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Residents share their thoughts about land

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By Kirsten Laskey

The Department of Energy transferred slightly more than eight acres of land located off Trinity Drive to Los Alamos County this year. The land formerly held the Los Alamos Site Office.
Previously, the county had acquired a four acre parcel from DOE at the same location, bringing the total to 12.9 acres. The question the county is facing is what should be done with the land?
To begin to answer that question, the county is hosting two public listening sessions –— the first one was held Wednesday in Los Alamos and the second will be held at 6 p.m. today at the White Rock Town Hall.
There was a small turnout to the Wednesday night meeting. About 10 people attended and five people stepped up to the podium. One person e-mailed comments to Gary Leikness, the project leader.
Stanley W. Hall said he had some concerns regarding any changes to traffic, particularly with Los Alamos Medical Center being located near the site.
Wally Vette, Los Alamos Medical Center CEO, said the hospital is interested about the traffic density of the area and how the property will be used. He also said this could be an opportunity to re-align and improve Trinity Drive.
“I see this as a diamond in the rough,” Vette said.
Resident Ron Wilkins suggested possibly looking into affordable housing for students or graduate students at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Joe Schaumberg offered his idea of developing the area into a park to county staff while his wife, Mathilde, said she had some concerns with any potential housing being built right on top of existing homes.
Bohn reminded the audience that the council will discuss this issue during their Oct. 19 meeting and encouraged them to attend the meeting.
“We’re just here tonight to listen to your ideas and thoughts of how to use the land in the future,” County Administrator Tony Mortillaro told the audience Wednesday night.
Community Development Department Director Rick Bohn asked Mortillaro if there was any reason a contractor could not come in and develop the property.
Mortillaro said other than the land not being zoned, there wasn’t any other reason. Although it has been previously owned by the DOE, Mortillaro said there was nothing on the land that would make it contaminated. There was just a small, underground tank, but Mortillaro said it was up to New Mexico environmental standards and that the state Environmental Department concurred with the land transfer.
A number of things could be done with the site, Mortillaro said. It could be zoned as residential, be used for commercial space or zoned as mixed use.
“There’s a lot of flexibility in how the site is utilized,” he said.
Bohn said the county was in the very beginning stages of determining what to do with the site but he encouraged people to give their input.
For more information, visit www.losalamosnm.us/projects/cdd/Pages/LASOSITERE-USE.aspx.