Aztec hires new community development director

Hannah Grover
Steven Saavedra

FARMINGTON — The city of Aztec has hired a former Farmington employee to work as its community development director.

Steven Saavedra started working at the city of Aztec on Oct. 3 and is reviewing subdivision regulations and zoning.

City Manager Joshua Ray said the city saw "a lot of pretty positive traits" in Saavedra during the interview process. Ray said Saavedra is tasked with reviewing and updating city code and helping spur economic development.

While Saavedra worked in the community development office at the city of Farmington, he has lived in Aztec for the past few years.

"I've always admired and found Aztec very attractive, very quaint," Saavedra said.

He said he likes that Aztec is has trails and sidewalks that make it easy for people to walk around the small city.

Saavedra said he wants to develop a better sense of community. Part of developing that sense will be incorporating public input in the updates of subdivision and zoning regulations.

He said the subdivision and zoning regulations need to be updated because some areas are improperly zoned. For example, Blanco Street and Sabena Street are zoned agricultural. Blanco Street is located in the center of Aztec and Sabena Street is in a residential area on the northeast side of the city. Saavedra said the minimum lot size for the agricultural zoning is five acres and neither Blanco nor Sabena street has five acre lots.

"That could be problematic down the line," Saavedra said.

Saavedra said the improper zoning could cause residents problems with refinancing or if the properties were damaged in a storm or fire.

Another challenge Saavedra will face is spurring economic development within Aztec while maintaining the character of the community.

"It's a balancing act," Saavedra said.

He said he hopes to maintain a historical feel to the city.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.