Albuquerque, New Mexico , United States
May 13, 2016 03:41am
|Info||Councilor Benton came into Albuquerque in 1976 and has since resided within District 3. He loves the district's uniqueness, due in part to its diverse cultures, history and centralized location near public transit. He considers it to generally have a desirable character of well-built older houses and apartments, mature parks and landscape, and walkable neighborhood commercial services. He believes that this character should be protected and enhanced, and that it must remain available to persons of low and medium incomes. |
Councilor Benton is a licensed New Mexico architect and also received his contractor’s license to design and build homes. In 1991, he began his own architecture practice that focuses on libraries, senior and community centers, schools, and housing, using sustainable design and public participation in the design process. He is also a LEED (Leaders in Energy and Environmental Design) certified designer and has served as President of American Institute of Architects (AIA) New Mexico. Councilor Benton is a member of the Urban Design Forum, Public Library Association, the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, the United States Green Building Council, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He volunteers with UNM’s Architecture program and the Design and Planning Assistance Center and had been a Big Brother for eight years. He is married and has a stepdaughter who is a community planner and a stepson who is a student. He enjoys listening to live music, bicycling, and hiking in the Bosque, foothills and mountains of Albuquerque.
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Aims & Accomplishments
Councilor Benton considers his District's key issues to be transportation, economic development, and housing. He will work to improve the safety and quality of the area's streets for walking, biking, and the use of public transit. He does not support continuing to design Albuquerque around a perceived need to accomodate more and more cars.
Besides improved educational opportunities, he believes the best hope for economic development in District 3 is the redevelopment and revitalization of older and rundown commercial areas. That will require public/private partnerships to overcome outdated zoning regulations and to regain public trust in the planning process. Mixed-use, site-specific, transit-oriented corridor zoning needs to be be integrated with existing sector plans via a legitimate public process with elected neighborhood representatives. Councilor Benton also believes that housing in such mixed use developments, as well as other infill sites, should be mixed-income, requiring public investment and perhaps regulatory changes to keep them affordable for all working people.
Goals and Objectives for 2007:
Legislation: green building codes, pedestrian-friendly street design, zoning issues, form-based zoning code, demolition restrictions and preservation;
CIP Projects: Identify and complete capital improvement projects around the district – streetscaping, pedestrian improvements, bicycle facilities, sidewalk infill, traffic calming, equipping neighborhood facilities, improve Downtown alleys;
Work with the Administration to implement major projects: Downtown Events Center, Transportation Planning/Modern Streetcar, Santa Fe Rail Yards redevelopment;
Examine the effectiveness of the ¼ Cent for Public Safety Tax.
The following pieces of legislation are bills that I sponsored, co-sponsored, or worked to help pass.
Designating the El Vado Motel as a City Landmark: Preserves an historic structure of cultural and architectural significance.
Minimum Wage Increase: Establishes minimum wages for employees that are higher than those set by the Federal government, which haven’t changed since 1996.
Old Town Outdoor Liquor Sales: Allows for the sale of alcoholic beverages outdoors at establishments in Old Town; has been orderly, well-received, and beneficial to the environment in Old Town for tourists and residents alike.
Workforce Housing Opportunity Act: Establishes a trust fund to support and enhance the creation of affordable housing in areas where land and home prices are skyrocketing; will be a question for voters on 2007 G.O. Bond ballot.
Storm Drain Renovation and Rehabilitation: Following a violent and destructive summer monsoon season, called for the City and the Water Utility Authority to work together to renovate and rehabilitate old storm drainage infrastructure; engineering firms have been hired to assess systems and make recommendations for priority improvements.
3% for Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Projects: Increases the original 1% Capital Improvements Set-Aside to 3% and expanded the scope of the legislation to include funding for renewable energy projects for City facilities.
Introduction of Hands-free Cell Phone Bill: Too many accidents and near-accidents occur because of distracted drivers who are on cell phones; will impose a penalty and make it unlawful for drivers to use a hand-held cellular phone while driving unless making an emergency call to 911.
These projects were started and/or completed in the past year using money appropriated from the District 3 Council Neighborhood Set-Aside fund.
Planning processes: Barelas Sector Development Plan Update, South Yale Sector Development Plan, Amy Biehl High School/downtown recreational spaces, West Central Redevelopment
South Broadway Library Signs and Banners
East Downtown (EDO) Neighborhood Identification Banners
Renovation of Tom Cooper Park on the West Side
Sidewalks for the School on Wheels in the South Valley
Silver Hill neighborhood streetscaping using low-water-use grass.