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Candidate, Santa Fe City Council District 4

Joel Nava 

The current development process for residential, commercial or public projects is heavily weighted towards the developer, with official public input requirements limited to the Early Neighborhood Notification (ENN) stage and without explicit accountability measures for how ENN input ultimately gets integrated into planning decisions. Further, despite the name, Early Neighborhood Notification meetings aren’t held until after the developer has invested lots of time and resources, and city staff have also invested time and resources to guide the development toward the approval process. There is no comparable support from the city for impacted communities that may have concerns about a project. Rather than engaging communities as creative problem-solvers and collaborative partners in development opportunities and challenges, this limits community participation to supporting or opposing. When concerns exist, community members have no option but to oppose the development at the ENN, at the Planning Commission and at City Council.​


1) What changes will you propose so that community driven development has equitable support from city staff, and is valued as much if not more than private profit driven development?​

I believe that this calls for many entities and organizations to collaborate with one another to get the results we need for our city. I believe getting constituents and the community involved is the most important thing when creating a community driven project.

​2) What changes will you propose so that impacted communities are immediately alerted to development opportunities and consulted and engaged meaningfully when a developer steps forward with a proposed plans?​

I believe city hall needs to create a system to put out as many communications as they can. For example; have constituents sign up for email or text alerts, send out paper communication to all residents impacted by any changes in their area.

3) What do you believe the role of the community is in community development?

Giving ideas and making their ideas and or concerns heard about any projects being done in their community.


4) What do you believe the role of the City is in community development?

Listening and taking the communication the community is giving into consideration regarding any projects or services being done.

5) What values, besides monetary, should be considered in approving or denying a development​?

Water levels in our ground water and the open space ordinance. I believe we need to keep Santa Fe in its original state as we grow. Keep it historical.

A disparity exists between services, infrastructure improvements, and quality of life amenities in the different parts of the City. Despite commitments to address inequities in investment and improve services, infrastructure, and amenities  in the area annexed by the City in the area north of Airport Rd, development has been limited to new housing developments. This area of town is already the most densely populated area of the city with the greatest number of households with children and yet there remains no library, no parks, no teen center, no senior center, no community center, no grocery stores, no commercial areas, no public spaces, no centers for arts and culture, no recreation centers. It also has the highest number of immigrants, Hispanics, Indigenous, African Americans and people living in poverty. It was also the most impacted community during the pandemic, having more infections and deaths than any other in Santa Fe. The lack of services and amenities contributed directly to those outcomes.

​6) What are your plans for bringing these needed services and amenities to the area?​​

Bring them back. We have services that we’re helping the elderly and disabled get their trash to the streets and the city has cancelled that for them and we need to bring that and any other necessary services needed in the community.

7) How can we ensure greater equity in development moving forward?​

I believe in making everyone’s voice be heard, because if we continue to silence our constituents, things will not get better for our city.

8) What level of services and amenities should be present before more housing is built, and how do you determine that?​​

I believe the parks need to be cleaned and our sidewalks need to be cleared for our communities members to use them safely. Bring back our amenities back to help the senior citizens and disabled.

The majority of mobile home parks in Santa Fe are on the Airport Road Corridor. Mobile homes and parks are an important affordable housing stock/source. Mobile homes parks house essential workers who are the foundation and driver of Santa Fe’s economy. There are fears that these mobile home communities will be sold to developers to build market rate housing and other commercial developments, displacing entire communities and their residents.

9) What do you propose to avoid this potential crisis?

I believe the mobile home parks should stay, we need to find other ways and areas to find for housing.

10) Do you support the idea of a Land Trust that could protect these communities?


​11) What other ideas do you have to protect working-class Santa Feans and generational residents from displacement?​

Hire more residents, make the jobs available within the city of Santa Fe. Make affordable housing affordable. Make sure the funding is there to support our constituents


District 3 borders the industrial zone adjacent to Airport Road and 599, and as such is the most impacted by potential emissions and other toxic pollutants. The area north of Airport Rd, the most densely populated, most diverse and poorest, is the most directly impacted. As it is home to the majority of Santa Fe’s children and youth, as well as an area that is extremely underserved and consequently has higher pre-existing health conditions, the additional risks posed by the industrial zone and proposed expansion is of great concern. This is an Environmental Justice crisis.​​

12) How do you propose to mitigate or eliminate these extra risks to our community?

Hire more residents, make the jobs available within the city of Santa Fe. Make affordable housing affordable. Make sure the funding is there to support our constituents

13) Will you support a Cumulative Impacts rule so that proposed new or expanded operations must be reviewed taking into consideration the existing environmental, health and socioeconomic conditions of the impacted communities?


14) Will you support public investments in the area that help mitigate impacts, such as increasing the tree canopy, eliminating pavement and concrete, increasing open space and green areas?​


15) The state has invested in a Community Schools (CS) strategy which provides funding for a Community Schools Coordinator at high need schools. This person helps to coordinate services and support for low income students and their families, in partnership with a council that is family and community driven. This is a proven strategy for supporting student learning and wellbeing. SFPS has several schools with a Community Schools Coordinator, mostly on the Southside. Another organization, Communities In Schools (CIS), is already coordinating services and support at these schools. This presents an opportunity for the CS strategy to have an impact beyond the schools, and change the community conditions in which the children and their families live. This is also a proven strategy that supports student learning and wellbeing, but also creates opportunities for the families and neighborhoods that the schools serve. Would you support a city-school-community partnership that would focus on transforming adverse community experiences and conditions? What might that look like?


16. Would you support targeted public investments in the neighborhoods, like job training, adult education, increasing home ownership, bringing city services and amenities, increasing out of school recreational opportunities, etc?

Most definitely.

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