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Mayor Gregg Hull shows the US and city flags of Rio Rancho. . Martinez, a Rio Ranchoan, asked Hull to send the flags and then presented them at the Rio Rancho board meeting on Thursday. Photo by Argen Duncan.

Rio Rancho board members approved a site plan for a prep pharmacy and opened land near the intersection of North and Unser boulevards for retail during their meeting Thursday night at the ‘city Hall.

They approved the site plan and the land use change unanimously, with Councilor Jeremy Lenentine absent and Mayor Gregg Hull therefore voting.

For the land use zoning change, the 2.2 acres in question are along Northern Boulevard just east of Unser Boulevard with Eric Road being the eastern boundary.

The lots to the immediate south, east and west are undeveloped R-1 lots, lower density single-family residential zoning, according to a city map. A mid-density single-family housing neighborhood and commercial development with a Walgreens pharmacy and Speedway gas station are across from north to north.

Entrepreneur and developer Dawn Davide said she has built homes nearby and invested in the area.

“And hopefully we can bring some development to this area which was never going to be a residential development anyway,” she said.

In their request to change the area, she and her business partner Linda DeFillippo said the change would bring more commerce to the city, while still allowing the busy intersection to remain consistent with existing businesses.

Sharon Alire, a resident of the neighborhood across the North, opposed the change of area.

“Heavy traffic is already a hindrance, and there are so many accidents just below this space where there is no left turn in our neighborhood,” she wrote in a comment letter. . “Adding more traffic to the retail space will only increase the traffic there.”

She was the only member of the audience to comment.

As for the site map, this is a new larger location for the Olive Tree Compounding Pharmacy at 1713 Wellspring Ave. It consists of three buildings, totaling approximately 7,600 square feet, with 46 parking spaces and five bicycle spaces on just over an acre of land.

The pharmacy, one of the few pharmacies in the state, according to architect Doug Heller, now has a smaller, rented location on Westside and Unser Boulevard. Heller said the larger building at the new site will have two tenants and the third building will be built in the future if the landlord finds the right tenant.

He said the pharmacy owner and Itsa Italian Ice owner, who were planning to go to the neighboring lot, agreed that they would have a common entrance to Itsa’s property. City Councilor Paul Wymer wanted approval of the site plan to be made conditional on this agreement being delivered in writing to the city.

The governing body approved this amendment and the plan.

In another case, the governing body approved the American Rescue Plan Act’s $ 360,000 set aside for a home repair program.

“We have an aging housing stock in Rio Rancho,” City Manager Matt Geisel said, adding that homes built in the 1960s often need repairs and many people have a fixed income.

The program would be administered by a nonprofit Homewise and would provide up to $ 25,000 per home in forgivable loans to homeowners with incomes equal to or less than 80% of the region’s median income. Geisel said the income limit would mean $ 38,000 for a household of one and $ 54,000 for a household of four, for example.

Deputy City Manager Peter Wells said the city will monitor Homewise’s use of the money and jointly develop a communications plan to let as many people as possible know about the opportunity.

If this effort is successful, Geisel said, he hopes to secure more funds and expand the program.

City Emergency Management Special Projects Coordinator Rose Martinez, left, accepts Region 6 Community Wide Readiness Award from Federal Emergency Management Agency from Zach Wachter, right , local preparedness coordinator with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Martinez and the city’s volunteer community emergency response team won the honor for their work during the pandemic, managing COVID testing and vaccination sites, delivering meals to the elderly and those confined to home and manufacturing over 6,000 face masks for frontline workers. Mayor Gregg Hull holds up another plaque in the back. Martinez and CERT were selected from teams from five states. Photo of Argen Marie Duncan.