CAN DO: Rancho Viejo de Santa Fe is building 10,000 units in Sante Fe county over several years—15 percent of which will be affordable.
CAN DO: Rancho Viejo de Santa Fe is building 10,000 units in Sante Fe county over several years—15 percent of which will be affordable.

THE CITY OF SANTA FE HAS A new 30 percent affordability requirement for all new developments, an ordinance that at press time was under discussion in the county as well.

The new city ordinance, which was passed last summer, requires all new developments in Santa Fe to offer 30 percent of their units for under $200,000.

Local home builders are not pleased.

“The city ordinance is so onerous, it's a de facto moratorium,” says Gary Ehlert, executive officer of the Santa Fe Area HBA.

Ehlert says the 30 percent number is arbitrary, but the New Mexico Business Weekly reports that to maintain its current homeownership rates, Santa Fe needs about 28.5 percent of all new housing to be affordable.

“We can do 30 percent, but if we have to pass the cost on to the market-rate units, then we don't have a middle class,” says Jon Paul Romero, land development manager for Rancho Viejo de Santa Fe, a developer that's building 10,000 units in the county over several years—15 percent of which will be affordable.

At press time, county commissioner Harry Montoya was hoping the county could pass an affordable housing ordinance by the end of 2005.

Montoya was adamant that the percentages be realistic, saying that “30 percent is laudable, even desirable, but it's not practical.”

The Santa Fe Area HBA was working closely with the county to hammer out a workable ordinance. Under discussion were provisions for the county to provide water and the transfer of development rights.