The City of Española Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted at its Feb. 11 meeting to recommend a plan for a new branch of Del Norte Credit Union at 1720 N Riverside Drive. The recommendation moves the decision to the full city council.

    The plan was previously considered at the Jan. 14 Commission meeting, but was tabled following several concerns from commissioners and area residents about storm water drainage and traffic flow.

    Representing Del Norte Credit Union, engineer Mike Walla presented revised plans for the construction. A water retention pond will collect excess runoff from the parking lot, with a slow-release drain outflowing to Camino Miramontes in the event of extreme storms that overfill the pond. According to Walla, these drainage plans had been approved by Souder, Miller and Associates, the contracted engineers for the city.

    Camino Miramontes resident Alicia Hicks said drainage on the street was already sub-par, with the one drainage at the end of the street half-blocked with dirt. Walla explained that the slow-drain on the pond would not release a significant enough volume of water to exacerbate problems of drainage and pooling on the street.

    Other changes to the original plan included moving the driveway, located on Camino Miramontes, to the east so it was not directly in front of Hicks’s driveway. This change involved modifying the building plan and reducing parking. Hicks asked for additional landscaping features that would reduce the visibility of her property from the parking lot, to which Del Norte would not commit.

    An 8-foot wall is also being built on the west side of the property to protect the residents on the other side from noise and water run-off from the parking lot. An extra passing lane has been added to the drive-through to allow greater access and circulation for emergency vehicles. There were some concerns about the increase in traffic along Camino Miramontes. Joe Slagle, architect for the credit union, expects about 15-20 cars per hour to be visiting the branch.

    According to Planning and Land Use Director Richard Hubler, the company was asked to make eight changes to the plan at the last meeting, and they successfully made all those changes.

    The plan will be considered by the whole city council at its Feb. 23 meeting.

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