OPEN SPACE AS LAND USE OPTIONS WITHIN THE RIVERINE FIOOD HAZARD AREA OF THE FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO PLANNING & PLATTING JURISDICTION
Prudence K. Larson
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree
MASTER OF URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING
University of Colorado at Denver Denver, Colorado
I would like to express my thanks to the City of Farmington Planning and Development Department, which has employed me as a student intern frcm September 1978 to May 1979. Keith R. Bergthold and Michael D. Sullivan have provided guidance throughout the preparation of this study. Secretarial and drafting support frcm the department has also been invaluable.
Special thanks are also due to the faculty of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning/Coimrunity Development, College of Environmental Design, University of Colorado at Denver, for their flexibility in allowing me to complete the requirements for this degree over a period of five and one-half years and frcm a distance of 450 miles during the final year. Herbert H. Smith, Director of the program, has been particularly cooperative in working with me "long distance" during this final year.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Introduction and Purpose of the Study......................1
II. Definition of the Study Area................................4
III. Assumptions ............................................... 6
IV. Goals and Objectives ...................................... 7
V. Definition of Terms ....................................... 8
A. Current data and planning background...................10
1. Review of previous public planning
for the area and of current regulations...........10
a. 1968 Master Plan i.........................10
b. 1976 Future Land Use Plan....................11
c. Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance............12
d. Subdivision Regulations......................13
f. San Juan County Land Use Plan................14
g. Bureau of Land Management land
h. New Mexico Department of Game and
2. Determination of community needs for
recreation and open space.........................17
3. Biological background.............................21
4. Review of relevant federal and state
5. Open space implementation techniques..............24
a. Zoning, subdivision regulations and
b. Private covenants, deed restrictions ... .26
c. Outright acquisition of land.................26
d. Acquisition of easements.....................29
e. BLM land trade...............................31
6 . Base maps.........................................31
7. Inventory of ownership and parcelization . . . .32
8. Field surveys.....................................33
9. Existing land use study...........................34
10. Inventory of available access.....................34
11. Summary of land use and ownership data............35
B. Examination of alternatives............................38
1. Overall planning concept..........................38
a. Existing policies and controls...............38
b. Use of additional tools currently
c. Seeking potential new tools..................40
2. Criteria for designation of lands ................41
a. For recreational use.........................41
b. For open space...............................41
Designation of lands which appear to have recreation or open space potential and
deserve closer examination......................42
4. Alternatives for land use in the flood plain . .42
a. For recreation.............................42
b. For open space.............................43
1. Overall flood plain land use planning
a. Existing policies and controls.............45
b. Use of additional tools currently
c. Seeking potential new tools................46
2. Implementation of resource preservation ... .47
3. Implementation of maintenance and
development of facilities.......................48
VII. Summary and recommendations................................51
Sources Consulted................................. 53
AN ANALYSIS OF RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE AS LAND USE
OPTIONS WITHIN THE RIVERINE FLOOD HAZARD AREA OF THE FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO PLANNING AND PLATTING JURISDICTION
I. Introduction and Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to assess the desirability of preserving open space and encouraging recreational use of the flood hazard areas of the San Juan, Animas, and La Plata Rivers in the City of Farmington and within five miles of the city limits. (The physical extent of the study area is further described in Section II of this report.) These uses would involve minimal construction of facilities. It is not initially assumed that such uses should be encouraged throughout the flood plain to the exclusion of other land uses. But this study looks at the riverine flood plains as a positive resource, which may have intrinsic value as open space and/or potential for recreational use, rather than simply as hazard areas.
The flood plain needs to be examined as an existing natural resource, presenting a full spectrum of special opportunities. It also presents special hazards which need to be analyzed. Flood hazard can be reduced by the placement of structures to contain or exclude flooding or by the imposition of special design standards on construction allowed in the flood plain. Or natural flooding can be allowed to occur, and personal and economic risk can be
reduced through the encouragement of land uses entailing minimal physical development. Structural solutions are not fully evaluated in this study.
Farmington is situated in a major river valley at the confluences of the San Juan and Animas Rivers and the San Juan and La Plata Rivers. Historically, settlement took place at this location because of special opportunities presented by the rivers: availability of water for irrigation and domestic use, natural transportation corridors, and the aesthetic appeal of natural green areas in a semi-arid region. As the City has grown, development has taken place on terraces above the rivers and also on the lower river banks. The lands which are subject to periodic river flooding cut broad corridors through the City. Some of the flood plains have already undergone structural development and others remain as open space.
As the population in the Farmington area grows, development pressure will increase on the flood plains. As the City becomes more urban in character, recreational and open space needs may also increase. To what extent might open space preservation and/or recreational use of the flood hazard areas allow us to take advantage of special opportunities presented by the flood plains for the benefit of the public, while at the same time minimizing risk?
What tools and techniques are available to the City for implementing such policies?
This study examines a variety of alternatives and
presents conclusions regarding open space and recreational use of the flood hazard areas and techniques for implementation.
II. Definition of the Study Area
The area examined by this study is defined as the one hundred-year flood plain on the San Juan, ^Animas and La Plata Rivers as indicated on flood hazard boundary maps issued by the Federal Insurance Administration, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The extent of that study area is based on an anticipated planning and platting jurisdiction five miles beyond the incorporated limits of the City of Farmington. The New Mexico Municipal Code*- gives a municipality with a population less than 25,000 planning and platting jurisdiction for three miles beyond its municipal boundaries, and similar jurisdiction for five miles to a city with population of 25,000 or more. At the last (1970) census, Farmington's population was 21,979, but it is projected to be over 25,000 without doubt, at the next (1980) census. Therefore, we have proceeded with a five-mile limit for purposes of examining property and land use in this study. In order to set a study limit, a map was drawn at the beginning of the study, establishing the extent of the planning and platting jurisdiction based on city limits in October 1978. The five-mile jurisdiction eastward along the Animas would overlap with the three-mile jurisdiction of the City of Aztec. Therefore the extent of Farmington's jurisdiction was abbreviated half way through the overlap, according to provision in the New Mexico Municipal Code. It should be noted that before Farmington legally acquires five-mile
New Mexico Municipal Code, 1978, 3-20-5.
jurisdiction subsequent to the 1980 census, the actual extent of that area will have been altered some from what appears on the maps used in this study, by annexations since October 1978.
In order to look at access and land use contiguous to the flood plain, data has been gathered in an area wider than the one hundred-year flood plain. In most cases, ownership and land use data was gathered to the nearest public road.
At the outset, it is important to acknowledge the assumptions which underlie our thinking. These are the basic premises which guide the study.
1. Recreation is a valid and desirable urban land use and activity, not just a rural amenity.
2. A variety of forms of recreation will be in demand and should be available to residents.
3. Undeveloped open space land has unique values
to the community for recreation, aesthetics, and protection of a special natural resource base.
4. Agriculture is a land use which serves open space purposes. The City should encourage agricultural lands remaining in production.
5. The City of Farmington will continue to experience significant growth, and concurrent development pressure will be felt on the flood plains in
and adjacent to the City.
6. Open space needs to be protected for the future as well as for present needs.
7. Although every planning situation is unique, Farmington's experience with development pressure on riverine flood hazard areas and also its need for open space and recreational opportunities have some elements in common with situations
in other communities. Their experiences and solutions may be instructive to us.
IV. Goals and Objectives
Goals and objectives are important for inclusion in a study such as this, to assure that we identify and bear in mind the broad issues and the more specific purposes for which the study is conducted.
1. To protect life and property from flood hazard.
2. To provide recreational opportunities needed in the Farmington area.
3. To protect the quality of the natural environment along the flood hazard areas.
4. To enhance the quality of life in the Farmington area through wise land use management for the present and the future.
1. To determine the most suitable land uses for riverine flood hazard areas in the Farmington planning and platting jurisdiction.
2. To identify parcels suitable for preservation as open space.
3. To identify parcels suitable for active recreational use.
4. To formulate ideas and concepts for facilities to enhance the recreational potential of flood hazard areas.
5. To identify suitable planning tools and funding sources to preserve and/or develop open space and recreational resources.
V. Definition of Terms
Floodway The channel of the stream and that portion of
the flood plain where flood waters would rush or flow.
Further defined in the City of Farmington's Flood
Damage Prevention Ordinance as, "...areas that must be
reserved in order to discharge the base flood without
cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation
more than one foot as shown on the City of Farmington
Flood Insurance Study Flood Boundary and Floodway Map."
Flood plain "The relatively flat area or lowlands adjoining
a river, stream, watercourse, ocean, or lake, which
have been or may be covered by flood water." Used in this study to refer to the flood hazard area of a base flood, as designated by the City of Farmington's Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance and indicated on Flood Hazard Boundary maps of the Federal Insurance Administration, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
One hundred-year flood Also call a base flood or intermediate
regional flood. "A flood whose peak flow magnitude
has about a one per cent chance of being equalled or
exceeded in any year."
Open space Land substantially free from structural development, which can be in a variety of uses, including agriculture, recreation, and natural resource conservation.
Riparian Relating to or located on the bank of a river, or
Army Corps of Engineers, p. 53.
sometimes of a lake or tidewater.
Structural solutions to flooding The placement of structures to contain or exclude flooding, such as dams, levees, channelization, or elevation of buildings. This may be contrasted to non-structural solutions, which prevent flood damage by other means such as land use regulation, allowing natural water flow and flooding to occur.
A. Current data and planning background
1. Review of previous public planning for the area and of current regulations
a. 1968 Master Plan
Two major planning documents have been prepared for the City by private consultants in the past eleven years. A Master Plan was prepared by Harland Bartholomew and Associates of Saint Louis, and adopted by the City in 1968. It states:
A major recommendation of the Park Plan is the provision of public park land or open space along the banks of the San Juan and Animas Rivers wherever possible. Some areas should be developed for active recreation uses such as Boyd Park, but for the most part the land should be left in its natural state with only minimal improvements for access roads, hiking trails, etc.4
Plate 9 of the Master Plan is a schematic
map proposing extensive parks and open space use along the
- the entire south bank of the Animas from the confluence with the San Juan to just south of the 1968 city limits;
- the north back of the San Juan from the confluence with the Animas to about one half mile east of the B Square Ranch buildings;
- the north bank of the San Juan between the La Plata River and Glade Arroyo;
portions of the north bank of the Animas including short segments just west of the Miller Street bridge 4 Master Plan, p. 69.
and just west of the Highway 64 (Bloomfield Highway) bridge, and from just west of the El Paso Natural Gas Company yards on eastward to just south of the 1968 city limits.
No provision is made in the plan for agricultural use, and it is not clear whether that is considered an open space use, or whether open space as discussed here involves public access and acquisition.
Since 1968, some properties along the rivers have changed hands, including some changes from public to private ownership; and development has proceeded. Therefore such extensive parks and open space plans along the rivers are probably less feasible now than they may have been in 1968. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that recommendations were made at that time for open space protection and recreational utilization of the river front.
b. 1976 Future Land Use Plan
The Future Land Use Plan is a more recent document prepared for the City in 1976 by Kenneth W. Larsen and Associates of Albuquerque. In contrast to the recommendations of the Master Plan described above, it makes little mention of the flood plain as a resource for recreation or open space. The flood plain is discussed simply as a hazard area, especially in regard to the light industrial use areas near the Animas in central Farmington.^ The more specific implementation recommendations of the report are largely projections of current land use trends:
5 Future Land Use Plan, p. 35.
light industrial, commercial, residential and agricultural uses near the river. In some places the flood plain is indicated on the maps and designated as open space because it is a hazard area. The report praises the operation of the private B Square Ranch as a wildlife refuge and experimental farm and recommends that adjacent land uses be controlled so that they do not infringe upon the quality of the ranch. No recommendations are offered, however, for aggressive public effort to protect the flood plain as a positive open space and recreational resource.
It is interesting to see the contrasting attitudes taken in the Master Plan and the Future Land Use Plan toward planning for land use in the flood plain.
c. Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance
In October 1978, the City of Farmington adopted a Flood Damage Prevention ordinance, in accordance with the guidelines of the Federal Insurance Administration. This ordinance designates the floodway and base flood (one hundred-year) hazard areas in the City and establishes regulations on development in those areas. Basically, permits are required for all new development. Except for the placement of a mobile home in an existing mobile home park or subdivision, new construction is prohibited in the floodway unless it is demonstrated that development will not result in any increase in flood levels and special design standards are met. Specific design criteria must be met also for approval of any development in the base
d. Subdivision Regulations
The City of Farmington Subdivision Regulations contain a provision^ for dedication of recreation space or payment of a fee in lieu of dedication. This dedication is based on the formula of 3.75 acres per 1,000 population generated, with the population calculated on the basis of units actually planned or zoning density.
In lieu of a land dedication, the subdivider may pay a
fee also based on the anticipated population to be generated.
As land is subdivided in or near the flood plain, dedication of land for park facilities could be encouraged in the flood hazard area, capitalizing on the riverside assets.
Although the City has overlapping jurisdiction with the
County over subdivision within the extended planning and
platting jurisdiction, Farmington is not currently applying its requirement for park dedication or fees in lieu of land to subdivisions approved outside city limits. This is due to concern regarding maintenance, supervision and liability for land owned outside the city. The New Mexico Municipal Code does empower statutory cities such as Farmington to acquire and improve park land outside city limits, however.^
The San Juan County Subdivision Regulations contain a section entitled "Flood Plain Management", which imposes general standards on development within subdivisions in the area subject to flooding.
b Paragraphs (2) and (3), subsection (a), section 5, article IV, as amended by resolution 78-56 on September 12, 1978
7 See definition, section II of this report.
8 New Mexico xMunicipal Code, 1973, 3-18-18.
The Zoning Ordinance of the City of Farmington contains a provision for a Community Unit Plan in large scale developments (20 acres or more). This allows clustering of residential density within a development, provided the overall density does not exceed that allowed within the district in which it is located. Such a provision could be applied to development in or adjacent to the flood plain to encourage the setting aside of open space along the river.
The County is not zoned.
f. San Juan County Land Use Plan
San Juan County adopted a Land Use Plan in December 1978, which gives us an up-to-date statement of current recreation facilities and anticipated needs.
In the course of the current study, conversations were also held with Larry Parks and Bob Bright of the County Planning Department.
The following sites in the County are relevant to the current study:
- In the Lower Valley, the Lions Club Park just east of Kirtland is in the process of development. This is a twenty-acre park on the bank of the San Juan River, financed jointly from county, state and federal (Department of the Interior, Land and Water Conservation Fund) sources. The Kirtland Lions Club has
provided the labor for development and maintenance of the park. The Land Use Plan suggests that within the Lower Valley approximately ten more acres of parkland will be needed in the next two to four years as the population grows. A major regional park is being planned west of the La Plata Highway and northeast of Kirtland, which would serve the Lower Valley as well as the region, although the site is not in or near the flood plain and not part of riverine planning.
The County Land Use Plan points out that the Flora Vista area has no public recreation facilities and has need of approximately 14.5 acres for current population, with an additional 3 acres of need projected for the near future. The Land Use Plan does suggest that a river access facility might be sought, and that the south side as well as the north side of the Animas should be considered. A bridge across the Animas is planned by the County for the near future, which will make the south side more accessible. In the Lee Acres area, McGee Park serves as the County Fairgrounds. Although the County owns additional undeveloped acreage surrounding the fairgrounds, they are reluctant to encourage uncontrolled public access which could cause management problems at the facility itself. Gas leases have been issued on the County property just south of the fairgrounds on the
river bank. The County is considering utilization of land which is part of the parcel in their ownership, just north of the volunteer fire station and across County Road 5 from Lee Acres, for a neighborhood park. That site is out of the flood plain and has no natural scenic assets.
- The County Land Use Plan notes that Jackson Lake is a State Wildlife Refuge offering limited hunting and wildlife observation as recreation. It is also a severely abused and poorly maintained facility.
The County recommends coordination with the State Department of Game and Fish for improved maintenance of the facilities and increased use.
General recommendations made in the County Land Use Plan for recreational and flood plain management include an educational campaign against littering and possible land excange between private owners and the BLM.
g. Bureau of Land Management land exchange possibilities.
Preliminary conversations have been held between officials of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and representatives of San Juan County and the Cities of Farmington, Aztec and Bloomfield. The object is for the local government agencies to act as facilitators and catalysts to stimulate land exchanges between the BLM and private owners currently holding undeveloped properties in the flood plain. This voluntary program would enable flood plain owners to obtain
land of equal value which is out of the flood hazard area aand more suitable for development. And it would put portions of the flood plain into public ownership, either for active recreational use or simply for protection of the flood plain as open space, for purposes of drainage, wildlife and aesthetics.
In March 1979, the Cities of Farmington, Aztec and Bloomfield and San Juan County submitted initial statements to the BLM regarding their interest in pursuit of such land exchange possibilities.
h. New .Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Another public agency which was consulted regarding current land management plans along the rivers near Farmington was the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Jackson Lake, in their ownership, is primarily a storage facility for water for irrigating the land below, where feed is raised for waterfowl and habitat is provided for wintering birds. Jackson Lake is a management problem for the State in terms of littering and abuse by the public.
2. Determination of community needs for recreation
and open space.
As reflected in the current planning described in the previous section, the population of the Farmington area is expected to increase. Population forecasting is always difficult, and particularly so in a community such as Farmington where past population has fluctuated significantly with the fortunes of the energy resource industries. Given current and anticipated levels of employment in basic
industry, particularly energy-related industry, and the establishment of Farmington as a regional service center, however, it seems safe to anticipate that growth will continue. Confidence in continued growth on the part of private investors and lenders is reflected in the level of residential and commercial construction taking place.
With population growth comes a need for increased recreational space. Pressure for development also is likely to increase along the rivers where most of the private land is located. Less than 6% of the land area in San Juan County is under private ownership. Most of the remaining land is managed by the BLM or is part of the Navajo Reservation. Although there is no dearth of open space in the county, most of it is high and dry and offers entirely different opportunities from the flood plains along the rivers.
The City of Farmington has some excellent specialized recreational facilities (indoor recreation center, swimming pools, golf course, ball fields) and a number of attractive neighborhood parks. However the parks which feature natural landscaping and which serve primarily as picnic grounds are generally of poor quality, suffering from inadequate maintenance and severe littering and vandalism problems.
The New Mexico Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan indicates that picnicking is the most popular family activity in New Mexico. It also indicates a general lack of trails in and near urban areas. Bicycling
and pleasure walking are other popular activities in the state.
The Farmington Parks and Recreation Director, Chuck Badsgard, supports the concept of developing park facilities near the rivers. His major concern is for adequate funding for maintenance of new park facilities so they can be adequately cared for. He feels that among the different areas examined by this study, the first priority for the City should be in developing parks along the Animas. In the past he feels there has been little or no communication between the City and County on parks and recreation matters, and in the future there should be better joint planning and perhaps even joint development and maintenance program.
Further investigation may need to be done regarding the public's perceptions of the need for recreational development and open space preservation in the flood plains. This could be done by citizen survey, public hearing, or review of recommendations from Town Forum 2000.
Aside from the community's needs for developed recreation facilities, the arguments overwhelming favor the protection of open space and restriction of development in the flood plain. Development results in damage to wildlife habitat, decreased vegetative cover, and increased impervious cover.
The resultant run-off produces erosion and sedimentation, as well as increased flood hazard. William H. Whyte, author and specialist on open space problems, describes the situation as follows:
...A flood plain is a great sponge. When the rains and foods come, it soaks up an enormous amount of water, returns a good part of it to the underlying water table, and then over a period of days and weeks slowly releases the rest.
Building on flood plains hurts people. It is not only a question of what happens to the unfortunates who live in the houses that will be inundated but to the people downstream. When a flood plain is covered with streets and rooftops and parking areas, the amount of water that runs off is greatly increased, and the watershed becomes a very "flashy" one. An average rooftop of twelve hundred square feet will shed 750 gallons of water in a one-inch rainfall. Put together a subdivision of rooftops, and you have a veritable flood-producing mechanism; the separate runoffs will be intercepted before they have a chance to soak into the ground and through a network of drains, gutters, and storm sewers will be compounded into a torrent and sent racing downstream.
...the developer can usually calm apprehensions [about flood hazardj by agreeing to protect the area with a small dike. This further increases the flood potential to the communities down the river, but that is their worry.
It is widely assumed that there is less and less need for any community to worry. Because of the vast amount of dam building that has been going on, the public is under the impression that the danger of floods is receding. But the opposite is true. By allowing developers to waterproof the flood plains, communities have been increasing the flood damage potential faster than the engineers can build dams to compensate. The public pays dearly, both in flood damage and in the cost of dams that otherwise would not have to be built. Just one shopping center and parking area built on the flood plain can create enough extra runoff to require the construction of anywhere from five hundred thousand dollars to a million dollars worth of flood control structures. The public pays the whole bill and retroactively provides a subsidy to developers for building where they shouldn't.^
Although Farmington is not in a heavily urbanized
region, it is possible that the flood plains and adjacent
lands throughout the study area could be heavily developed in
the foreseeable future if further measures are not taken to
9 Whyte, pp. 40-41.
limit development and protect open space.
3. Biological background
The rivers in the Farmington area have a profound effect on the types of vegetation growing in the valley floors. And the type of habitat provided by this vegetation has great influence on the birds and animals found there. In general, the following riparian habitats are typical:
- riverbank a narrow band of low-growing plants,
such as jointed horsetail, spikerush, Kentucky bluegrass, and cocklebur.
- riparian shrubland poorly drained areas on gently
sloping banks adjacent to the river and drain ditches, containing coyote willow or salt cedar and sometimes cattails, bulrush, smooth scouring rush or sedges. Cottonwood, Russian olive and willow saplings are sometimes present. Vegetation is usually very dense and nearly impassable.
- riparian woodland the most extensive native
riparian vegetation type, dominated by Rio Grande cottonwood, often 40-80 feet in height, and dense understory including Russian olive, skunkbrush,
New Mexico olive and Chinese elm, often 10-25 feet in height.
- marshland mostly shallow with little or no open
water and characterized by cattail, bulrush, sedges, flat sedge and spikerush, largely a result of man's agricultural activity and resultant
- agricultural fields irrigated cropland, primarily in alfalfa and corn.^
Of the 100 breeding birds identified in the San Juan Valley in a study by Carl Gregory Schmitt in 1973, 48 characteristically breed in riparian habitats and would not survive in the valley without these habitats. The clearing of riparian woodland and shrubland and the draining of marshy areas, which becomes more common as human development occurs, poses a threat to a great number of bird species. According to Alan Nelson, of the locally based Four Corners Bird Club, bird-watchers and ornithologists deliberately make this area a destination for observation of certain species.
In addition to summer breeding, the river also provides an important feeding, resting and wintering area for migratory waterfowl. San Juan County ranks high in New Mexico in attracting bird hunters.
Mammals found in riparian habitat include raccoon, beaver, voles and house mice.
Due to differences in water quality between the San Juan, Animas and La Plata Rivers, these three streams differ in the type of fish habitat they provide.
The San Juan River near Farmington is often turbid and the river bottom laden with silt. It is a marginal sport fishery at best. Channel catfish are the main game fish. Turbidity and warm water temperature prevent trout
10 Habitat classification and description from Schmitt, p.12-15.
from inhabiting this section of the stream. ^ Nongame fish
inhabiting this portion of the stream include flannelmouth
and bluehead suckers, speckled dace, carp, fathead minnow,
red shiner, and Rio Grande killifish.
The Animas River near Farmington is similar to the San Juan. Game fish are rare, although farther upstream in New Mexico the Animas could perhaps support a trout fishery, stocked on a put-and-take basis.-*-4
The La Plata River is seasonally intermittent and consequently provides only warm water, pool and riffle habitat. Fishing is virtually nonexistent .-*-5
4. Review of relevant federal and state programs The best source of federal assistance at present, for outdoor recreation facilities along the rivers in the Farmington area, would be the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This program is administered by the Heritage, Conservation and Recreation Service, Department of the Interior, through the New Mexico Department of Natural Resources.
Grants under this program have veen utilized already by the City of Farmington and San Juan County. They are available as 50% grants, requiring state and local matching funds. They provide funding for planning, acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. Projects must conform to the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. lz NIIP, p. II 49-51.
13 ibid., and Sublette, San Juan River Basin, p. 5.
14 Sublette, La Plata and Animas Rivers, p. 77.
15 Ibid., p. 75, 79.
Future applications for Land and Water Conservation funds would be looked upon favorably if Farmington demonstrates good utilization of previous grants. Inter-agency recreational planning would also be considered desirable.
As discussed in section VI, 2, above, the New Mexico SCORP cites a need for picnic facilities and bicycling and walking trails. Among the recommendations for local governments in the New Mexico SCORP are the following:
- Local units of government, which have the resources and capabilities, should assume their responsibility of providing outdoor recreation facilities for their residents by including recreation opportunities
in any planning for growth of their community.
- Communities should set priorities on recreation programs in the course of the planning process for community development. Also, they should consider dedication of locally-owned lands for park and recreation development.
- Local governments must inventory their own areas for suitable sites for trail development.-*-6
5. Open space implementation techniques
In the course of this study, research has been conducted to learn the tools which have been used elsewhere in the United States and might be available to the City.of Farmington for protection of open space and acquisition of park land. The following description of these techniques points out the variety of tools available and describes some of the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
a. Zoning, subdivision regulations, and special ordinances.
A county or municipality in New Mexico is delegated various specific powers to promote the health,
T6 Executive Summary, New Mexico SCORP, p. 5.
safety, morals and general welfare, including the authority to regulate development by zoning and subdivision platting.
Zoning and subdivision regulation can be used in several ways to protect the open space character of an area. Large lot zoning, flood plain (or other types of open space) zoning and cluster development are examples.
Large lot zoning is not generally considered desirable for purposes of open space protection. Although it reduces density, it does not provide any integrated control over land use or natural resource protection, and low density development is expensive in terms of providing public services.
Flood plain zoning protects personal property, preserves water quality and minimizes public expenditures for disaster relief. Farmington's Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance essentially creates a flood plain zone, although it is not enacted as part of the Zoning Ordinance. It creates an overlapping zone with other use districts.
Zoning has only limited effectiveness in providing long-term protection for open space, as it is subject to change and susceptible to pressure from special interests. Zoning should probably be considered a temporary solution, which can protect land from development until public acquisition or another more permanent means of protection becomes possible. The extent to which zoning can be used to control land use is a delicate issue. Flood plain zoning
has normally been upheld in court as an appropriate means of protecting life, health and property. But the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution states:
"Nor shall private property by taken for public use without just compensation." Therefore zoning regulation must be reasonable and must not eliminate too large a proportion of the value of a property, or the courts will deem it an unjust "taking" for which compensation must be provided.
The requirement in the Subdivision Regulations of a dedication of land for park purposes, or fees in lieu of land, from a developer, is another possible technique,
This is utilized in Farmington.
b. Private covenants, deed restrictions Private agreements between buyer and
seller of a piece of land, which require the buyer to do or refrain from doing certain things, can be attached to any deed. These can also be written to bind subsequent buyers into the future. The public agency can get into a purchase and sale-back program, where they buy up properties they want to protect and then sell them to private owners with appropriate deed restrictions. The authority to do this in New Mexico could be further explored. Any such private deed restrictions are difficult to enforce and rely largely on cooperation of the owner.
c. Outright acquisition of land Various means of land acquisition can
be used to provide public control over open space or potential
recreation sites. If sufficient funds can be assembled, through bond issue, special taxes or partial federal/state funding, a local government can purchase properties outright.
This of course provides the most complete control over land use, and the sooner the purchase can be made the lower the price is likely to be. Disadvantages are that the land is removed from the tax rolls, and maintenance and liability responsibilities are assumed.
As discussed above, purchase.and then sale with deed restrictions may be a possibility for open space protection.
The money invested is available for "recycling" in another transaction after sale.
Purchase and subsequent lease of land to the original owner or to another party is another land management possibility. One disadvantage of this is that the capital has to be put up all at once, at the time of purchase.
To spread out the burden of payments, a large piece of property can be bought from a single owner in parcels.
An agreement can be made at the outset for purchase of parcels over a period of time. The owner can continue using some or all of the property during the interim. His capital gains are spread over a period of time. He stops paying property taxes as the City takes title. The City has the additional advantage of freezing the price.^
Property can also be purchased under a life estate agreement, which allows continued use by the previous ^-7 Whyte, p^ 6 8
owner for the remainder of that person's life. This technique allows the municipality to acquire and protect land for future use, at earlier, lower prices.
Where deemed necessary, the power of eminent domain can be used to acquire land for public purposes. In New Mexico a municipality can acquire land for park purposes by voluntary purchase or by eminent domain, either within or outside the city limits.1^ William Whyte suggests, "If a local government has the right of condemnation, it is in a much better position to persuade landowners and developers to cooperate on measures that will make condemnation unnecessary." In some states, he points out, the courts have'become' somewhat more flexible in interpreting public purpose to include open space uses not involving public access -- watershed protection, scenic vistas, flood control, wildlife habitat, etc.19 it is doubtful whether this has happened in New Mexico, though the case law might be explored.
A municipality can encourage the donation of land to serve parks or open space purposes. Often this will appeal to owners who have strong feelings for the land and want to protect it from future development. The donation can be drawn up as a life estate, where the donor continues use for the extent of his or her life. Donations can be made with specific restrictions, to assure that the land will be used only in certain ways. A trust association can be set up to receive the land if there are technical problems
iy New Mexico Municipal Code, 1978, 3-18-10 and 3-18-18.
19 Whyte, p. 54.
regarding receipt by the City. The Nature Conservancy is a well-known national organization which is experienced in facilitating open space land acquisition for local agencies, either in the case of purchase or donation. Tax advantages for land donors are significant and should be publicized to encourage such gifts. Significant income tax deductions can be taken on donation of land to public agencies and approved charitable organizations, and these deductions, or the gift itself, can be spread over a number of years to the advantage of the donor. In addition to the deduction for charitable donation, the gift is exempt from capital gains tax for which the owner would probably be liable in case of sale.^If property is sold to public agencies at less than the market value of the land, the difference in value also qualifies for tax deduction.
d. Acquisition of easements
Apart from outright acquisition of land in fee title, easements can be sold or donated. Property rights are in fact a legal "bundle of rights" which can be separated from each other. Mineral rights and utility easements are familiar examples of rights which may be separated. Easements can be either negative (constraining the seller from doing certain things) or positive (granting the buyer particular rights-- public access, fishing rights, grazing, etc.)
One innovative form of negative easement (often called a conservation easement) is the purchase of development
Shomon, pp. 59-61.
rights, whereby the original owner gives up the right to develop his land but retains title and all other rights including existing uses (residence, agriculture, etc.)
The property remains on the tax rolls. The value of the development right (for purchase or for tax deduction value in case of donation) is calculated as its value in present use subtracted from its value if sold for development, as estimated by a qualified appraiser. If public access is desired, a positive easement providing right-of-way must also be purchased. One drawback of purchase of development rights is that in areas under strong development pressure the value of the development rights may be a high percentage of the total land value, in which case full title to the land might as well be purchased. Purchase of development rights provides the owner with compensation for his lost rights, which overcomes the Constitutional constraints against unjust taking, discussed above under zoning and subdivision regulation.
Further research may be needed regarding the extent to which conservation easements, as described above, are authorized by New Mexico Statutes. Other states have found it necessary to enact specific legislation authorizing less-than-fee purchase of land for open space or conservation purposes.
One problem with the purchase of development rights is enforcement. Unless the property owner is in sympathy with the objectives of the purchaser and fully understands
the restrictions, problems may develop. This is particularly important if the property changes hands.
e. BLM land trade
As described above in section VI, A,
1, g of this report, the possibility exists that San Juan County and the Cities of Farmington, Bloomfield and Aztec may be able to facilitate land exchanges between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and private property owners now holding lands in the flood plain. Although the process may prove time-consuming and complex, it should be explored.
In summary, five general techniques have been described here for implementing a policy of open space preservation.
Two of these -- use of zoning and private covenants or deed restrictions -- are only temporarily effective and sometimes difficult to enforce. Outright acquisition, acquisition of easements, and land trade can provide permanent protection. Temporary measures may be desirable, however, to delay development or preserve options until other steps can be taken. The costs of the different techniques vary, with outright purchase the most expensive. Costs of continual maintenance must be kept in mind along with acquisition cost.
6. Base maps
A map was prepared showing the overall study area: City of Farmington and five-mile anticipated planning
and platting jurisdiction.' The purpose of this map is to show the extent of the area.
More detailed sectional base maps were also prepared,
showing the rivers and the one hundred-year flood boundary as indicated on Flood Hazard Boundary and Floodway Work Maps of the Federal Insurance Administration, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These base maps include major highways near the rivers and access roads and local streets between these highways and the river, throughout the flood plain.
The three maps covering the central part of the study area (primarily the City of Farmington) are at a scale of 1" = 1000' and are drawn from HUD Flood Hazard Boundary maps.
The outlying portions of the study area are mapped at a scale of 1" = 2000', using county planning maps as a base to which flood plain and study area boundaries were added. These outlying maps cover the Flora Vista area, the Lower Valley, the La Plata Valley and the Lee Acres portion of the San Juan River valley.
Although the scale of these maps does not allow great detail, it was considered important to use maps readily available, fairly uniform throughout the study area, and at a scale not greater than the available Flood Hazard Boundary maps for accuracy.
All these base maps are on mylars or mylar sepias and can be readily reproduced.
7. Inventory of ownership and parcelization
Ownership information was obtained from the County Assessor's quarter section maps, as of October 3Q, 1978,
on all property in the study area and access lands.
Property boundaries were approximated on the study area base maps and coded to an index of property owners. The agencies owning public lands were indicated directly on ownership maps so that they would stand out.
Parcels of five acres or less were not outlined or coded for ownership due to the scale of the base maps and the fact that these properties would be less convenient to obtain for open space. These properties are indicated on the ownership maps by diagonal cross-hatching. The heavily parcelized areas are often in subdivisions or intensive land use. If ownership information on any of these properties is needed, it can be readily obtained.
This ownership information can be reproduced, as it is drawn on mylar sepias of the study area base maps.
Copies are available for examination in the offices of the City of Farmington Planning Department.
8. Field surveys
Much of the land use and acess data presented on the land use maps was obtained through field observation. This field observation was conducted in February and March 1979. Due to time limitations and the extent of the study area, the information presented on these maps is somewhat generalized. Acess to private lands was generally not sought. Therefore, where access to the river is not readily available, the extent of land uses depicted on the map.
approximated from distant ooservation -- from the closest highway or from across the river.
9. Existing land use study
One set of base maps has been colored to describe existing land use. These are also available for examination in the offices of the City of Farmington Planning Department. Uses other than residential, agricultural and unused are also numerically coded according to the Land Use Classification Manual developed by the Land Classification Advisory Committee of the Detroit Metropolitan Area.
In some instances it was impossible to accurately code all these land uses due to the scale of the base maps and the time limitations of the study. Therefore, it is important to bear in mind that this land use information is intended to give an understanding of the general types of land uses in and adjacent to the flood plains. Caution should be used in relying on the accuracy of detailed land use coding in the more congested parts of central Farmington, although the general land use category indicated by color should be reliable.
Land use data was obtained by field survey, as described above, and from aerial photographs where available. Interpretation of land use from aerial photos was field checked, but was helpful in providing a better look at some areas which were not accessible.
10. Inventory of available access
Road access to the rivers and to the flood
plains is shown on the base maps. Although major highways parallel all the rivers, direct public access to the rivers is not readily available, except at a few major highway crossings. In fact, there were many places where it was even difficult to get close to the flood plain in the course of this study.
Access by foot can only be presumed available on public lands, and there are even restrictions on some public lands, such as the City's waste water treatment plant and electric generation plant. Trespassing on private lands is not appropriate. Therefore public use of most of the flood plain is not available.
11. Summary of land use and ownership data Although the maps themselves should be examined for detailed information, the following observations can be made.
Ownership of the flood plain on the Animas through central Farmington is broken up into many small parcels.
On the north side of the Animas, the flood plain is built up with primarily commercial and light industrial uses.
Aside from the waste water treatment plant and electric generating plant, which are not compatible with recreation or public access, the only public properties in this area are Boyd Park, Berg Park, and segments of the former Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad right-of-way. Boyd Park (3 acres) has playground equipment, picnic tables, fireplaces, and restrooms, but is poorly maintained and at
the time of this report has been pretty well disrupted by recent construction of a dike along the river. Berg Park (11 acres) is little known by the general public, access is inconspicuous, and it boasts only four broken picnic tables and two fire grates. Much of the railroad right-of-way parallel to San Juan Boulevard and East Main Street is leased and in commercial use.
Eastward from 20th Street in Farmington to Flora Vista, most of the flood plain is vacant or in agricultural use.
The City of Farmington owns approximately three and one-half miles of former railroad right-of-way in and adjacent to the flood plain. The County owns additional former railroad right-of-way east of Flora Vista as far as the old railroad bridge across the Animas. Other than the railroad right-of-way, there is no public ownership in the study area near the Animas east of Berg Park.
On the San Juan River from the confluence with the Animas eastward to Lee Acres, almost all of the flood plain is vacant or in agricultural use. Much of the flood plain is in the ownership of Tom Bolack and is part of his extensive ranch, experimental farm and wildlife preserve. This property is not open to the public. The county fairgrounds, at McGee Park, includes some flood plain land, and there are three parcels on the river near McGee Park which are in federal ownership, managed by the BLM with special designation as "power site withdrawals". This is an old designation put in the past on several sites along the San Juan to hold them as potential sites for future electric
power generation. That use is no longer considered likely, and the BLM has even thought of removing that special designation. For about a mile and a half west of McGee Park, the flood plain is not in Bolack ownership but includes the power sites just mentioned and about six different major private ownerships as well as the heavily parcelized Wild Horse Valley mobile home subdivision.
On the San Juan River west of the confluence with the Animas, most of the flood plain is vacant or in agricultural use all the way to Kirtland. The City's waste water treatment plant and a sand and gravel operation are the only major exceptions near Farmington. Just west of the confluence with the La Plata are two federal power sites (largely in steep bluffs).
Between Farmington and Kirtland is a sizeable parcel adjacent to the river in State ownership, most of which is in agricultural use, apparently under lease to private operators. The Kirtland Lions Club Park (discussed above in section VI, A, 1, f) is in the flood plain adjacent to the river and is in County ownership. The entire south side of the San Juan west of the confluence with the La Plata is in the Navajo Reservation and is not under consideration in this study.
Most of the flood plain of the La Plata River is in private ownership, although the State owns a sizeable parcel and there are occasional federal parcels. Much of the land east of the river, not shown on the ownership maps for this
study, is federal; and the federal parcels on the river are contiguous to that. Most of the flood plain is vacant or in agricultural use, although there are several single-family houses also in the flood plain. About one mile up the La Plata valley is a sand and gravel operation. Vehicular access from the highway on the west side of the river to the east bank is not readily available. There are no bridges at present. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish owns more than 1300 acres in the La Plata valley, including Jackson Lake and irrigated fields along the river to the east of that water storage facility. As noted above (sections VI, A, 1, f, and h of this report), Jackson Lake is a wildlife refuge, and the irrigated State land is used for raising waterfowl feed.
B. Examination of alternatives
1. Overall planning concept
Three possible alternatives exist for providing nonstructural flood plain management in the Farmington area. Another possibility for flood plain management is to consider structural solutions. Stream channelization or permanent dike construction and maintenance could be undertaken. The first thing that must be done is for the City to determine which approach or approaches it wishes to take.
a. Existing policies and controls
One alternative is to take no action beyond the existing policies and controls. Essentially that leaves
us with the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance and its requirements for the issuance of permits based on appropriate design standards. It leaves us with Boyd Park and Berg Park, both with minimal facilities and in need of maintenance. Jackson Lake, under the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, is in similar condition. McGee Park is a specialized facility adjacent to the flood plain, under management of the County Fair Association. And the Lower Valley Lions Club Park is in the process of development by the Lions Club, who also have agreed to maintain it.
b. Use of additional tools currently available In addition to the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance, which is in effect, other tools are currently available at minimal or no cost if the City chooses to take advantage of them. As a first step, the City can publicize its concern for and interest in the flood plain as a special resource area. It can encourage private property owners to capitalize on the aesthetic possibilities of the river and to accept responsibility for keeping the river banks cleaned up and in good condition. It can point out to private property owners what uses would be appropriate.
The City can publicize its interest in receiving land donations in the flood plain. Income tax advantages to donors and possibilities such as deed restrictions, deferred public use (such as reserving a life estate for the original owner), and donation of development rights can be pointed out. The City can even approach owners of prime properties directly with such proposals.
As subdivision occurs adjacent to the flood plain, the City can aggressively seek dedication of park land along the river. Cluster development can be encouraged in these locations to increase the amount of public open space or recreation land available.
Land exchange possibilities between the BLM and private flood plain owners can be encouraged and facilitated by the City.
c. Seeking potential new tools
As a final alternative, the City can attempt to expand the tools available for flood plain preservation and can seek increased funding for maintenance and acquisition of open space and recreation lands. This alternative could be pursued concurrently with alternative b--available and "no cost" techniques would be capitalized upon, at the same time that additional tools and funding were sought.
The following new tools might be explored: purchase and sale-back with deed restrictions, purchase and lease, purchase of development rights or other easements. Funding would be sought for land acquisition and also for maintenance and development of existing and new properties. With adequate maintenance/development funds, the City could enter into joint management agreements with other public agencies such as the BLM, the County, or the State Department of Game and Fish for enhancement of facilities in the ownership of these other agencies.
2. Criteria for designation of lands
It must be emphasized that lands must meet all the criteria to be suitable; but not all lands meeting the criteria have to be designated for recreational or open space purposes.
a. For recreational use
1. ) Currently unused or in a temporary use such as extraction of sand and gravel, oil or gas.
2. ) Existing access from the outside or reasonable opportunity for obtaining access.
3. ) Public ownership or right of access at the time of recreational development, but not necessarily at the present.
4. ) Suitable size of site for the
5.) Natural features conducive to recreation, such as aesthetics, suitable surroundings,_ and reasonable site characteristics. Riparian woodland is probably the most attractive vegetative type near the river. Dense shrubland and marshland are not appropriate. Steep cliffs are not appropriate for active use unless they are of interest to rock climbers, although they may provide an attractive backdrop for a recreational site at the base, or cliffs may drop off below a site which is elevated above the flood plains.
b. For open space
1.) Currently unused, in a temporary use such as extraction of sand and gravel or oil or gas, or in an agricultural use.
2. ) Where access is available, the lands may be open to the public. Access to the open space lands, however, is not necessary.
3. ) Either public or private ownership.
4. ) Suitable size parcel available to serve open space purposes.
5. ) Any types of vegetation in the flood plain can be appropriate, including dense shrubland and marshland which provide valuable wildlife habitat and are an important natural resource for absorption of flood waters.
3. Designation of lands which appear to have recreation or open space potential and deserve closer examination
A map has been prepared to accompany this study, designating the following categories within the flood plain which meet some of the above criteria and which appear to deserve further study. It is available for examination in the offices of the City of Farmington Planning Department.
a. Existing recreation lands.
b. Lands warranting study in the near future for their recreational potential and prompt development as recreational facilities.
c. Lands warranting study in the near future for the desirability of their protection as open space or their development as recreational sites in the long term.
4. Alternatives for land use in the flood plain
a. For Recreation
1. ) Picnic grounds
2. ) Camp ground facilities
3. ) Playgrounds
4. ) Golf courses
5. ) Shooting ranges
6. ) Nature interpretation exhibits
7. ) Equestrian trails
8. ) Bicycle trails
9. ) Hiking trails
10.) Other forms of recreation entailing minimal physical facilities and not altering the natural condition of the flood plain to any great extent.
b. For open space
Open space allows any use not entailing any structural development, including the following:
1. ) Agricultural (both cropland and grazing)
2. ) Wildlife habitat
3. ) Temporary extractive uses such as sand and gravel, oil or gas
4. ) Irrigation facilities such as ditches
and holding ponds
5. ) Conservation lands, particularly for flood water absorption purposes.
If public access is provided, the following recreational uses are also suitable!
6. ) Nature observation
7. ) Hiking
8. ) Picnicking without established
1. Overall flood plain land use planning policy
Structural solutions for flood plain management are not directly a topic of study in this report. However, the feasibility of structural solutions for flood plain management need to be explored further for use in central Farmington, where land uses inappropriate to recreation and open space already exist in the flood plain, or where significant financial investment has already been allowed. Recent construction of a temporary dike along the Animas River may have already altered the boundaries of the flood plain, and the possibility of revised flood plain mapping in this area should be considered. As recently drawn up, the easements for construction of the dike are temporary, lasting only through 1979. Property owners may remove the dike after this year. Serious consideration should be given to the feasibility of negotiating permanent agreements so that a permanent dike system can be relied upon for flood control in the future.
Costs of continued maintenance as well as installation of any structural solutions must be considered during the evaluation of their possible benefits.
Other than for a short stretch along the Animas through central Farmington, structural solutions are probably not advisable for flood plain management in the study area. Interference with natural flooding will cause increased run-off, will destroy fish and wildlife habitat, and will alter the landscape in ways that destroy its recreational potential.
The non-structural alternatives described in the previous section are here evaluated.
a. Existing policies and controls
The first alternative listed above, that of taking no action beyond existing policies and controls, will undoubtedly result in continued development within the flood plain, although such development will have to occur within the standards established by the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance. As described above in this study, development in the flood plain increases run-off and thus increases flood hazard downstream, even if the construction itself is flood-proof. Without increased funding for maintenance, and emphasis on river amenities, the existing riverside city parks will remain in poor condition, plagued by vandalism and littering.
In fact they will continue to deteriorate as population pressure increases; and the precedent of littering and disrespect for property will compound the problem. No new facilities would be opened or expanded under this alternative.
b. Use of additional tools currently available The third alternative described above,
that of capitalizing upon all currently available techniques for open space preservation and recreational development in the flood plain, offers a variety of tools at little cost to the City. Due to the compelling arguments for protecting the flood plain from development and utilizing it as a recreational and natural resource area, it seems desirable to follow this alternative. The City should mount a campaign to focus public attention on the assets of the flood plain,
to counteract littering, and to foster respect for the land.
There is a serious littering problem in the Farmington area, which can be solved only partially by education. Anti-littering ordinances should be enforced. Park design may also help to discourage widespread littering by planning an entrance parking lot with barriers preventing vehicular access to the interior of the park. Such walk-in facilities may discourage users from bringing in and leaving litter.
The City should also publicize its interest in receiving land donations. And it should continue to participate in discussions with the BLM regarding land exchanges between that agency and private owners of flood plain properties.
c. Seeking potential new tools
The fourth alternative for flood plain management is that of pursuing new techniques for open space preservation and recreational development. This should be undertaken concurrently with the alternative of capitalizing upon currently available techniques. In the long term, it will be advantageous to have as many techniques available as possible to fit the varying situations on different properties. Funding should be aggressively sought for City maintenance of existing and future recreational and open space properties in the flood plain. At present, the City is the only public agency in the area with a parks maintenance department. Since we do not want to assume responsibility for maintaining all recreational facilities in the area, it might be hoped that the County, the State Game and Fish Department, and the BLM would find funds to better maintain recreational facilities on their lands.
But until that happens, the City of Farmington might want to explore the possibility of joint management'of some sites.
It should be emphasized that land in agricultural use satisfactorily serves open space purposes. It is not the intent of this study to suggest that any private agricultural land be taken over for recreational purposes. Irrigated farm land should remain in production.
Probably the most important step that should be taken by the City of Farmington is the adoption of an overall flood plain land use planning policy. This can be done as an amendment and updating of the Master Plan and/or the Future Land Use Plan.
A definite policy statement favoring open space preservation and recreational development along the riverine flood plains would be a first step toward implementation of the more specific measures that could be taken.
2. Implementation of resource preservation
The following specific techniques are currently available and should be utilized:
a. Enforcement of the Flood Damage Prevention
b. Encouraging the dedication of subdivision park land in the flood plain.
c. Encouraging use of the Community Unit Plan to allow clustering of development and increased open space in the flood plain.
d. Pursuit of the possibility of land exchange between the BLM and private flood plain property owners.
e. Conducting an educational campaign emphasizing the positive assets of the flood plain, discouraging littering, and promoting respect for property.
f. Identification of particularly attractive private lands in the flood plain which may have recreational potential.
g. Adopting a policy of willingness to receive land donations in the flood plain, and publicizing the various ways in which such agreements can be executed, and the advantages to donors.
h. Exploring the possibility of accepting park land donations from subdividers outside the City, within the planning and platting jurisdiction.
i. Conducting a survey of residents regarding the community's needs for a variety of types of recreational facilities and for open space preservation in the flood plain.
3. Implementation of maintenance and development
a. Seeking significantly increased funds for development of park facilities and maintenance of both new and existing facilities.
b. Development of Berg Park as a walk-in park, with no motor vehicles permitted beyond an entrance parking lot. Study of improved access from San Juan Boulevard.
c. Improvement and conscientious maintenance
of Boyd Park.
d. Contact with New Mexico Department of
Game and Fish regarding their management plaxs for.Jackson Lake and the possibilities for improved maintenance as a recreational facility.
e. Contact with the BLM regarding their plans for power site withdrawals on the San Juan River and analysis of the recreational and open space potential of these sites.
f. Contact with the County regarding: the possible expansion of the Lower Valley Lions Club Park and an evaluation of its maintenance; expanded recreational capacity of McGee Park including the possibility of equestrian trails near the river; and possibilities for recreational development and open space protection near Flora Vista. With the planned construction of a bridge at Flora Vista, attractive sites on the south side of the river should be evaluated for recreational and open space potential, and a bicycle/pedestrian lane should be considered on the bridge itself.
g. Examination of the former railroad right-of-way near Flora Vista, now owned partially by the City of Farmington and partially by San Juan County. This route should be evaluated for potential as a hiking trail, bicycle path, or equestrian trail.
h. Consideration of the feasibility of obtaining public right-of-way for a hiking trail or bicycle route along the dike on the Animas River in central Farmington.
i. Consideration of the value of trails and other linkages between parcels as a useful feature in design of recreational facilities.-
It should be obvious that not all the measures suggested in this study can be acted upon at once. Therefore
priorities need to be chosen.
In the near term it seems wisest to take advantage of all available land preservation tools other than outright purchase, to seek funding for improvement and regular maintenance of existing public recreation sites,- particularly those currently being used and abused, and to mount a public awareness campaign focussing attention on the unique qualities of the flood plain, discouraging littering, and promoting respect for property.
Longer range planning should focus upon making additional tools available for preservation of open space and development of recreational facilities, seeking funds for acquisition of additional land or development rights, and assuring continued funding for aggressive maintenance of facilities.
VII. Summary and Recommendations
Due to the unique values of the riverine flood plain for aesthetics, wildlife habitat, and flood water absorption, it is desirable to discourage intensive land use there, and to preserve these properties as open space. Particularly attractive sites should be evaluated for their potential as natural riverside recreational facilities.
The information contained within this analysis should be helpful in establishing a flood plain land use policy. As a means to that end, the Planning and Development Department makes the following specific recommendations to the Parks and Recreation Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission, and City Council, and requests permission to proceed with the actions necessary to carry out the recommendations:
1. That this report be given broad public exposure in order that information contained herein might,
in conjunction with public comment, be used to guide the development and subsequent adoption of a Flood Plain Land Use Policy. Such a policy should be in the form of an amendment to the 1968 Master Plan, and the Future Land Use Plan.
2. That the Policy adoption process be coordinated with the Town Forum 2000 to ensure the adoption of a policy statement consistent with the goals
set forth by Town Forum 2000 and that organization's
Natural Resources Task Force.
3. That the City of Farmington continue to work with the San Juan Regional Committee in order to achieve cooperative inter-governmental solutions to flood plain management problems.
Coughlin, Robert E. and Plaut, Thomas, "Less-than-fee Acquisition for the Preservation of Open Space:
Does It Work?" Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 44:2 (October 1978): 452-462.
Department of the Army, Sacramento District, Corps of
Engineers, Flood Plain Information, San Juan River and Tributaries, Farmington, New Mexico. Prepared for the City of Farmington and San Juan County,
"Future Land Use Plan for Farmington, New Mexico". Compiled by Kenneth W. Larsen and Associates, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and adopted by the City Council, June 1976.
"Land Subdivision Regulations". Adopted by the City Council, City of Farmington, New Mexico,
June 22, 1971, and subsequently amended through September 1978.
Master Plan, Farmington, New Mexico. Prepared by Harland Bartholomew and Associates, Saint Louis, Missouri, and adopted by the City Council, June 1968.
"Navajo Indian Irrigation Project, San Juan County, New Mexico: Final Environmental Statement". Prepared
by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, October 12, 1976.
"San Juan County The Next Decade: Land Use Plan".
Adopted by the County Commission, San Juan County, New Mexico, December 18, 1978.
Schmitt, Carl Gregory, "Summer Birds of the San Juan Valley, Northwestern New Mexico". MS Thesis, New Mexico State University, 1973.
Shomon, Joseph James, Open Land for Urban America:
Acquisition, Safekeeping and Use. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, for the Audubon Society, 1971.
Somers, Preston, "Fauna Inventory of the Animas-La Plata Project Area". Final report, submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Durango, Colorado, September, 1976.
Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan for New Mexico, Executive Summary. August 1977.
Strong, Ann L. and Keene, John C. Environmental Protection Through Public and Private Development Controls. Prepared for the Office of Research and Monitoring,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., May 1973.
Sublette, James E., "Aquatic Fauna Inventory of the La Plata and Animas Rivers in New Mexico". Final report, submitted by the Natural Sciences Research Institute, Natural History Museum, Eastern New Mexico Unviersity, Portales, New Mexico, to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Durango, Colorado, undated.
Sublette, James E., "A Survey of the Fishes of the San Juan River Basin, with Particular Reference to the Endangered Species". Final report, submitted by the Natural Sciences Research Institute, Natural History Museum, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico, to the U.S. Department of the Interior,
Bureau of Reclamation, Durango, Colorado, undated.
Whyte, William H., The Last Landscape. New York: Doubleday, 1968.
Wickersham, Kirk, Hansen, Roger P., and Melcher, Albert G.,
A Land Use Decision Methodology for Environmental Control. Prepared for the Office of Research and Monitoring, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., March 1975.
"Zoning Ordinance of the City of Farmington, New Mexico". Adopted by the City Council, April 8, 1969.