The vacation of a section of a street right of way on Ruidoso's southwest side is on hold. While the village's Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the vacation in August, the village council had some concerns about a fire hydrant on Alhambra Drive.
Lot owner Jim Bradford wanted to consolidate the dead-end street with his adjacent residential lot.
Village Councilor Denise Dean noted another nearby property owner, Charles Scruggs, had written a letter in opposition to the vacation request.
"He has three large lots that are just a little bit south of this proposed vacation," Dean noted of Scruggs. "In his letter, he is opposed to this because 'the only water hydrant within 500 feet of my home is at the back of the section of this street.' It will affect his insurance rate if this homeowner is granted this vacation because the homeowner has decided to take this water hydrant off this property with the vacation. He wants it off his property. So by giving him the vacation to this property, he'll own it.
"So I think that's unreasonable with the kind of situation we are with the drought and our fire hazard and everything else. Even though this is the only gentleman we've heard from, I think it would be crazy for us to affect his insurance rate by taking this fire hydrant out."
Village Manager Debi Lee said the potential loss of the hydrant is an issue.
"The next closest fire hydrant is, as the crow flies, approximately 500 feet." But Lee said the terrain
"Well, what is your recommendation then?" Council Jim Stoddard asked Lee.
"This is a tough one," Lee responded. "Clearly I want the gentleman to build his house but I think we need to address the fire hydrant."
Surveyor Steve Sandoval, representing Bradford, said he understood that the fire hydrant did not work.
Lee said there was not a plan to replace the fire hydrant at the location.
"So where does this put Mr. Scruggs with this because again his insurance is based on him being a certain distance from a fire hydrant?" Dean asked.
Lee said the fire department is aware there are areas of the village that do not have adequate fire fighting resources.
"And as a result they have the ability to bring water supplies," Lee said. "The future plan, I don't have a date, when there plans to be a line in here. You're looking at significant costs to run a line and another fire hydrant. One of the options could be to place a water tank up there."
Assistant Fire Chief Harlan Vincent said a new hydrant would cost about $2,500. Running a new water line could be expensive because the area has a lot of rock.
Sandoval said the village will charge more than $12,000 to vacate the piece of dead-end road and sell it to Bradford.
"The landowner will pay that cost," Sandoval. "Perhaps that money could be earmarked towards moving the fire hydrant to the front of both properties. It would be a benefit to move the fire hydrant closer."
Sandoval also said a new line would not be necessary, just a relocation of a fire hydrant.
Lee recommended the council take no action on the vacation request until a solution is determined. The council postponed a decision until their Oct. 30 meeting.