FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The Aztec City Commission has approved a new annexation agreement for 320 acres of land that were erroneously believed to have been made part of the city in 1998.
The Farmington Daily Times reports (http://bit.ly/1gHOtQk) that the city’s staff recently discovered that the 1998 annexation of the property east of downtown was never finalized.
It’s not clear which party was responsible for the error, state and local officials said.
“It never happened, so here we are all these years later officially finalizing the agreement,” said Roshana Moojen, Aztec’s community development director.
City staff discovered that the 1998 annexation hadn’t been formally completed during recent discussions with the New Mexico State Land Office about acquiring a permit allowing an environmental study on 20 acres of property within the annexed area. That property was used for a city landfill that was capped in the late 1980s after three decades of use.
The landfill parcel and another parcel of about 30 acres that also lies within the annexed area are state trust land. The Land Office leases the land for various uses, and the revenue primarily benefits public schools, universities and hospitals.
On Tuesday, city commissioners approved a new annexation agreement with the Land Office that corrects and finalizes the annexation of the property.
With a finalized annexation agreement, the city can now negotiate with the Land Office to develop a planning and zoning agreement.
Before the area is developed, the city plans to complete an environmental analysis of the landfill parcel.
“The city’s interest is in finalizing the environmental study on the historic landfill to ensure there’s no risk to human health,” Moojen said.
The problem with the annexation was a technicality, New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Ray Powell said.