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Las Cruces City Council Approves New Downtown Codes

Las Cruces City Council approved a new Downtown Development by a vote of 6-0.

Las Cruces City Council passed a new “form-based code” for the downtown area that focuses more on the look of buildings in hopes of creating a mixed-use area. City Councilor Greg Smith says it aims to create a destination are in the city.

“From the standpoint of how do you make something integrate,” Smith said. “That is an exciting, vibrant part of the downtown without it then getting so bogged down with how it has to fit in. So, the form- based code as I mentioned in the council meeting, is more restrictive in some ways, hey it’s got to find of fit in, you want it to be part of that texture of the downtown, but on the other hand we’re relaxing the parking requirements, some of the other requirements.”

Timothy Pitts, interim planning and neighborhood services administrator for Las Cruces says it makes development more predictable.

“Upfront we tell you what you can and can’t do,” Pitts said. “And so in your original design you can design knowing what the restrictions are, knowing what kind of variability are you allowed.”

Pitts says the new code will help the downtown be more walk able.

“The streets, Main St. and more importantly Church St. and Water St.,” Pitts said. “Become a little bit more pedestrian friendly, become easier to negotiate as a pedestrian.”

City Councilor Greg Smith says he hopes the new codes will make it easier for people to develop mixed-use property in the downtown.

“So that people have a greater opportunity to do some of those exciting interesting and historic-preservation oriented types of things downtown,” Smith said. “Which we think will help our downtown be more vibrant, be more of a destination, be more fun, and be that place where people enjoy going, and seeing people do things.”

This new code replaces the Central Business District and Main Street Plaza Overlay Zone.

Samantha Sonner was a multimedia reporter for KRWG- TV/FM.