Albuquerque City Council rejects mayoral power overhaul, passes housing ordinance

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque City Council voted late Wednesday on some big issues, including the mayor’s powers and the city’s zoning laws.

Councilors Louie Sanchez and Renee Grout wanted to shift Albuquerque to a “council-manager” form of government. That would’ve established the position of a city manager to oversee city operations and answer directly to the council, effectively weakening the mayor’s powers.

However, councilors voted 3-6 against putting that proposal on the ballot. Only Dan Lewis joined Sanchez and Grout to vote in favor of it.

Councilors did, however, vote 8-1 to establish the Middle Rio Grande Housing Collaborative with Bernalillo County. Councilor Brook Bassan voted no.

The group will focus on the development and production of new housing in the Albuquerque metro.

The councilors also passed an ordinance to convert commercial and hotel/motel properties into housing. The ordinance allows property owners to build detached housing units, such as casitas, in areas with single-family zoning.

The ordinance addresses parking and “easement challenges” for developments. However, the portion allowing duplexes in more parts of the city didn’t make the passed ordinance.

The proposal to convert Tijeras and Marquette downtown to two-way roads also passed unanimously.