Residents in Rio Rancho say a developer has broken his agreement with them in order to make millions off the sale of his land for a Wal-Mart supercenter. Here’s a report from Rio Rancho, “the City of Vision”, where local officials seem to have turned a blind eye to justice: “Here in Rio Rancho, NM, “The city of vision”. The invasion of Wal-Mart seems to be inevitable. Three years ago the “River’s Edge One Neighborhood Association” (REONA) made a deal with a developer named Coughlin regarding his proposed “Mercado” development at Hwy 528 and Corrales Rd. The River’s Edge One group was promised a “Mercado” with stores and shops and outlets, linked together by boardwalks and bridges. Architecturally pleasing and neighborhood friendly. Instead, Mr. Coughlin asked to build a gas station and a fast food venue and he needed bigger signs. To obtain REONA’s approval, a series of negotiations were held with the people of REONA and an agreement was reached. Mr.Coughlin got what he wanted and REONA was guaranteed that there would be no building larger than 65 thousand square feet.Mr. Coughlin’s attorney drew up the agreement, it was signed by all parties, and made a part of the special use zoning for the parcel. A few short years later, Mr. Coughlin gets an offer from Wal-Mart and the very same attorney comes back to the city and says that the document that he drew up is illegal. The City Attorney agrees.More than 100 people attended the City Council
meeting last week. 8 of us spoke. The next hearing on this matter is set for the city council meeting, September 11, 2002. There are still the covenants between Mr. Coughlin and REONA in place, but they can seem pretty fragile when put against the largest retailer in the
The residents added that the city council of Rio Rancho decided to rescind special use requirements limiting buildings to a maximum of 65,000 square feet. This corresponds an agreement between Wal-Mart and developer Coughlin to build a 192,000 square foot Super Center on the 16 acre lot at NM Hwy 528 on the two lane Corrales Road. At the hearing on September 11, it is hoped that the residents who made the agreement in good faith with the developer will come with an attorney and a promise of their own to take the developer and the town to court for breach of contract. In the “City of Vision”, it seems that the blind are leading the blind to favor large corporations over small town homeowners.