Development boom prompts CABQ planning department to adapt

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Albuquerque is growing, and so is the demand for approval of new developments that are popping up across town.

Big names like Netflix and Amazon to local projects like apartments and restaurants, it seems everyone wants their slice of the Duke City and attention from city officials.

The Albuquerque Development Review Board meets once a week to consider new developments. The planning department is seeing an influx in new development requests – so this week, the development review board is kicking into overdrive and doubling the amount of time they spend on the process.

“There has been a lot of growth in the development community so these DRB or development review board meeting have been running five-plus hours so we wanted to split the sessions, organize things a little bit better and make sure our developers don’t have to wait as long,” said Tim Walsh with the city’s Planning Department.

So starting on Wednesday, the review board will be splitting their weekly meeting into two sessions, one at 9 a.m. and the second one happening at 1:30 p.m.

“The major case site plans and the major plats, because they are larger projects, are going to be done in the morning, then we are going to have our minor plats and sketch plats are smaller projects and things in the earlier development stages will be taken care of in the afternoon,” said Walsh.

In the last year, multiple industries called Albuquerque their home, from major projects like expanding the Netflix studios to the groundbreaking of the New Mexico Film Studios.

But these new industries also spur smaller projects like new restaurants and apartments, so the demand for project approval has created a long process for developers—something the planning board hopes to alleviate.

“We’re streamlining the projects and making it easier for the developers and making sure they don’t have to stay on these weekly meeting for five-plus hours just waiting for their cases to be heard, so we are just trying to make it easier and more efficient for everyone,” Walsh said.