New Socorro development approved by City Council upsets farmers, neighbors

New Socorro development approved by City Council upsets farmers, neighbors

New Socorro development approved by City Council upsets farmers, neighbors

A new development is coming to Socorro, but local farmers say the neighborhood will block access to their homes and ranches.

The development's preliminary plans got approved by Socorro City Council Thursday night, but not before the meeting got to a point of yelling between neighbors, council members and the developer.

This one item on the City Council agenda took nearly an hour to get through because nobody could agree on what's best for the development plans. One council member didn't vote, one council member walked out and, at one point, the residents called the developer a liar.

The new Eastlake development will be constructed near Old Hueco Tanks Road. It sits right on the line of several family homes, and pecan, alfalfa and corn farms. These neighbors don't have utilities or water and they have been landlocked for more than 40 years. Right now they use a canal to drive in and out, but that's illegal because it's private property belonging to the water district.

The new developer's plans include a 6-foot rock wall separating the new neighborhood from the farms. The neighbors say that would landlock them even further, blocking off their only access point. The developer says this plan doesn't landlock them anymore or any less.

Neighbors disagree. They say the new development doesn't leave enough room for their big farm equipment or even emergency vehicles to get in and out.

"The ambulance and the Fire Department can't access us," neighbor and pecan farm owner Leticia Treviño explained. "We don't have utilities, which we want to have access to utilities, too. Proper drainage. If they build that subdivision, what keeps us from getting flooded when it rains?"

City Council representatives say the developer has met all requirements in the subdivision ordinance, and they approved the preliminary development plans with stipulations to include a city park.

Rep. Ralph Duran says people need access to their properties.

Far they aren't opposed to developing and improving the area, but if you're going to improve it, include the farmers because they are a big part of the community.

"We used to be the biggest Industry in Socorro and the Lower Valley," farmer Jack Martin said. "Now we are whittled down to kick us away? No. Do not kick me out of my land and give me access to it, said Jack Martin, a farmer who lives near the Eastlake Development.

The farmers say they want to be a part of the community and they want kids to be able to learn where there food comes from.

CBS4 tried to speak with the developer, but he walked out of the meeting toward the end of the discussion.

The mayor said the plans will go back to the Planning and Zoning Commission, then back to City Council before final approval is given.

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