After losing a protracted court battle after its last attempt, Edgewood’s infill annexation request of some 1,100 parcels was approved last week by the Municipal Boundary Commission.
The three-person commission is made up of Janet Porter-Carrejo of Reserve, Tom Olson, a lawyer from Santa Fe, and Mark Caruso, another lawyer, from Albuquerque.
On Feb. 4, the boundary commission got Edgewood’s petition—which this time around included assent from Santa Fe County for Edgewood to take over about 8 miles of roads. Those 8 miles would be added to the town’s inventory of 63 miles of road, a 13 percent increase, noted road supervisor Norton Heninger. Private roads, like those in subdivisions, would remain private and would not be maintained by the town, unless they were previously maintained by Santa Fe County, he said.
The town was about 48 square miles before the infill annexation—by area one of the largest municipalities in New Mexico.
Edgewood had made a similar petition in 2010, which was turned down by the commission, and then appealed to District Court by the town, where it was again turned down. That decision was also appealed, but the town did not prevail.
This time around, Edgewood came ready with answers to all of the questions posed by the commissioners, who spent little time deliberating before voting unanimously to approve the infill annexation. The process had been shepherded through by former Mayor Brad Hill, who was not present at the hearing.
Newly elected Mayor John Bassett led those representing the town.
When asked about services the town provides, Edgewood’s administrator Steve Shepherd explained to the commissioners that water, solid waste, electricity, natural gas, telephone and cell phone service, and cable are all provided by private businesses, which would continue in the same way if the infill were approved.
The town does have a sewer system, which right now serves only about 50 commercial enterprises. That system will soon serve its first residential customers as well, when senior apartments now under construction are added, Shepherd said.
Olson asked about solid waste. “You have it listed as a town service but residents contract directly” with private businesses?” he said.
Shepherd said residents can go to Santa Fe County or Bernalillo County transfer stations.
Caruso asked if there would be any requirement for residents to link into one of the private water systems in the area, like Epcor Water or Entranosa.
Bassett answered no, adding, “Their connection to their well is through the State Engineer.”
Edgewood’s police chief, Fred Radosevich, spoke in favor of the infill, saying that it would “eliminate 90 percent of the confusion.”
He said, “There’s so much confusion in responding to calls—everyone’s got to look at maps.”
Heninger said road maintenance would be made easier by the infill, too, although he acknowledged it would be a challenge to take in the additional miles of road. “The roads will be consistent, not haphazard,” he said.
He said the town has no plans to increase the road department’s staff, but said it would do so “as the budget will allow.” Edgewood has about 10 miles of paved road. Of the 8 miles just annexed, 1.5 miles are paved, with the remainder gravel, he said.
“I know for a lot of folks it’s kind of scary,” Bassett said, adding that when the town was first incorporated his family was not inside the town limits. The change gives residents the right to vote in Edgewood’s elections, or to run for office. “That’s essentially what there is to gain from this,” he said. “Political participation. … In my case I started out on the outside of town, now I’m the mayor.”
The meeting was attended by eight people.
One man spoke against the annexation, saying the town had “created that [checkerboard] situation with the intent to annex.”
Another, Donovan Bassett, said he owns Bassett Quarry and has a good working relationship with Santa Fe County. “I’ve never been in favor of annexation,” he said.
In the end, Olson made a motion to approve the infill annexation, seconded by Caruso, who explained to those in attendance that the commission could only look at whether the properties to be annexed were contiguous to the town, and whether the town could provide services.
The vote was unanimously in favor of the annexation.
The decision can be appealed by any party to district court within 30 days of the final order.