A long discussion of proposed speed limits on Edgewood roads included a recommendation to change speed limits, but those speed limits had already been changed.
The town council also set a public hearing to address building height standards in its zoning ordinance among other business at its regular meeting last week.
With an agenda item for “discussion/adoption of speed limit recommendations for various roads,” acting on a report by former police chief Fred Radosevich, Mayor John Bassett started by naming several roads that the chief had suggested raising the speed limit on.
That met with lively discussion from the town council, with Councilor Chuck Ring saying, “That was so long ago,” and suggesting that newly appointed police chief Pat Crow take over the task.
Councilor Rita Loy Simmons opined that the speed limits should be raised as suggested, adding, “I’d hate to postpone this too long.”
Councilor John Abrams said he saw no problem with changing the speed limits.
Ring continued to argue to put the decision off, saying the town had been waiting since 2014, adding, “What’s two more weeks?”
Simmons made a motion to raise the speed limits as suggested, naming off the roads.
Before she could get a second on her motion, the council was interrupted by Norton Henninger, employed in the town’s maintenance department. He pointed out that the council had already enacted the changes they were considering.
After several more minutes of discussion, Ring asked, “Still want to go on?”
“I’ll withdraw my motion,” Simmons answered, moving instead that the matter be deferred to the next meeting July 20.
Another item concerning roads came from residents on Barton Court, who said the town used to maintain the road but no longer does. “With heavy rains and snow, our street now has ruts,” the letter from Craig and Christine Baird says, adding that when conditions are bad, only 4-wheel drive vehicles can get through.
“I’d hate to see us deny it irregardless of what the fire chief and [planning and zoning] said,” Ring said.
Ring was also unhappy that the letter had been sent to the town in February. “It doesn’t say much about our ability to respond,” he said.
Henninger said he had recommended against the town adopting the road “based on criteria” in the town’s subdivision ordinance, which sets minimum standards for roads and says that a private road has to be brought up to town specifications before it is adopted for town maintenance.
Ring continued to argue that the road should be maintained by the town, and pointed to the precedent set when Edgewood adopted Range Road, which at that time devolved into a muddy morass with any precipitation.
Edgewood adopted and fixed Range Road.
Simmons suggested that residents on Barton Court could band together and raise money for road maintenance.
Bassett said, “It comes down to rationing what we can do.”
Town clerk Juan Torres cautioned the council that “tak[ing] in a private road opens the town to future requests” and future litigation, adding, “It could be pretty detrimental to the town.”
Bassett said the town should “go all in or go home,” arguing against a suggestion by Councilor John Abrams, who said perhaps the town could buy gravel but not bring the road up to town specs.
In the end, the council unanimously voted to deny dedication of Barton Court, but will ask its legal counsel whether the town could accept a road with conditions.
The town council also voted to add paving the remainder of Church Road from Williams Ranch Road west to where the pavement ends to the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan, or ICIP.
While Bassett owns property along Church Road, he said when running for office that he would continue to push for paving the remainder of the road, which had been started by Santa Fe County more than 10 years ago.
The road is an arterial, and one of the main points of egress in case of emergency. It also serves as an alternate route when road conditions are icy. Bassett found wide agreement on the council, which voted to add the road to the ICIP list.
That list is used by legislators in Santa Fe to distribute money for capital projects around the state; with the state in a pending budget crisis there is not likely to be any money, Torres said.
The town could be looking at “clawbacks” of what is called the “hold harmless” provision, through which the state reimburses the town for revenue lost when it exempted food from gross receipts tax.
The town set public hearings for July 20 to consider an amendment to the town’s zoning ordinance to add building height standards.