A couple of days ago I wrote a post about Albuquerque's up-and-coming Mesa del Sol community. The developers are publicizing the green nature of the proposed development, as I had outlined a year ago in an initial post about Mesa del Sol, but last week I noticed that a couple of readers of the post had commented that Mesa del Sol was actually located on an old landfill, and near a nuclear waste landfill!
This was a surprising and unwelcome assertion about a development that is one of the current prides of Albuquerque, and a big economic fous right now, as a great deal of new, clean industry has recently announced moves to Albuquerque and Mesa del Sol-- companies like Advent Solar and Schott Solar, who are building new plants at Mesa del Sol. This is great economic news for Albuquerque, but is there a downside to Mesa del Sol?
In my last post, http://activerain.com/blogsview/641852/Green-Community-Location-Landfill , I analyzed the maps of Mesa del Sol, the City of Albuquerque's landfills, and the Sandia Laboratories Mixed Waste landfill, and created an overlay showing all on one map.
It sure looked like those critical commentators were correct; part of the Mesa del Sol area lies right over an old City of Albuquerque dump, and the Mixed Waste Landfill, with its radioactive waste, lies just off the eastern edge of Mesa del Sol.
Take a look:
To recap, here's the overlay map at right. The blue area is Sandia Labs Mixed Waste Landfill. The greenish-yellow blobs show City of Albuquerque landfills.
But Mesa del Sol is huge, so a major question would be: "What exactly is being planned for the areas on or near thes locations?"
To try to answer that question in my own mind, I got the detailed Mesa del Sol Master Plan map from www.MesadelsolNM.com , and resized the maps of the City of Albuquerque landfill and the Mixed Wast Landfill appropriately, and created another overlay.
The Master Plan Map shows details of areas that are planned for residential development, for retail shops, for business and industry, for parks and open space, etc. Below is that map, with the landfill areas overlaid:
Again, the green "blobs" show the locations of the City of Albuquerque landfill areas, and the bright blue is the Mixed Waste Landfill. On the master plan, pale yellow areas are designated residential, greenish-yellow areas are for parks and open space, pale blue is office and industrial, and reddish areas are for retail.
(One big caveat here-- this map is something I generated myself, by obtaining landfill areas off maps for the City of Albuquerque landfills and the Sandia Labs Mixed Waste Landfill, resizing them to match the Mesa Del Sol Master Plan map available online, and spatially overlaying them. This is necessarily an inexact method! However, I searched for some time trying to find anything from the City of Albuquerque, or from Mesa del Sol, or from Sandia Labs or Kirtland Air Force Base that would actually show the relative locations of these facilities, but to no avail!)
It certainly appears as though the developers of Mesa Del Sol have tried to keep most, if not all, of the City of Albuquerque landfill area reserved for "parks and open space," rather than planning to build homes or businesses directly over the landfill. It also appears that they have left a large strip along the entire eastern edge of Mesa del Sol, the side in closest proximity to the Mixed Waste Landfill, also as dedicated open space.
This is a good thing!
But I still have a number of concerns:
My major question is why no easily accessible information is available on the Internet from the City of Albuquerque dealing with these issues. Why are there no articles about the landfills that are being incorporated into Mesa del Sol? Why does the city not have maps available, much more exact maps, drawn by surveyors, perhaps, showing exactly what the boundaries of the landfills are with regard to the various areas of the Mesa del Sol master plan?
My sincere thanks to Patricia Tapia and Joe Edwards, whose comments on my earlier blog first alerted me to this issue! But why, Mayor Chavez, did I have to find out about this issue from coments on my blog??? Why has the city of Albuquerque not made this kind of information available to the public.
I realize that the city is proud of Mesa del Sol, and interested in helping it attract new businesses, new jobs, and new economic opportunities to the Albuquerque area. But don't those potential new residents and workers also have a right to know about potential hazards in the form of toxic waste dumps in the immediate vicinity?
Mr. Mayor, perhaps it would be good to keep in mind one of our Realtor mantras: "Disclose, disclose, disclose!"
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