Saddleback subdivision once again approved

By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
After approving then withdrawing approval, the Quay County Commission again has approved the Saddleback Subdivision east of Tucumcari.
The 23-acre, four-lot subdivision was revoked on May 13 after being approved by a unanimous vote on Jan. 14.
The new and latest approval was granted on June 10, with Commissioner Brad Bryant abstaining. Bryant abstained, he said, to avoid any appearance of impropriety. He said he rents space in the Tucumcari General Insurance building, which is owned by C.J. Wiegel, one of the group that plans to develop the Saddleback property. Bryant said, however, he has been employed by the Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal insurance society, since 1993, and not by Wiegel.
Christina Fleming, who with her husband Drake Swenson, operates a farm on land next to the Saddleback property, again challenged the subdivision at the June 10 meeting.  Fleming and Swenson filed suit to block the subdivision after commissioners approved it in January. They were ready to withdraw the suit, however, after the subdivision was rejected.
Since a judge has not signed the withdrawal of the suit, Fleming said, their legal options remain open.
At the June 10 meeting, Fleming read a statement to the commission in which she said Bryant should not vote because his employment in Wiegel’s insurance building constituted a conflict of interest. She also said that contrary to advice commissioners had no choice but to vote in favor of the subdivision, the commissioners had a duty to make sure the county complies with the county’s own plan.
“The subdivision may meet the criteria as defined by the ordinance but it does not serve the general welfare or greater good of the citizens of the neighborhood or Quay County,” she said. Further, she said, the subdivision is unlikely to protect “our safety, property values, scenic vistas, agricultural lifestyles or in any way preserve the agricultural land of Quay County.”
Fleming said her main concern was the lots are  unrestricted, meaning that there are no restrictions on the kind of housing that can be built on the property.
The Saddleback subdivision was identified as a Type 3 subdivision, described in the county’s subdivision ordinance as “any subdivision containing not more than 24 parcels any one of which is less than 10 acres in size.”

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