end, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength, we shall defend; whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

To be clear, it is not a fight against buses. There are articulated buses running on Central Avenue right now, good buses that certainly could stand to be better. There are bus shelters, properly sheltering passengers, not buses. These shelters too, could be better; the bus shelter project started years ago, needs to be finished.

The fight is not even about whether Albuquerque could benefit from a BRT line. Bus Rapid Transit has its merits, but only if BRT is done right, done BRighT, and is right with the people; with the people and the citizens of Albuquerque; Albuquerque New Mexico, not Cleveland, not Seattle, not San Francisco, Boston, or Utah.

OK, now where?

The ART Project is a complicated topic, it may be seen as a many headed hydra that often seems to come at us with a dangerous fury. Hydra’s are fought best (possibly) by removing one head at a time. The “heads” in this case are each issue. To fight out an issue requires information and knowledge, a willingness to learn.
 

That is the intent and purpose of this website, to provide information. We believe, I believe, that in knowledge there is power; that knowledge leads to truth, and that the truth shall set one, us, and Albuquerque, free.

NotePlease click on the MENU (in the upper left-hand corner of this page) for topic areas and INFORMATION POSTS regarding each issue. Words in red are links to additional information, or sources.

The featured image above is part of an article that can be found HERE.

New!

BRT/ART Project – Too Big Not to Fail
May 30, 2016
A simple summary of the “Berry Principal” in creating an Albuquerque road to ruin.

The Desert Sands Silver Moon has set
May 25, 2016

Central Avenue Construction Zone
May 15, 2016
The current closing off of Central Avenue – Mayor Berry’s Central Avenue outrages appear to have no bounds. And my outrage at his outrages continues to be fairly considerable…

BRT / ART Project construction begins.
With lightening speed the CABQ BRT/ART Forces performed a daring end run around the “environmental” lawsuits that are pending, and started construction on Albuquerque’s proposed ART Project…

ADA Violations.
On April 27, 2016, I sent you an email regarding my concerns surrounding ADA issues inherent to the proposed Walter Street bus loading platform…

START
It’s as ‘red or green’ as Albuquerque –  ST. (the abbreviation for Street) and ART (the abbreviation for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project…

LUC Commission Rules.
The City of Albuquerque (CABQ) has not made the LUCC Rules available on the web, pursuant to their “transparency” program…

Walter Street Update.
Walter Street is a historic street that crosses Central Avenue in the EDo (East DOwntown) neighborhood of Albuquerque…

City 3.0 Point Guard.
In a front page Albuquerque Journal article today business writer Winthrop Quigley used Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, California, to push…

LUCC Minutes aren’t minute.
On May 6, 2016, after specific request for the official Minutes of the LUCC Hearing of April 13, 2016, a copy of the “Summary Minutes” were released…

Make ART Smart Fundraiser
It may be a long road to save Central. In an event hosted by Doug Peterson…

RECORDS REQUEST

this post presents the content of the SIXTH LETTER-DOCUMENT COMMUNICATION FROM DONALD CLAYTON REGARDING THE APRIL 13, 2016, landmarks and urban conservation commission (LUCC) HEARING
Subject: RECORDS REQUEST

April 29, 2016

Natalie Howard, MPA
City Clerk
City of Albuquerque
Office of the City Clerk
600 2nd Street – Room 720
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Linda Evans
Senior Administrative Assistant – One Stop Shop
Custodian of Public Records
Planning Department
City of Albuquerque
600 2nd Street – Room 201
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Doreen De La Cruz
Executive Assistant
Custodian of Public Records
City of Albuquerque Transit Department
City of Albuquerque
8001 Daytona Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87121

Maryellen Hennessy
Senior Planner
Landmarks and Urban Conservation
Current Planning Division
Planning Department
City of Albuquerque
600 2nd Street – 3rd Floor
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Please enclose this document in the appropriate LUCC file.

Project Number: 1010796
Case Number: 16-LUCC 50013

Also: Central Avenue Albuquerque Rapid Transit COA Project No. 631991
a project segment located on or near the public R.O.W. between Union Square Street and Locust Avenue on the north side of Central Avenue and between Union Square Street and an unmarked freeway on-ramp on the south side of Central Avenue, said to be Locust Street (This project segment hereinafter referred to as: “Project Number 631991”).

Mses Howard, Evans, De La Cruz, and Hennessy:

Synopsis and Summary of Request(s):
This letter document is first and foremost a formal PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST. This letter document also requests, “in the interest of time,” the immediate withdrawal of the City of Albuquerque Transit Department application in the above referenced project and case, a case that is the sole cause of this records request.

History
On March 9, 2016, the City of Albuquerque Transit Department (hereinafter: “Transit”) submitted an application for an LUCC Hearing. The procedures followed were significantly deficient, as alleged and identified in five letter documents written and sent by myself (Donald Clayton) between April 20th and April 27th, 2016. The letters are contained in the above referenced project and case LUCC file.

In partial remedy of the stated deficiencies, LUCC staff and Transit staff, caused the publishing of a new Legal Notice, a reposting of signs, and a rewording and resending of “Neighborhood Association” letters.

The new signs and Legal Notice are not supported by either a new application or an amended application. This fact creates a great and self-evident, public and administrative confusion regarding the legitimate subject of the case and the purpose of the hearing, to wit: “Roadwork and Street Furniture between John Street and Locust Street” and “Construction of a bus loading platform between Union Square Street and Locust Street.”

This second Legal Notice was not accompanied with even so much as a site plan that indicated whether the “bus loading platform” was in fact the proposed “Walter Street BRT Station” (discussed at length in the faulty April 13, 2016, LUCC Hearing) or whether it was, in fact, a “bus loading platform” to extend the entire distance along Central Avenue between Union Square Street and Locust Street.

Legal issues:
It should not have to be the responsibility of a citizen to point out, and recite, the Rules and laws applicable to the convening of a simple public hearing. In this case it has been, and was.

The prodigious and rampant violations are, and were, as stated before, self evident. They continue. They continue despite repeated good faith, and diligent efforts to clarify and rectify the LUCC hearing situation. Ample citation to authority exists in the aforementioned letters, letters which are herein referenced, and by such reference incorporated as a part of this letter document.

The gravest legal issue at hand is the requirement of the submission (pursuant to Rules of Procedure and Conduct – Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (hereinafter: “LUCC Rules”), adopted by the LUCC June 12, 2013) of:

  • All plans submitted to the LUCC review must be able to be built as drawn.  If the City of Albuquerque requires a licensed design professional’s stamp for the building permit, then a licensed design professional must design and draw the submittal for LUCC review. (Underlining and Bold type added.)
    Note: The proposed project is a public works project. A licensed design professional’s stamp is required.
  • 5.  Any documents, photos, plans, or other information provided to the City in conjunction with an application shall be available to the public.

And:

  • LUC Ordinance § 14-12-4 Definitions states, “STRUCTURE. Anything constructed or erected above ground level which requires location on the ground or attached to something having a location on the ground but not including a tent, vehicle, vegetation, or public utility pole or line.”

The fact is that virtually no drawings, plans, or documents whatsoever have been submitted by Transit, in support of the application, pursuant to the Rules and laws.

The fact is that the documents and “illustrative” artist renderings do not comport with the legal requirements of the City Council resolution of March 21st, relevant to this project. Simply put, the “illustrative” Station (now platform) lane widths are wrong.

It should be noted that pursuant to the Legal Notice published in the Albuquerque Journal on April 27, 2016, I, Donald Clayton, on April 28, 2016, “examined (the deficient application) on the third floor of the Plaza Del Sol building, 600 2nd St. NW” and found no new or additional drawings, plans, site plans, or documents relevant or responsive to the laws and Rules cited above. The absence of the required records from the required LUCC file is the sole cause of this records request.

Public urgency, health, and safety:
It is my information and belief that the issues at hand, consequent to a proper and necessary LUCC Hearing, is of grave and urgent import to the public need, the public health, and the public safety.

Project Number 631991 and Project Number 1010796 are in virtually all respects one and the same. The project calls for the functional obliteration of Central Avenue as it now exists. It calls for the removal and/or destruction of approximately 35 mature and healthy, large caliper, trees. The project calls for the reduction and elimination of existing and functional ADA ramps, to be replaced by dangerous and complicated ADA configurations that are unquestionably destructive and unworkable. The project calls for insufficiently protected mid-street platform(s) that constitute a clear threat of bodily injury, or possibly death, of proposed transit users. The project calls for the reduction and elimination of necessary beneficial sidewalks. The project calls for the construction of large, probably inappropriate, garish illuminated signs, and other signs, apparently incompatible with the history, scale, feel, and scope of the EDo historic neighborhood.

There are numerous other equally relevant design and construction issues immediately relevant to just the “bus loading platform,” much less the relevant project as it was suggested to be in the original application.

RECORDS REQUEST
Issues and background:
This records request cannot be viewed as “normal.” It is necessitated by an unanticipated event, to wit, the fact that if compliance is delayed for the 15 days allowed, or even 10, the rights of the public are endangered and the public safety is put in peril, especially the safety of those that are least mobile in their ability to be aware, to review, and to respond – the ADA community.

This fact is compounded by the documented fact that Transit has illegally delayed, obfuscated, and ignored past public records requests to the decree that clearly suggests that it is not “a mistake,” but a deliberate pattern.

Evidence of this pattern is manifold and manifest. It begins with the dearth of relevant public records at public meetings, it continues with a failure to provide available and relevant documents on the brtabq.com official website, it is most manifest in the failure of Transit to provide the public documents required by LUCC Rules, and finally it is evident by my numerous, clearly stated pleadings for the proper documents to be included in the LUCC file.

Not included in the above, is the clearly documented failure of Transit to properly and legally respond to two separate formal written records requests, the first dated April 6, 2016, and the second April 12, 2016.

In the first instance, the Transit Custodian not only failed to respond within three days, but when she did respond, she immediately invoked the 15-day provision, even though the records were not in her custody. As it turned out, the records were made available (by another Department) in eight days, but not until considerable obfuscation based on an effort to make an electronic version available that was not functional. Further, the records custodian of the Finance and Administration Department, the department where the Transit records were, for some unknown reason exclusively deposited, failed to respond in any way to the written request she received. (Full documentation of this entire incident is available upon request.)

I have been loath to make formal records requests when simple oral informal requests should suffice. Such requests began in March 17, 2016, with inquires to Kevin Welch, of Transit. Since then, Transit has repeatedly refused to provide information, resulting in the formal requests, and pleadings, stated above.

After 40 days, documentation is still disastrously deficient. The time and the hour has grown short, it is down to 13 days before the hearing. Lives, are apparently literally at stake, as the following records request will show.

Summary and theory of request:
The request is for all information regarding the “bus loading platform between Union Square Street and Locust Street.” It also includes information on all legally defined “Structures,” if any such additional structures are in any way a part of either of the two above stated projects, as may be reasonably inferred by the Exhibits submitted pursuant to the original application. It is understood that any Structures not produced in this records request are not to be built in the subject R.O.W.

The following information is to provide guidance for the records request, so that the issues can be understood, in order to determine if relevant records are readily accessible, or even if they exist. Please note Priority of Production (below).

Timeliness. The request is to be able to review the records at a time that is timely to the situation at hand. The timeliness of the response must allow sufficient and reasonable time to review the records, order or make applicable copies, and have time for competent engineering review, or other review of the facts and the documents produced.

Severability. If any document, page, drawing, plan, or other information is immediately available, then the request is to review that portion of production immediately, and not to withhold the totality of production to a time when all requested public information is made available.

Reasonable specificity. If documents, pages, drawings, plans, or other information are available, it is requested that the response be put in writing, with reasonable specificity, indicating the location of the document and the specific subject matter reasonably stated.

Reference to any document or information said to be contained on the brtabq.com webpage should have a dedicated, one-step URL, or the request is to review a hard-copy version. Specific information is requested. If the responsive tome is greater than 9 pages, a specific and accurate page number is requested.

Priority of production. It is the belief of the requestor that the most urgent production involves what was once called the “Walter Street Station” and is now referred to as “a bus loading platform.” It is further believed, but not known, that there is no intention by Transit to build “a bus loading platform” for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project in public Right-of-way on Central Ave. between Union Square (John St.) and Locust Streets in the Huning Highland-East Downtown Urban Conservation Overlay Zone.” in an area and location undefined by a site plan.

It is believed that the Walter Street Station, aka bus loading platform, has been proposed as consisting of six (6) component parts:

  • 1.  PLATFORM  A reinforced concrete platform of unknown height, length, width, foundation, surfacing, amenities, and other physically important features. The platform is said to incorporate ADA compliant ramps.
  • 2.  MONUMENTS  Two additional structures on top of, next to, or possibly structurally incorporated with the platform, termed “Monuments” are to be located at both the east end and west end of the platform. These monuments are of unknown dimensions, engineering, and design.
  • The best available, most current, existing information places these monuments within the designated ADA ramp areas, not next to them. The monuments have been represented to double as a protective barrier for the ADA ramps and for anyone needing to use the platform for Transit purposes, or for crossing an (to be) obstructed (and destroyed and eliminated) existing Central Avenue intersection.
  • No reviewable design information has been made available that would indicate that these (probably) concrete barriers are capable of withstanding the weight of a direct impact from a typical (for the corridor) legally large truck, much less a bus or even a passenger car. The barrier would be brittle if impacted, sending flying shards of concrete into the immediately adjacent ADA ramp, and possibly much of the platform passenger area.
  • It is the information and belief of the requestor that, at a minimum engineered stanchions of significant size, concrete guard rails, or heavy steel guard rails might be necessary to protect passengers, pedestrians, and ADA people from the dangers inherent in this center-of-street platform.
  • If so, the new protective structures would have a major impact on the urban character of the protected historical zone.
  • Further, any engineered design would be meaningless unless soil studies have been performed that validate the structural design assumptions of a “one size fits all” monument design of life-saving importance. It is the requestors belief that such soil studies and analysis have not been performed.
  • 3.  26′ SIGNS  The soil studies apply too, to the two 26′ tall signs proposed, but apparently not engineered, for the platform. There is no evidence that the flashing LED lights, nor the finalized sign colors, have been submitted to the State Historical Protection Officer (SHPO) for this specific location, as required by City Ordinance. It is the requestors belief that such signs are inconsistent and inappropriate for this historic portion of Central. Without engineering details describing wind load calculations, it can be assumed that the signs are dangerous and constitute a traffic and transportation corridor hazard.
  • 4.  INFORMATION KIOSK  In what has been presented as an “information kiosk” of unknown dimensions, footing, and foundation, lies a formidable obstacle to the entire functioning of the proposed BRT platform. The existing scale drawings (not a part of the application) suggest that the kiosk is a fixed building with access doors and panels that would obstruct the very narrow bus boarding and pedestrian transfer functions of the proposed platform.
  • The scale suggests that the kiosk is at least 2.5 feet in width, leaving only 5.5 feet on an 8′ (possible unconfirmed area) width – leaving only 2’9″ on each side of an apparently 18′ long structure for bicycles and wheelchairs to navigate. Since an average wheelchair is 32″ wide, and calculating areas for hand holds and purses or sweaters, the functional wheelchair width is at least 40″. 40″ times 2 is 80 inches, or 6′ 8″, which means that transiting wheelchairs would have to use the 2′ alert bump (yellow danger) area for each and every use of the platform (station). Many bicycle users would be confronted with even bigger problems.
  • It is important to remember that it is (possibly) a 16 inch drop-off, with no guardrail protection, from the yellow bump-zone mat to the dedicated BRT concrete corridor. The tentative design of the platform appears to be a liability nightmare.
  • 5.  LIGHT STANDARDS  Again, very few details are known about the six (6) light standards that are proposed to be part and parcel to the engineered platform. It appears that they may be unserviceable unless a truck is used that would interfere with the dedicated BRT lane, which means that burned out lights could not be changed at night until after the end of BRT service, creating a danger to nighttime users of the platform.
  • 6.  Railings and Street Furniture  Proposed to be attached to the platform are waste receptacles, a single bench of no stated seating capacity, height, or design, and “safety” railings. Existing drawing suggest the railings are not ADA compliant. The single bench could further inhibit the boarding and pedestrian transit functions of the platform.
  • 7.  NO SHELTER  The “platform” was represented publicly as being a $400,000 BRT Station. The platform is not compliant with national standards (See: 2.3) for BRT service, it is not even a basic bus “shelter”, as it has no ability to “protect passengers from weather conditions.” The creation of this platform would most probably contribute to health adversity and a reduction of quality of life of users of the platform.

REQUEST TO INSPECT PUBLIC RECORDS

To the above stated records Custodians, hello:

My name is Donald Clayton. My address is 1— Silver Avenue SW, Albuquerque NM 87104. My telephone number is 505 / 842-1—. My email address is cityofnikko@gmail.com

I would like to inspect the public records relative to, and relevant to, the projects as defined and stated above, and as defined in § 14-2-6. E. of the NM Inspection of Public Records Act. I specifically, first, and foremost, request records related to the “Walter Street Station and “bus platform” that constitute proposed construction for the potentially federally funded Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project.

I specifically refer you to HDR contracted records, to Studio Hill Design contracted records, to Bradbury Stamm surveys and contracted records, other architectural records, and records contained in the Office of the City Engineer, City of Albuquerque.

I also specifically refer to drawings, diagrams, special effects, and plans produced and created by Transit at public expense.

I specifically caution against the withholding of public records based on any general theory of competitive disadvantage, as the argument is herein made that the process of a proper public administration, and the issue of public input, and of the urgent issue of public safety, outweigh private party business decisions.

Signed: /s/ Donald Clayton

P.S. If, at any time, on any date, the above referenced Transit application is officially withdrawn, pursuant to published legal notice, and notice to me, I herein immediately withdraw any further performance pursuant to this records request.

APRIL 27, 2016, LUCC LEGAL NOTICE

April 27, 2016, second LUCC Legal Notice re: "bus platform."

April 27, 2016, second LUCC Legal Notice re: “bus platform.”

This Legal Notice was published in the Albuquerque Journal on April 27, 2016, for the City of Albuquerque Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (LUCC) Hearing proposed for May 11, 2016:

LEGAL NOTICE TO ALL PARTIES AND CITIZENS IN INTEREST:

Notice is hereby given that the Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission will hold a Public Hearing on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, at 3:00 p.m., Basement Hearing Room, Plaza del Sol building, 600 2nd St. NW, Albuquerque, NM. Public comments are welcome. Copies of the applications may be examined on the third floor of the Plaza del Sol building, 600 2nd St. NW.

Project # 1010802
16-LUCC-50015
Application for Certificate of Appropriateness Elliot Treveston Agent for CTB Development requests approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness for new construction at 509 and 511 High street SE, described as Lot 3A and 3B, Block 30, Huning Highlands addition. (K-14)

Project # 1010796
16-LUCC-50013
Application for Certificate of Appropriateness City of Albuquerque Transit Department requests approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness for alterations and construction of a bus loading platform for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project in Public Right-of-way on Central Ave. between Union Square (John St.) and Locust Streets in the Huning Highland-East Downtown Urban Conservation Overlay Zone. (K-14 & K-15).

[continued in next column]

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES who need special assistance to participate at this hearing should contact Alfredo Salas, Planning Department, at 924-3370 (VOICE) or TTY users may access the voice number via the New Mexico Relay Network by calling 1-800-659-8331.

James Clark, Chair, Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission

APPROVED: Maryellen Hennessy, Senior Planner, Landmarks and Urban Conservation
Journal: April 27, 2016

The only “site map” for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project subject project area is HERE.

LUCC APPLICATION AND HEARING PROCESS RULES VIOLATIONS

this post presents the content of the FIFTH LETTER-DOCUMENT COMMUNICATION FROM DONALD CLAYTON REGARDING THE APRIL 13, 2016, landmarks and urban conservation commission (LUCC) HEARING
Subject: LUCC APPLICATION AND HEARING PROCESS RULES VIOLATIONS

April 27, 2016

Maryellen Hennessy
Senior Planner
Landmarks and Urban Conservation
Current Planning Division
Planning Department
City of Albuquerque
600 2nd Street – 3rd Floor
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Project Number: 1010796
Case Number: 16-LUCC 50013

Ms Hennessy:

During the past week I have sent you three carefully researched and detailed letters regarding the inappropriate, improper, and probably illegal, April 13, 2016, LUCC Hearing.

The letters sent were as follows:

  • On April 20th I pointed out that the required pubic notice signs were not properly posted.
  • On April 21st I pointed out that the required Legal Notice was not properly published.
  • On April 23rd I pointed out the improper and apparently illegal use of the name John Street in both legal notices, application submittals, and public discussion.
  • In a letter begun on April 23rd and sent April 25th I pointed out the errors, the inappropriate public misdirection, and the apparent deficiencies regarding the Neighborhood Association letters that were sent.

Today I write once again. This time the topic is the flagrant disregard of the LUCC’s own rules in the approach to, and the conduct of, the Hearing.

To begin, I reference my letter dated April 23, 2016, entitled in part “400 Roma,” and by this reference refer you to, and incorporate into this letter, the content, the advisories, the qualifiers, the reservations, and the requests previously made.

LUCC Rules – Background:

On April 14, 2016, the day after the LUCC Hearing regarding an approximately .4 mile section of the proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project, I met with both you and Alfredo Salas in a conference room on the 3rd Floor of 600 2nd Street in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I note that the meeting began about 3:00 PM, that 600 2nd Street is also widely known as the “Aztec Building,” (due to it’s Mayan Pyramid type shape) and by some, mostly employed by the City, as “Plaza Del Sol.”

The purpose of the meeting was to review the LUCC Case File #16-LUCC 50013. Pursuant to immediate concerns that I had regarding the “Exhibits” submitted pursuant to the Hearing, I requested from Mr. Salas, a copy of the LUCC Rules. He returned shortly with a seven-page document entitled, Rules of Procedure and Conduct – Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission. He presented me with a copy.

As I am sure you recall, I asked about the paucity of design and project details regarding the structures proposed as part of the project, specifically what has been promoted as a $400,000 Walter Street BRT Station. You responded that the Exhibits were more “Illustrative” than “Details.”

I believe that the Rules of Procedure and Conduct – Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (hereinafter: “LUCC Rules”), adopted by the LUCC June 12, 2013, should put to rest any confusion regarding the above stated issues and matters.

LUCC Rules:

Note: The following passages are unnecessarily long due to the fact that the LUCC Rules are not (as of this date) available on line. Given the “transparency” initiative of the City Of Albuquerque, one would expect the LUCC Rules to be available on line.

PURPOSE AND INTENT – The LUCC Rules begin by establishing legal authority under the heading Purpose and Intent. I quote in relevant part:

  • These Rules define procedures for the application, notification, and decision-making by the Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (LUCC).
  • The Boards and Commission Ordinance § 2-6-1-4 C provides for Rules to be adopted for each board or commission and filed with the City Clerk bearing the signature of the presiding Officers.
  • These Rules replace previous and all Rules contained in other LUCC handbooks and guideline documents.
  • These Rules incorporate procedural issues in the LUC Ordinance § 14-12 and other ordinances, resolutions, plans, and guidelines under the LUCC’s jurisdiction.  These Rules may be revised or amended by a majority vote of the Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission in accordance with provisions of Boards and Commissions Ordinance § 2-6-1-4-C.”

C. APPLICATION – In most relevant part this section states:

  • 2.  Applicants should review their proposed projects with City staff prior to preparing final plans and submitting an application.  Staff will determine the level of review required for the circumstances of the case.
  • 3.  An application for a Certificate of Appropriateness or a Certificate of Compliance shall be in writing on forms prescribed by the City.  The application must include all items, as indicated by City staff and check/marked on the applicant’s Form L Checklist and other Project Drawings Checklists provided by the City.  The applicant shall provide sufficient copies of the submittal for the review as determined by the City.  Incomplete submittals are grounds for a deferral or denial.  Inaccurate information provided is grounds for a denial.
  • 4.  Drafting standards:  In order to document and understand the exact nature of the proposed work, drawings must be submitted with the application.  All drawings must be to scale, with the scale indicated on each drawing. Drawings may be by hand, but must present the project in a clear fashion.  Drawings shall show the relationship of the project to the existing building(s), the surrounding neighboring structures, and the street context as applicable.
  • Major design elements shall have the dimensions clearly indicated on the drawing(s).  Examples of major design elements to show dimensions include roof heights, trusses, porches, overhangs, windows, doors, awnings, walls, fences, steps, decks, and every major design element intended for the final project. (Italics added.)
  • All plans submitted to the LUCC review must be able to be built as drawn.  If the City of Albuquerque requires a licensed design professional’s stamp for the building permit, then a licensed design professional must design and draw the submittal for LUCC review. (Underlining and Bold type added.)
    Note: The proposed project is a public works project, a licensed design professional’s stamp is required.
  • 5.  Any documents, photos, plans, or other information provided to the City in conjunction with an application shall be available to the public.
  • 6.  For applications requiring a public hearing, all supporting materials and project plans must be submitted by the application deadline in order to allow time for analysis and preparation of a staff report and review by other agencies as appropriate.  Any materials intended to be distributed to the LUCC with the staff report must be submitted at least a week prior to the hearing.  If visual materials such as photographs are submitted, they should be identified as to location, photographer, date, and categorized into an exhibit sequence so that the LUCC may refer to one specific photograph or document as an exhibit.  The LUCC may accept new materials at the public hearing subject to majority vote.

The reality:
The actual reality of what has occurred since March 4, 2016, when Dayna Crawford took the first step in the Albuquerque Transit Department’s efforts to push through the total redesign, rebuilding, and fundamental removal of Central Avenue (as anyone now knows it) in the EDo (east downtown area of Albuquerque) is very different than what the LUCC Rules, as stated above, require.

Not a single document or drawing was submitted that had a “scale indicated on the drawing.” Not a single document or drawing had provision for “a licensed design professional’s stamp.” Not a single document or drawing was “to scale.” Not a single document or drawing or plan showed “the street context as applicable.” No maps or plans were submitted showing BRT lanes, traffic lanes, traffic signal light relocations, electrical conduits, irrigation plans, ADA ramps, drainage, road surfacing, roadway plans, permanent signing, sign removal, tree removal, striping plans, loop detectors, drive pad details, intersection details, utility relocations and abandonments, that met the LUCC Rules requirement of “All plans submitted to the LUCC review must be able to be built as drawn.

Even the $400,000 “Walter Street Station” had no correct drawings or plans. A few artist sketches substituted for architectural and/or engineer drawings. Even the “information kiosk (aka the $400,000 Walter Station)” had no foundation plans, no elevations, no “dimensions (that) include roof heights, overhangs, doors, awnings, walls.” No “Walter Street Platform” dimensions were given, no lengths, no width, no depths. There were no details regarding ADA access at Walter Street, at Union Square Street, at Locust Street, or at any location along the subject .4 mile corridor.

There was no information about the location of bus stops to be abandoned and which, and where, bus stops would remain. There was no indication that “review by other agencies as appropriate” had ever occurred. There was no sign-off from police or fire. There was no indication that Municipal Development had ever seen or approved ANY drawings. Even the Parks & Recreation Department, to be eventually charged with median maintenance and care of street trees was not in evidence at the hearing, in the documents, or in any discussion.

The application itself is fatally flawed. The applicants contention is that “no structures” are involved in the project. (See: Form L of the application) This despite the fact that LUC Ordinance § 14-12-4 Definitions states, “STRUCTURE. Anything constructed or erected above ground level which requires location on the ground or attached to something having a location on the ground but not including a tent, vehicle, vegetation, or public utility pole or line.” It appears that not one person from the City of Albuquerque Transit Department ever read the applicable regulations or LUCC Rules, or that if they did, they just didn’t understand the most basic of basics, or they just didn’t care.

The reality is that the City of Albuquerque actually has been very busy hiring qualified engineers and architects to develop all the drawings and plans. They hired HDR, a world-wide organization with local offices at 2155 Louisiana Boulevard, Suite 9500, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110. The relevant drawing that SHOULD have been presented at the April 13, 2016, LUCC Hearing are contained in a reduced size in a Volume entitled: City of Albuquerque, New Mexico ABQRIDE Construction Plans for Transit Department ABQ RIDE Central Avenue Albuquerque Rapid Transit COA Project No. 631991.

The only problem is that the plans are not finished. The drawings cannot be able to be built as drawn. Not only that, there is no evidence that the drawings and plans even exist in the scale that is required for a project to be “built as drawn.”

It is an interesting aside to review the actual “documents, photos, plans, or other information provided to the City in conjunction with an application.” I have a full list. I can easily explain the situation and how I became aware of all of the probably (mostly) irrelevant information contained in the LUCC file.

Summary:

Complaints have been made about secrecy and false representations made by the City in regard to the ART Project. Most of those complaints involve the fairly distant past. In the case of the LUCC Hearing, the apparent ongoing abuses are very evident, and very timely. The concerns involve the immediate here and now.

Sincerely,
Donald Clayton

400 ROMA / MAYOR RICHARD J. BERRY

Note: The Feature Image above is courtesy of the Marc Valdez Weblog, the link is HERE.

this post presents the content of the FOURTH LETTER-DOCUMENT COMMUNICATION FROM DONALD CLAYTON REGARDING THE APRIL 13, 2016, landmarks and urban conservation commission (LUCC) HEARING
Subject: 400 ROMA / MAYOR RICHARD J. BERRY

April 25, 2016

Dayna Crawford
Project Manager
Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project
City of Albuquerque Transit Department
100 1st Street SW
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

Maryellen Hennessy
Senior Planner
Landmarks and Urban Conservation
Current Planning Division
Planning Department
City of Albuquerque
600 2nd Street – 3rd Floor
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Project Number: 1010796
Case Number: 16-LUCC 50013

I refer to three emails that I submitted to the public record of the LUCC containing the above referenced Project Number and Case Number. The three emails constitute a part of this communication and the requests and statements are incorporated herein by reference, and are repeated as a part of this letter document.

Please note contents and include a copy of this letter document in the LUCC file located at 600 2nd Street NW, 3rd Floor, City of Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102.

Ms. Crawford:

Controlling documents:
Reference is made, and by such reference such documents are incorporated, to Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Article 14: Zoning Code , specifically § 14-8-2-7 and § 14-8-2-6; Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Article 12: Landmarks and Urban Conservation (hereinafter: “LUC Ordinance”); and to Rules of Procedure and Conduct – Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (hereinafter: “RPC”).

I refer to an application dated March 9, 2016, and to a letter in support of that application submitted by City of Albuquerque Transit Department Director Bruce Rizzeri, dated April 6, 2016. I make note that the letter calls for, “major city development and redevelopment projects and changes in services by the city which will have a direct, significant impact on that neighborhood; permanent and temporary street construction and major repair, total closing of streets, …, building of new city facilities, relocation or reconstruction of privately owned utilities which require a permit, or rerouting of bus service …” (See: § 14-8-2-6 (a), (B), (C)).

If there is any question as to the nature and scope of the Plans, I refer to City of Albuquerque, New Mexico ABQRIDE Construction Plans for Transit Department ABQ RIDE Central Avenue Albuquerque Rapid Transit COA Project No. 631991 – Volume 3 – Segment 3 – Sheet 97 through Sheet 103, a public record.

I refer to a five (5) page document dated March 7, 2016, from Stephani Winklepleck, Neighborhood Liaison, Office of Neighborhood Coordination, Planning Department, City of Albuquerque, regarding letters of notification pertinent to the proposed LUCC Hearing of April 13, 2016.

I refer to the twenty-nine (29) letters written under your signature, and under the letterhead of Mayor Richard J. Berry, dated March 9, 2016, and to the associated 29 Certified Mail receipts. (See: Copy of first letter in the series as an Attachment below.)

Representations of fact and Discussion:
1.) 400 Roma:
Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Article 14: Zoning Code Article at § 14-12-10 (C), as cited in the Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Article 12: Landmarks and Urban Conservation “LUC Ordinance”), the “LUC Ordinance” states, “Prior to filing an application, the applicant shall notify neighborhood associations covering the subject site or adjacent premises of their proposal; notice by certified letter, return receipt requested, is normal. (See: § 14-8-2-7.)”

The requirements of § 14-8-2-7 are remarkably sparse. The only lawful guidance is, “give written notification of their proposal…” However you went above and beyond that simple requirement by directing letter recipients (and to pass-on recipients, often large in number, who the recipients often communicate) to a “Hearing Room in the basement … at 400 Roma NW.” (See: Third paragraph, first sentence, March 9, 2016, letter.)

400 Roma NW, is the building housing the Police and Sheriff Department. 400 Roma NW is a long three blocks away from where the LUCC Hearing was to have been actually held. While 600 2nd Street NW has dedicated parking, a person driving to 400 Roma would most likely use the Civic Center garage. Relocating misplaced parking decisions would inevitably make a person late for a Hearing, precluding the opportunity to sign in to speak.

This is the second time in three days that I have publicly addressed the fact that the City of Albuquerque Transit Department’s highest administrators are demonstrably very weak in their personal knowledge of the addresses and streets of central Albuquerque. While there is no violation in a Project Manager sending a letter recipient to a wrong address, the practice is alarming. Legally the Hearing could be stated to be just about anywhere and perhaps any statement made, truthful or not, would still be in compliance. The larger issue is how does one (a citizen) address this very disturbing fact?

2.) The Mayor:
Due diligence regarding anything beyond a rote and mechanical adherence regarding § 14-8-2-7 would very naturally lead to a reading of § 14-8-2-6. (See: PDF file page #6, and document number page 6.)

Regardless of discovery, the fact remains that § 14-8-2-6 is relevant law. By the fact that the Project Number on the LUCC Application does not comport with the existing City of Albuquerque Project Number is proof that the representation is that the “roadwork” project that was the subject of the proposed Hearing was somehow different than the ART Project. I can’t understand how, but the LUCC Application makes this fact, a matter of fact.

Where the issue of “400 Roma” is not a regulation, a proper notification by the Mayor’s Office is. The examples are clear, and among the examples there was no mention of:

  • permanent and temporary street construction and major repair,
  • total closing of streets,
  • building of new city facilities,
  • relocation or reconstruction of privately owned utilities which require a permit,
  • rerouting of bus service.

All of the above are fundamental aspects of the proper subject matter of the LUCC Hearing.

§ 14-8-2-6 provides the time for notice, “notification shall be when the application is filed.” It is only prior to LUCC approval that a member of the public can give voice to concerns regarding massive construction, and massive projects, not after they are already “approved.”

The “application” for the project was made on on March 9, 2016. No proper notification was made to, “Recognized and non-recognized neighborhood or homeowner associations.”

Requests:
1.) I herein request that proper letters, with proper addresses for Hearing location be mailed to those entitled to proper notice, pursuant to law.

2.) I herein request that the City Council of Albuquerque consider the wisdom of providing specific guidelines and requirements for notification letters to, “Recognized and non-recognized neighborhood or homeowner associations.”

Sincerely,
Donald Clayton

One of 29 LUCC certified mail neighborhood letters with directions to Roma.

One of 29 LUCC certified mail neighborhood letters with directions to Roma.

JOHN STREET

this post presents the content of the THIRD LETTER-DOCUMENT COMMUNICATION FROM DONALD CLAYTON REGARDING THE APRIL 13, 2016, landmarks and urban conservation commission (LUCC) HEARING
Subject: JOHN STREET

April 23, 2016

Bruce Rizzeri
Director
City of Albuquerque Transit Department
100 1st Street SW
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

Maryellen Hennessy
Senior Planner
Landmarks and Urban Conservation
Current Planning Division
Planning Department
City of Albuquerque
600 2nd Street – 3rd Floor
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Please note contents and include a copy of this letter document in the file.

Project Number: 1010796
Case Number: 16-LUCC 50013

Mr. Rizzieri:

I make reference to an Application for a Certificate of Appropriateness (LUCC) dated March 9, 2016, by Lawrence Kline, Principal Planner, City of Albuquerque Transit Department. I make reference to three (3) City of Albuquerque AGIS maps that constitute a part of the above referenced application; to wit: Zoning Map, Land Use Map, and History Map.

I reference your signed seven-page letter of April 6, 2016, to Ms. Maryellen Hennessy of the Planning Department in reference to proposed project #1010796, a revised copy of an earlier letter apparently written in support of the above referenced application.

On page 4 (6th bullet) of that letter, you make reference to requested changes on Central Avenue beginning with “John” Street, (in relevant part) “John Street to Broadway Boulevard: One BRT lane in each direction.” Apparently this is a repetition of text contained in the original (unrevised) letter.

Evidence of this fact is contained in the fact that a Legal Notice (See: April 21, 2016 LUCC HEARING PROJECT #1010796 LEGAL NOTICE letter document contained in LUCC public file; also refer to Attachment below) was prepared on, or prior to March 29, 2016, that states, “Application for Certificate of Appropriateness City of Albuquerque Transit Department requests approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness for Roadwork in Public Right-of-way on Central Ave. between John and Locust Streets in the Huning Highland-East Downtown Urban Conservation Overlay Zone. (K-14 & K-15). (Bold type added.)

It is my information and belief that the legal notice was prepared by LUCC staff in reliance on your statements, and in the belief that your representations regarding the location of the proposed project was accurate, correct, and legally truthful.

My alternative information and belief is that LUCC staff is of the belief that, “an applicant controls their own application,” and under such theory, merely transcribed, and/or transferred, the information you presented into the Legal Notice, with little effort made to research or evaluate the veracity of statements made on the application.

Representations of fact:
The following information constitutes the information, knowledge, and belief, of me, Donald Clayton, a concerned citizen, and a resident of 1— Silver Avenue SW, in the City Of Albuquerque, New Mexico. I do not represent, nor am I a member of any government, organization, business or competing business, that is a matter of record in this matter. My telephone number is 505 / 842-1—, and my email address is cityofnikko@gmail.com.

On April 13, 2016, I attended what was advertised as a Public Hearing of the LUCC regarding proposed Roadwork on Central Avenue. (See: Albuquerque Journal, March 29, 2016, Section C, page C6, 2nd item – first column). The occurrence was scheduled to commence at 3:00 PM.

Pursuant to the provisions of City of Albuquerque City Council Resolution Bill R-16-24, I had very good reason to be concerned about the “roadwork” on Central Avenue, between the first alley east of Broadway, and Locust Street. It was apparently very clear by the Council Resolution that any decision by the LUCC could have a very major and substantial impact on proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit (hereinafter: ART) Project construction on portions of Central Avenue near my residential property, located southeast of Old Town.

On the three (3) maps that are part of the City of Albuquerque Transit Department (CATD) application there is no indication on any of the maps of the existence of “John Street.” In fact, on the map marked HISTORY MAP, the street that you seem to believe is named “John Street” is actually labeled as Union Square Street.

During the evening of April 20, 2016, I searched the web to try and locate a John Street, at or near the location that was marked Union Square Street. I found a link to an Albuquerque Geographic Information System (AGIS) map on the City of Albuquerque official web site. The map that I found can be found HERE (or HERE). I could not locate a relevant “John Street.”

On April 21, 2016, at approximately 10:00 AM, I visited the Albuquerque Geographic Information System – AGIS Office in Room #420 in the Plaza Del Sol Building at 600 2nd Street, NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102. I talked to Ryan Trollinger, GIS Coordinator. I asked Mr. Trollinger about the location of a “John Street” near Central Avenue as a legal street located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After about twenty minutes of diligent searching, the AGIS Office could find no “John Street” near Central.

On April 22, 2016, in the morning, I visited the street indicated on the project maps as being the beginning of the project to determine if the “on site” street signs said “John Street.” I photographed both street signs at the location. One of the two (2) street signs that read Union Square St. is Attached below.

Based on the above research, I arrived at One Civic Plaza, 9th Floor, and visited the City of Albuquerque City Council office. I asked appropriate staff if there was a Council Resolution creating Union Square Street. After significant effort and search by staff, I was put in contact with Andrew Webb, Policy Analyst / Planning, City of Albuquerque City Council. Mr. Webb informed me that John Street, at the location in question, had not existed since the 1970’s when the Union Square project was developed. He stated that the Council Resolution renaming the street still had not been found.

I note that the published legal advertisement in the Albuquerque Journal, dated March 29, 2016, referring to the name “John Street,” is incorrect, misleading, and legally inaccurate. The correct legal street name is Union Square Street.

Commentary:
The announced purpose of the proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project is to fundamentally change and alter the existing Avenue and most of the existing streetscape. Such a process and project require the winning of public confidence, and a public trust.

I have written three (3) letter document emails in four days that illustrate and document an apparent disregard for the law, an indifference regarding the proper placement of signs, a repeated inability to create proper, and required, legal notices.

The implication is clear. Why should a government that can not successfully complete small tasks (in this case a proper LUCC Hearing) be trusted with large tasks, like the ART Project?

Requests:
1.) I herein request that a proper legal notice be published, with correct street information, prior to any lawful Hearing.
2.) I herein request that the LUCC Hearing process in the above referenced case should be abandoned, and that a new application should begin a new and proper LUCC hearing process.
3.) I herein request that an affirmation be made a part of the LUCC Application process, wherein the applicant attests to the truthfulness of the representations made pursuant to an application.

I note that a simple credit card application requires an affirmation. The fact that a public works Road Work project involving many millions of taxpayer dollars does not require any affirmation whatsoever on the application is, I believe, a misplaced wonderment.

My fourth request deserves a brief explanation. The fact is that the Albuquerque Transit Department had to pay no fees whatsoever for the application and hearing, not even a fee for the failed and faulty legal notice. I believe that this LUCC Hearing process was a disaster, it wasted a great deal of time and public resources and money; it also wasted a great deal of the public’s time. I also believe that it is (or was) a tremendous embarrassment to the City of Albuquerque. There is no sanction that can remedy the loss, it is, I believe, irreparable harm. A small measure to reduce the possibility of a repeat situation is the subject of the following request.

4.) I herein respectfully request that the Rules of Procedure and Conduct – Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission be amended to require that all applications and attendant representations of fact be notarized.

Sincerely,
Donald Clayton

LUCC improper Legal Notice for April 13, 2016, Hearing

LUCC improper Legal Notice for April 13, 2016, Hearing

Union Square St. sign at the corner of Union Square and Central Avenue in Albuquerque.

Union Square St. sign at the corner of Union Square and Central Avenue in Albuquerque.

[Note:  The Albuquerque City Engineer has jurisdiction to rename “minor” streets without a City Council resolution. Apparently “John Street” (in this location) was renamed by the City Engineer circa 1983.]

This LUCC Hearing "History Map" identifies Union Square St. at the location.

This LUCC Hearing “History Map” identifies Union Square St. at the location.

JOURNAL ARTICLE ABOUT BRT/ART PROJECT

Albuquerque Journal article can be read HERE.

 

APRIL 13, 2016 LUCC HEARING PROJECT #1010796 LEGAL NOTICE

this post presents the content of the SECOND LETTER-DOCUMENT COMMUNICATION FROM DONALD CLAYTON REGARDING THE APRIL 13, 2016, landmarks and urban conservation commission (LUCC) HEARING
Subject: APRIL 13, 2016 LUCC HEARING PROJECT #1010796 LEGAL NOTICE

April 21, 2016

Maryellen Hennessy
Senior Planner
Landmarks and Urban Conservation
Current Planning Division
Planning Department
City of Albuquerque
600 2nd Street – 3rd Floor
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Project Number: 1010796
Case Number: 16-LUCC 50013

Ms Hennessy:

Inclusion in file:
I request that you enclose a hard-copy copy of this communication in the official publicly accessible hearing file for this project and case.

Since I do not believe that your office provides publicly accessible computers by which the images, documents, and attachments herein enclosed may be reasonably reviewed by the public, I specifically request that the images, and the documents linked, and the documents referenced, be printed out and included in the official publicly accessible hearing file for this project and case.

If you have reason or cause for not complying with the above stated request, I ask that you write me, informing me of the reason, so that I can do what is necessary to have this entire document be properly made a part of the permanent file.

Communication reach:
An email copy of this letter document is being provided to: Alfredo Salas, Secretary to the LUCC; Russell Brito, Manager of Urban Design and Development; Daniel Dietz, Assistant City Attorney for Real Estate / Land Use; Christopher Tebo, Assistant City Attorney for Real Estate / Land Use; Blake Whitcomb, Assistant City Attorney for Real Estate and Land Use; Diane Dolan, Policy Analyst for Councilor Issac Benton; Nick Pappas, Albuquerque Journal; Debra Yoshimura, City of Albuquerque Office of Internal Audit.

Notification to the Commission:
I request that you provide me with an email address for each named member of the Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (hereinafter: “LUCC”). The immediate reason for this timely request is that each member of the LUCC can be informed of this, and other, timely and pertinent documents pertaining to the project and hearing.
[Note: Direct communication to the Commission would normally be a wrongful ex parte communication. The purpose of this paragraph was to encourage LUCC staff to communicate to the LUCC. However, “A request for status of the proceeding” is not a wrongful ex parte communication. LUCC staff failed to provide the email addresses requested.]

Controlling documents:
Reference is made, and by such reference incorporated, to Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Article 14: Zoning Code (hereinafter: “§ 14”); Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Article 12: Landmarks and Urban Conservation (hereinafter: “LUC Ordinance”); and to Rules of Procedure and Conduct – Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (hereinafter: “RPC”).

Cause of communication:
This letter document is written pursuant to a visit I had with Alfredo Salas, Secretary to the Commission (See: RPC A. 8.) on April 18, 2016. The purpose of that visit was to review the contents of the above referenced file (hereinafter: “file”), and to make inquiry regarding issues of legal notice pertinent to, and conditional to, the April 13, 2016, LUCC Hearing, and the continuation of the Hearing scheduled (deferred) for May 11, 2016 (See: RPC 10. d) 1) 2). [Reference is also made to Special Meetings and/or Study Sessions, made, or which could be made, pursuant to the cause and the application. (See: RPC A. 3., 5.)]

During that visit I had occasion to notice that documents, including original documents required to be included in the file, were missing. Included among those was a copy of the Legal Notice as published in a newspaper of general circulation. I brought this fact to the attention of Mr. Salas.

Due to the urgent and extreme importance and seriousness of this issue, this letter document is prepared to document the situation, and to request timely and appropriate action.

Representations of fact:
The following information constitutes the information, knowledge, and belief, of me, Donald Clayton, a concerned citizen, and a resident of 1— Silver Avenue SW, in the City Of Albuquerque, New Mexico. I do not represent, nor am I a member of any group, government, organization, business or competing business, that is a matter of record in this matter. My telephone number is 505 / 842-1—, and my email address is cityofnikko@gmail.com.

On April 13, 2016, I attended what was advertised as a Public Hearing of the LUCC regarding proposed Roadwork on Central Avenue. (See: Albuquerque Journal, March 29, 2016, Section C, page C6, 2nd item – first column). The occurrence was scheduled to commence at 3:00 PM.

Pursuant to the provisions of City of Albuquerque City Council Resolution Bill R-16-24, I had very good reason to be concerned about the “roadwork” on Central Avenue, between the first alley east of Broadway, and Locust Street. It was apparently very clear by the Council Resolution that any decision by the LUCC could have a very major and substantial impact on proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit (hereinafter: ART) Project construction on portions of Central Avenue near my residential property, located southeast of Old Town.

On April 18, 2016, at approximately 11:30 AM, I visited the APC Library of the Albuquerque Journal at the Albuquerque Publishing Company offices, 7777 Jefferson Boulevard NE, Albuquerque, NM 87103.

At that time, and at that place, I purchased, for $1.25, a copy of the March 29, 2016, Albuquerque Journal. The reason for this purchase was to obtain a copy of the information that was published in, “a daily newspaper of general circulation in the city at least 15 days before the date of the hearing.”

During the evening of April 18, 2016, I had occasion to read and review the information published in Section C, page C-6, under Gov’t Legals (aka: Government Legal Notices). The only information in that day’s paper with the City of Albuquerque city logo was found in the first column. It (in relevant part) read:

Project # 1010796
16-LUCC-50013

Application for Certificate of Appropriateness City of Albuquerque Transit Department requests approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness for Roadwork in Public Right-of-way on Central Ave. between John and Locust Streets in the Huning Highland-East Downtown Urban Conservation Overlay Zone. (K-14 & K-15)

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES who need special assistance to participate at this hearing should contact Alfredo Salas, Planning Department, at 924-3370 (VOICE) or TTY users may access the voice number via the New Mexico Relay Network by calling 1-800-659-8331.

James Clark, Chair,
Landmarks and Urban
Conservation Commission

APPROVED: Maryellen Hennessy, Senior Planner,
Landmarks and Urban Conservation

Journal: March 29, 2016

A copy of the legal advertisement, as published, is Attached below.

Citation to authority:
§ 14-12-10 (A) provides the legal requirements for the proper publishing of a legal public hearing Legal Notice.

The citation reads, “The Commission shall announce the time and place of the pubic hearing in a public notice in a daily newspaper of general circulation in the city at least 15 days before the date of the hearing. The notice shall give the location of the property and the place where copies of the application may be examined. (Bold type added.)

Finally, the fact that a legal and proper LUCC Hearing is dependent upon “all notification requirements” is firmly established in RPC A. 3.

Commentary:
The intent of the notification requirements is clear. The idea is that the general public is fairly and reasonably notified of a Public Hearing. The publishing of a proper, correct, legal advertisement is an integral part of the process. In this case, for this LUCC case, this was not done.

This is the second, clear instance, in as many days, wherein I have clearly and carefully documented the fact that the City of Albuquerque failed to provide proper and basic public notice regarding a required hearing pursuant to the ART Project.

Unlike the previous example (See: April 20, 2016 letter document entitled: APRIL 13, 2016 LUCC HEARING PROJECT #1010796 SIGNS) there is no possible dereliction by a third party (an applicant) that can account for this apparent blatant disregard for the rule of law.

Government should not be seen, or act, as if it were antagonistic. An open hearing process should not be obstructed by withholding from the public, notification of their basic rights. The public has a right to be informed in a newspaper that there is a LUCC file, and of the physical place where that file can be accessed and reviewed.

If one City government Department were not supporting another City government Department in the matter of the application, there would not appear to be such an appearance of partiality and impropriety. However, the facts are obvious. The same person that rose to speak at the public hearing in support of the Transit Department’s application is the same person that “Approved” the defective legal announcement, an announcement that does not comport with the legal provisions for a fair and proper public notice.

Request:
This letter document should, in conjunction with yesterday’s letter document, be sufficient to convince and persuade that the LUCC Hearing process in the above referenced case should be abandoned, and that a new application should begin a new and proper LUCC hearing process.

I request that that new process be begun.

I am willing to meet with appropriate City of Albuquerque legal representatives to discuss this, and other related issues at hand, pertinent to this project and case.

Sincerely,
Donald Clayton

LUCC improper Legal Notice for April 13, 2016, Hearing

LUCC improper Legal Notice for April 13, 2016, Hearing

APRIL 13, 2016 LUCC HEARING PROJECT #1010796 SIGNS

this post presents the content of the FIRST LETTER-DOCUMENT COMMUNICATION FROM DONALD CLAYTON REGARDING THE APRIL 13, 2016, landmarks and urban conservation commission (LUCC) HEARING
Subject: APRIL 13, 2016 LUCC HEARING PROJECT #1010796 SIGNS

April 20, 2016

Maryellen Hennessy
Senior Planner
Landmarks and Urban Conservation
Current Planning Division
Planning Department
City of Albuquerque
600 2nd Street – 3rd Floor
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Project Number: 1010796
Case Number: 16-LUCC 50013

Ms Hennessy:

Inclusion in file:
I request that you enclose a hard-copy copy of this communication in the official publicly accessible hearing file for this project and case.

Since I do not believe that your office provides publicly accessible computers by which the images, documents, and attachments herein enclosed may be reasonably reviewed by the public, I specifically request that the images and documents linked, and referenced, be printed out and included in the official publicly accessible hearing file for this project and case.

If you have reason or cause for not complying with the above stated request, I ask that you write me, informing me of the reason, so that I can do what is necessary to have this entire document be properly made a part of the permanent file.

Communication reach.
An email copy of this letter document is being provided to: Alfredo Salas, Secretary to the LUCC; Russell Brito, Manager of Urban Design and Development; Daniel Dietz, Assistant City Attorney for Real Estate / Land Use; Christopher Tebo, Assistant City Attorney for Real Estate / Land Use, and Blake Whitcomb, Assistant City Attorney for Real Estate and Land Use.

Notification to the Commission:
I request that you provide me with an email address for each named member of the Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (hereinafter: “LUCC”). The immediate reason for this timely request is that each member of the LUCC can be informed of this, and other, timely and pertinent documents pertaining to the project and hearing.
[Note: Direct communication to the Commission would normally be a wrongful ex parte communication. The purpose of this paragraph was to encourage LUCC staff to communicate to the LUCC. However, “A request for status of the proceeding” is not a wrongful ex parte communication. LUCC staff failed to provide the email addresses requested.]

Controlling documents:
Reference is made, and by such reference inclusion is stated, to Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Article 12: Landmarks and Urban Conservation (hereinafter: “LUC Ordinance”); to Rules of Procedure and Conduct – Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission (hereinafter: “RPC”); and to a City of Albuquerque Planning Department document entitled: Sign Posting Agreement.

Cause of communication:
This letter document is written pursuant to a visit I had with Alfredo Salas, Secretary to the Commission (See: RPC A. 8.) on April 18, 2016. The purpose of that visit was to review the contents of the above referenced file (hereinafter: “file”), and to make inquiry regarding issues of signage pertinent to, and conditional to, the April 13, 2016, LUCC Hearing, and the continuation of the Hearing scheduled (deferred) for May 11, 2016 (See: RPC 10. d) 1) 2). [Reference is also made to Special Meetings and/or Study Sessions, made, or which could be made, pursuant to the cause and the application. (See: RPC A. 3., 5.)]

During that visit I had occasion to notice that documents, including original documents, required to be included in the file were missing. Included among those was the Sign Posting Agreement(s). I brought this fact to the attention of Mr. Salas.

I also referenced the fact that it was a matter of traditional custom, and good practice, for there to be one or more photographs of the public notice signs posted for the Hearing, to be included in Hearing files. I pointed out to Mr. Salas that such photographs are usually taken in the field by staff. I asked Mr. Salas if there were any such photographs available for review.

I further asked Mr. Salas about who was responsible for issuing signs, and issuing any instructions (See: § 14-12-10 (B)).

To all the above questions Mr. Salas referred me to Ms. Hennessy, stating that she was responsible for issuing the signs, issuing instructions if any, and determining which documents, among those submitted, were available in the file.

Due to the perceived importance and seriousness of the issues at hand, this letter document is prepared pursuant to the advice and instructions of Mr. Salas.

Representations of fact:
The following information constitutes the information and belief, of me, Donald Clayton, a concerned citizen, and a resident of 1— Silver Avenue SW, in the City Of Albuquerque, New Mexico. I do not represent, nor am I a member of any group, government, organization, business or competing business, that is a matter of record in this matter. My telephone number is 505 / 842-1—, and my email address is cityofnikko@gmail.com.

On April 13, 2016, I attended what was advertised as a Public Hearing of the LUCC regarding proposed Roadwork on Central Avenue (singular) (See: Albuquerque Journal, March 29, 2016, Section C, page C6, 2nd item – first column). The occurrence was scheduled to commence at 3:00 PM.

Pursuant to the provisions of City of Albuquerque City Council Resolution Bill R-16-24, I had very good reason to be concerned about the “roadwork” on Central Avenue, between the first alley east of Broadway, and Locust Street. It was apparently very clear by the Council Resolution that any decision by the LUCC could have a very major and substantial impact on proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit (hereinafter: ART) Project construction on portions of Central Avenue near my residential property, located fairly close to Old Town.

On April 18, 2016, in late morning, I visited the area described as being the subject matter of the advertised Hearing. I noticed that Application for a Certificate of Appropriateness signs were located at three (3) sites on Central Avenue. I noticed both the locations and condition of the signs. I noticed that there were two different sets of signs, three (3) signs in each set. I noticed that one set of signs had the date of March 29th, and that the second set had the date of March 30th.

I noticed that apparently a sign from each set had been attached back-to-back at each site.I noticed that someone had apparently used white spray paint to mark on the rough gravel a circle to apparently mark where the signs were to be placed, before the sign placement.

At approximately 10:30 AM, on March 18, 2016, I (Donald Clayton) took photographs of the signs and their placement. I note this information pursuant to LUCC requirements for entry into the record.

Three of the photographs are attached below as a matter of record. Since LUCC requirements require a statement of location regarding photographic evidence, I present the following:

Photograph #1: Sign location #1 is in the middle of Central Avenue just west of Arno, across from a building located at 316 Central, on the south side of Central Avenue, apparently referenced in HDR plans as “right” Central Avenue.

Photograph #2: Sign location #2 is in the middle of Central Avenue just west of Walter, nearly across from a building located at 523½ Central, on the north side of Central Avenue, apparently referenced in HDR plans as “left” Central Avenue.

Photograph #3: Sign location #3 is in the middle of Central Avenue just west of Locust, across from the air conditioning vent on the west wing of the EconoLodge building located at 817 Central, on the north side of Central Avenue, apparently referenced in HDR plans as “left” Central Avenue.

In the course of taking the above referenced photographs it became obvious that there was a considerable distance between the posted signs and the public sidewalk. The distance was so great that it was impossible to read the text of the signs, even at location #2, the closest sign, and the sign in the best condition. By waiting a considerable period of time to allow a break in the traffic, and with the aid of a waiting bus passenger who was willing to watch for the frequent busses and cars, I was able to measure the distance from the sidewalk to the sign. The distance was 27′.

The traffic was too great, and too frequent, to be able to reasonably access the other sign locations to determine the distance.I returned during the evening of April 19, 2016, with a neighbor experienced in public road measurement. Taking extreme care to avoid the traffic at that time, after more than an hour of effort, we were able to determine the distances from the public sidewalk to the center of street, rough landscape gravel, sign locations. We used a K&E professional fiberglass 100′ engineering tape measure, properly anchored and stretched. I believe that the distances involved can be confirmed with an accurate use of precise coordinates as are available on Google Maps. Another source for the relevant distance information are the professional surveys undertaken pursuant to the ART Project.

On April 19, 2016, the signs had been removed, but the white circles, and the impression left by the removal of the metal sign post, enabled fairly precise measurements. The distances found between the sign locations and the nearest edge of the adjacent sidewalk are as follows: Sign location #1 – Arno – 38′ left, 38′ right; Sign location #2 – Walter – 29′ left, 27′ right; Sign location #3 – Locust – 43½’ left, 49′ right.

Citation to authority:
§ 14-12-10 (B) provides the legal basis for the proper posting of signs prior to a lawful LUCC Public Hearing. The Sign Posting Agreement (the document link is HERE) further defines the requirements for sign location and stability. Further clarity is established by the City of Albuquerque Zoning Code § 14-16-1-4 Interpretation (A) General. The general principal being that the most restrictive, in this case effective, rule or regulation is the one to be applied.

The rule, clearly stated, is, “The sign shall be conspicuously located. It shall be located within twenty feet of the public sidewalk.” (See: 1. A.). Further, “a full plywood backing works best to keep the sign in place, especially during high winds.” (See: 3. A.).

Finally, the fact that a LUCC Hearing is dependent upon “all notification requirements” is firmly established in RPC A. 3.

Commentary:
The intent of the notification requirements is clear. The idea is that the general public is fairly and reasonably notified of a Public Hearing. The posting of proper readable signs, in a proper location, is an integral part of the process. In this case, for this LUCC case, this was not done.

The deficiencies are clear. It is plain that the type of the type and size on the sign cannot be safely read from a vehicle navigating traffic and cross-traffic on a four lane roadway with posted highway speeds of 30 MPH.

So, if the signs are not designed to be read from the roadway, the question becomes – how can they be reasonably read from the sidewalk? The rule is that a person can come within 5′ of the sign (See: 1. C.). To do so safely is all but impossible. There is little question of the fact that two busy 12′ wide traffic lanes, and in some instances another 12′ wide parking lane, constitute a “barrier.”  Some of the signs have access obstructed by trees.  By no stretch of the imagination is a single sign ADA accessible.

The defects continue, as is evidenced by the condition of the signs. It may not have been wind that wilted the signs, but the effect of rain on cardboard is much the same. The greatest rainfall for the posting period was April 3 – April 10, probably the period when the signs became totally unreadable.

The apparent casualness, if not indifference, to the issue of the proper posting of signs for this LUCC Hearing is evident by the fact that neither of the two (2) Sign Posting Agreements could be found in the file. It is further illustrated by the fact that apparently no member of the LUCC staff actually went out and inspected the site, as there are no photographs.

The issue of who is at fault regarding this wholly insufficient sign posting is not really the issue. The issue is that the signs were not properly posted, and the LUCC Public Hearing, by law, should not have been held.

Argument could be made that there is a provision for sanctions. Citation is contained on the Sign Posting Agreement and numerous places elsewhere. The sanction is voluntary to the LUCC, “Failure to maintain the signs during this entire period may be cause for deferral or denial of the application.” The reality is that the Hearing has been deferred, but the Public Notice defect has not been corrected. Further, a denial of the application would be to defeat the entire ART Project on which success of the application depends. It is improbable that appointees of the Mayor would vote to deny the application for the Mayor’s project based on what the City may see as “a technicality.”

Government should not be seen, or act, as if it were the enemy of the people. Hoops, hurdles, barriers, and technicalities should not be used, or allowed, by government to obfuscate and make difficult what should be an open, fair, and transparent process.

My request is that this situation does not become cause for the defeat of the entire ART Project. My belief is that a properly conducted LUCC Hearing is in both the City’s and the Public’s best interest. A fair and proper hearing begins with a proper application, and the good faith proper posting of signs.

I ask that the LUCC Hearing process for this cause and this case be reset, the case should be begun again, from the beginning, obviously starting with a new application.

Law, justice, and propriety demand nothing less.

I would be willing to meet with anyone, at any time, to discuss this very important matter.

Sincerely,
Donald Clayton

P.S. The fourth Attachment is a map showing the sign locations herein discussed, in red.

LUCC sign set #1 improperly placed away from sidewalk.

LUCC sign set #1 improperly placed away from sidewalk.

LUCC Sign set #2 improperly placed far away from sidewalk.

LUCC Sign set #2 improperly placed far away from sidewalk.

LUCC Sign set #3 improperly placed away from sidewalk.

LUCC Sign set #3 improperly placed away from sidewalk.

Land Use Map with improper sign locations added (in red).

Land Use Map with improper sign locations added (in red).

LUCC NOTIFICATION OF DECISION

On April 14, 2016, the OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION OF DECISION regarding the April 13, 2016, LUCC Hearing for Project #1010796 and LUCC Case #16-LUCC-50013 was issued by Maryellen Hennessy, Senior Planner, Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission.

The NOTIFICATION was mailed on April 18, 2016, to all PARTIES and CITIZENS IN INTEREST. The list of the Parties and Citizens in Interest was not made a part of the official LUCC file. An IPRA written records request was made on April 29th, requesting the information.

As of  May 8th, the custodian of records had not made the PUBLIC RECORD available for inspection.

An Image Copy of the LUCC NOTIFICATION appears below:

April 14, 2016 LUCC Hearing Notification of Decision letter.

April 14, 2016 LUCC Hearing Notification of Decision letter.

LUC Commission letter stating that the LUCC Case was deferred to May 11, 2016.

LUC Commission letter stating that the LUCC Case was deferred to May 11, 2016.