Justina Trujillo joined the City of Española’s Planning and Land Use Office as its newest code compliance officer. Trujillo started two weeks ago.
Planning and Land Use Director Richard Hubler spoke eagerly about the new hire.
“We are very excited to have her on board. We had a number of good applicants for the job and she absolutely stood out, because of her professionalism, demeanor, and her capacity to work well with our new systems, the technology-based stuff,” Hubler said.
Trujillo is originally from Abiquiú, where she still resides. She graduated from Española Valley High School and is pursuing pre-professional medical studies at UNM Los Alamos.
She was involved with administering the municipal teen court throughout high school and made connections with city staff during that time. She also served two years in the New Mexico National Guard.
Trujillo describes her job as primarily keeping people safe with regards to land use issues.
“My job is to just enforce code and keep people safe as far as pieces of land go,” she said. “We’ve got to keep people on track with their weeds, especially because they can be a giant fire hazard.
“We want to make sure that roads are clear, not being obstructed so that, you know, emergency services can get through if they need to.
“And just making sure that properties are built correctly for the safety of the owners and the safety of the people around them, if there’s people around them, as well as making sure that properties don’t get put down on electric lines or sewer lines, water lines, anything that can cause a serious problem.”
Trujillo comes from a family that values land and she understands that some people can balk at being told what to do with their property.
“I think what makes it easier for me is just, I grew up with a grandparent that was like, ‘Hey, nobody’s going to tell me what I have to do with my land.’ And that’s just like, the Northern New Mexico culture, it’s just kind of how everybody is. Nobody wants to be told what they have to do,” she said.
Despite being eminently pleasant and understanding, Trujillo was hired to enforce code, and she has the teeth to do it.
“Sometimes you have to have that little piece of opinion and, you know, say something like, ‘Well, I understand where you’re coming from, but per safety precautions, and other regulations, we gotta keep you, your neighbors and the city safe,’” she said. “So, you know, you just have to be able to kind of give good reasoning on why they need to do what they need to do.”
She said she’s glad for the opportunity to explore the city more and be of service to city residents.
“I think I’m looking forward to getting to know the city a little bit better,” Trujillo said. “I do know a lot of it, but this is kind of more getting into the nooks and crannies and kind of seeing everything around. Now I want to be able to help people clean their stuff up and just continuously keep the city cleaner.”