Business Section

February 2000

Editorial - In response to the January 27, 2000 article "Deadline Looms on Illegal Housing

I wanted to correct a few misconceptions with respect to "non-conforming use" residences. Several times in our illustrious history Albuquerque has undergone severe housing shortages for railroad workers, base employees, and students. In a patriotic fit to assist the City with unparalleled post World War II population growth, Albuquerqueans opened their homes to their new neighbors by converting their garages, adding an additional building, or splitting their residences.

When the City adopted a zoning code in the late 50's the only a few classifications were made for residential, none that directly endorsed these new hybrid units.

There are two major misconceptions - 1. that these are mother-in-law quarters -

typically a mothers in law quarter is a room with a bathroom - no kitchen - which is legal in R-1 Zoning. Most of these non-confirming use properties are actually additional full residential units. 2. the second misconception is that a non-confirming use provides affordable housing - our market research shows that affordable housing is not provided in these units, but it does allow for a more income integrated community.

The solution? The City needs to develop a database of these residences and contract out for an impact study for making these uses "conforming" through rezoning, disallow these units by requiring the owners to convert these units back to houses, or extend the cur

rent non-conforming uses for another 40 years (it need to be a period longer than the typical residential mortgage)-