Response to Statement of Appellate Issues.
I.         STATEMENT OF THE ISSUES

 

 

 

 

 

 


This matter arises as a result of the decision rendered by the Village of Corrales Village Council 
(governing body) on September 16, 2021 to deny the DeHoffs’ preferred application for a  building  
permit.   Appellants  contend  that  the  governing  body  acted  fraudulently,  arbitrarily, 
capriciously,  and  otherwise  not  in  accordance  with  law  when  they  upheld  the  decision  
of  the Planning Administrator, Laurie Stout, to deny the building permit which did not comply with 
the Village Zoning Code. Appellants argue that Ordinance 21-04, an ordinance updating the 
definition of “dwelling unit,” is invalid and thus unenforceable due to an alleged failure to 
include an enacting
clause or mayoral endorsement, an alleged failure to provide public notice, and an alleged conflict


with the Village’s Comprehensive Plan.  Next, Appellants state that the governing body’s decision 
was not supported by substantial evidence because “all of [Appellants’] plan submissions meet the 
language and intent of the Dwelling Unit Definition.”  Appellants also contend that the Planning 
Administrator’s  application  of  the  updated  definition  was  an  ultra  vires  act.    
Additionally, Appellants allege a due process violation, asserting no notice of the right to appeal 
was provided at any step in the Permitting process, and that “none of the Denial letters ever 
established any right for us to appeal [Laurie’s] decisions[.]” [Statement of Issues (SOI), 8].  
Finally, Appellants allege an equal protections violation, stating that another similarly situated 
house plan was  approved while theirs had been denied.
II.        SUMMARY OF THE PROCEEDINGS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On June 15, 2021, the Village of Corrales adopted Ordinance 21-04, which updated the Village Code 
Sections 18-29 and 18-203, the definitional sections of the Land Use Code, Chapter 18 [RP 69-71].
On July 15, 2021, Kenneth and Kathleen DeHoff (Appellants) submitted a construction permit 
application to then-building official, Joseph Benney [RP 2-3].
On July 19, 2021, Mr. DeHoff submitted building plans to the Planning Department which depicted a 
casita on the opposite side of the garage from the primary structure [RP 17]. The casita, according 
to the labels provided by Mr. DeHoff, contained a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.
The Planning Administrator notified Appellants by phone that the plans as submitted did not conform 
with the Village Code, as the plans violated Section 18-33(2)(a) in having more than one “dwelling 
unit” per lot [RP 19].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Appellants e-mailed the Mayor, again submitting a drawing that depicted a home with two dwelling 
units joined by a common wall (the garage).  Mr. DeHoff, in his e-mail, alludes that the drawing 
does not run afoul of the “one dwelling unit per lot” requirement because the casita does not have 
an oven or range [RP 19-20].
On July 20, 2021, Mr. Benney and the Planning Administrator approved the building permit 
application pursuant to the modified floor plans submitted by Appellants because the prior casita 
was attached to the dwelling unit with a common heated hallway [RP 1, RP 22]. On  July  21,  2021,  
the  Planning  Administrator  reached  out  to  Appellants  to  request clarification regarding 
which floor plan submitted by Mr. DeHoff was to be considered.  Her concern arose from the conflict 
between the approved plans [RP 22] and the testimony in the July 20, 2021 Council Meeting given by 
Mrs. DeHoff on the night of the 20th  whereby she stated there would be a “kitchen in the casita” 
and a bedroom for a guest to stay, neither of
which were reflected in the approved floor plan on the afternoon of the 20th  [RP 24-25].

On September 3, 2021, the Village Administrator contacted Appellants and offered to discuss  
options  with  Appellants  regarding  the  building  permit  approval  to  find  other acceptable 
alternatives to the approved building plans [RP 72].
On August 8, 2021, the DeHoffs appealed the building permit application denial of the plan that 
created two dwelling units joined by a common wall.  On September 16, Appellants had a hearing 
before the Village Council to appeal the “denied” building permit applications, seeking  Council  
action  to  invalidate  its  own  Village  Code  [RP  49-64;  Sept  16  Special Council   Meeting]. 
  The   approved   building   permit   was   not   appealed.     The   Planning Administrator 
explained that the original drawing as submitted on July 15 was denied because

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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the casita “touched the garage, it was not a part of the house. You couldn’t go into the primary 
entrance of the house and get to that area.” [TR 17:10-17:16].
The  Village  Council  affirmed  the  Planning  Administrator’s  denial  of  the  original  plan 
submitted on July 15 and issued their Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law on October 12, 2021, 
reasserting that the original plan as submitted constituted two dwelling units pursuant to the 
definitions set forth in Ordinance 21-04, which thereby violated §18-33(2)(a) and the modified 
plans ameliorated that concern [RP 81-83].
On October 19, 2021, Appellants filed the instant appeal.

III.      ARGUMENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Appellants pro se have made several legal arguments that properly fit under the Rule 1-074 standard 
of review of whether a decision was according to law.  The Village therefore sets forth the legal 
rules applicable to their arguments first, then addresses the substance of those arguments below.
A.  Standard of Review

1.   Review of the Administrative Decision.

Administrative decisions are reviewed under an administrative standard of review which limits  
reviewing  courts  to  determining  whether  the  administrative  agency  acted  fraudulently, 
arbitrarily or capriciously, whether the agency's decision is supported by substantial evidence, or 
whether the agency acted in accordance with the law. Paule v. Santa Fe County Bd. of County Com'rs, 
2005-NMSC-021, 138 N.M. 82, 117 P.3d 240. As such, the party seeking to overturn an administrative 
entity's decision must establish that there is no substantial evidence in the record to support the 
decision.   Gallup Westside Development, LLC v. City of Gallup, 2004-NMCA-010, 135 N.M. 30, 84 P.3d 
78.  "The determination of whether a decision is arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable  is  not  a 
 question  separate  and  apart  from  whether  the  decision  is  supported  by

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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substantial evidence." Board of Educ. v. New Mexico State Bd. of Educ., 1975-NMCA-057 ⁋ 2, 88

N.M. 10, 536 P.2d 274 (Ct. App. 1975). “Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence that a 
reasonable mind would find adequate  to support a conclusion.”   Landavazo v. Sanchez, 1990- 
NMSC-114, ¶ 7, 111 N.M. 137.  “Evidence is substantial even if it barely tips the scales in favor 
of the party bearing the burden of proof.”  Id.  “The question is not whether substantial evidence 
exists to support the opposite result, but rather whether such evidence supports the result 
reached.” Las Cruces Prof'l Fire Fighters v. City of Las Cruces, 1997-NMCA-044, ¶ 12, 123 N.M. 329. 
Reviewing courts “resolve[ ] all disputes of [the] facts in favor of the successful party and 
indulge[
] all reasonable inferences in support of the prevailing party.”  Id. Further, reviewing courts 
“will not reweigh the evidence nor substitute our judgment for that of the fact[-]finder.”  Id.  
See also Rule 1-074 NMRA 20201 and NMSA 1978, Section 39-3-1.1(D), stating that
[i]n a proceeding for judicial review of a final decision by an agency, the district court may set 
aside, reverse or remand the final decision if it determines that:

(1)       the agency acted fraudulently, arbitrarily or capriciously;
(2)       the final decision was not supported by substantial evidence; or
(3)       the agency did not act in accordance with law.

Accordingly, a reviewing court will affirm an administrative decision that is supported by 
substantial evidence, is not fraudulent, arbitrary or capricious, and is otherwise according to 
law.
2.   Review for the Validity of Ordinances.

Generally, “the law presumes that public officials perform their duties until the contrary is 
shown.” City of Alamogordo v. McGee, 1958-NMSC-078, 64 N.M. 253, ¶ 15, quoting Herrera v. Zia Land 
Co., 51 N.M. 390, 185 P.2d 975. Moreover, “[t]he application of the presumptions of regularity and 
validity of the acts of officers of a municipal corporation has been uniform and is to be found in 
a multitude of decisions on almost every point presented by the ramification of the law relating  
to  them.”  Id.,  ¶  16,  citing  McQuillan  on  Corporations  (Rev.  Ed.),  633.  “There  is  a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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presumption that a municipal ordinance is valid; and that presumption stands until it is clearly 
established that such ordinance is invalid.” Id. at 17.  “It is fundamental that an ordinance as 
well as a statute is presumed to be valid and that one who attacks it has the burden of coming 
forward with evidence of its invalidity.” City of Lovington v. Hall, 1961-NMSC-021, ⁋ 4, 68 N.M. 
143, 359  P.2d  769  (S.  Ct.  1961).    Case  law  supports  that  public  officials  need  only  
demonstrate substantial compliance with statutory procedures. See Hawthorne v. City of Santa Fe, 88 
N.M. 123, 537 P.2d 1385 (1975), Miles v. Bd. of County Com'rs of County of Sandoval, 1998-NMCA- 
118,  125  N.M.  608,  964  P.2d  169,  and  City  of  Alamogordo  v.  McGee.   Particularly,  if  
“[t]he purpose of the statute has been met…that is all that is required” in order to demonstrate 
substantial compliance. Hawthorne at 8.
3.   Review regarding Ultra Vires actions.

The definition of ultra vires is set forth in Black’s Law Dictionary as “[u]nauthorized; beyond the 
scope of power allowed or granted by a corporate charter or by law.” (11th ed. 2019). As retold in 
New Mexico case law in the context of planning and zoning, “[a] decision of a zoning body which is 
not within the authority granted and does not reasonably relate to the objectives of zoning is 
ultra vires and unenforceable.” Bogan v. Sandoval County Planning & Zoning Comm'n, 1994-NMCA-157, ¶ 
18, 119 N.M. 334, 340, 890 P.2d 395, 401.  “[I]mproper performance of an activity authorized by law 
is, despite its impropriety, still ‘authorized’ within the meaning of the
... governmental function test. An agency's violation of a regulatory statute that requires the 
agency to perform an activity in a certain way cannot render the activity ultra vires, as such a 
conclusion would swallow the ... rule by merging the concepts of negligence and ultra vires.” 
VanderVossen v. City of Espanola, 2001-NMCA-016, ¶ 19, 130 N.M. 287, 293, 24 P.3d 319, 325. 
“Therefore, mere negligence or mistake resulting in a violation of regulatory ordinance…does not 
make [the agency’s] decision an ultra vires act.” Id.  Thus, one must evaluate whether the action 
in question

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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is within the scope of the power granted to the Planning Administrator, and later the Planning and 
Zoning Commission in ratification of the action taken in order to determine its correctness in the 
face of statutory authority and those powers granted by Village ordinance.
4.   Due Process

“The first step in a procedural due process claim is to identify the state-created substantive 
right at stake and determine whether this right triggers procedural due process protections, while 
the second step is to determine how much process is due to avoid an erroneous deprivation[.]” 
Starko, Inc. v. Gallegos, 2006-NMCA-085, ⁋ 18, 140 N.M. 136, 140 P.3d 1085. “Generally, due process 
requires notice and some kind of hearing prior to the state acting to deprive a person of a 
protected interest.” Id. citing Yount v. Millington, 117 N.M. 95 at 101, 869 P.2d 283 at 289.  More 
specifically, “[b]y ‘procedural due process’ [the Court] mean[s] the … element of the due process 
provisions of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments which relates to the requisite characteristics of 
proceedings seeking to effect a deprivation of life, liberty, or property.” Reid v. New Mexico Bd. 
of Examiners of Optometry, 1979-NMSC-005, ¶ 6, 92 N.M. 414, 415–16, 589 P.2d 198, 199–
200.  Procedural due process “may be described as follows: one whom it is sought to deprive of such 
rights must be informed of this fact (that is, he must be given notice of the proceedings against 
him); he must be given an opportunity to defend himself (that is, a hearing); And the proceedings 
looking toward the deprivation must be essentially fair.” Id.  “In other words, a state cannot 
deprive any individual of personal or property rights except after a hearing before a fair and 
impartial tribunal.” Id.   Thus, the appropriate standard of review is first whether there is a 
state-created substantive right at stake, and if so, whether such a right triggers procedural due 
process protection. If such a protected right exists, then one must evaluate whether the facts 
support or refute the claim that such protections were not provided – that is, whether the 
individual denied was provided notice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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of the denial, an opportunity to attend a hearing, and whether the proceedings were “essentially 
fair.”
5.   Equal Protection

To establish an equal protection claim for a class of one a plaintiff must show that he was treated 
 differently  from  others  who  were  similarly  situated  without  a  rational  basis  for  the 
difference  in  treatment.    Village  of  Willowbrook  v.  Olech,  528  U.S.  562,  564  (2000).   
 Here Appellants argue that they were treated differently than another homeowner who allegedly had 
a separate dwelling unit.   Nevertheless, Appellants fail to show that they were similarly 
situated, where the other building permit application made no mention of a kitchen and would not 
have been considered a separate dwelling unit under the new definition enacted in the Village 
Zoning Code.  The differences in Appellants’ application and the one they cite show that they were 
not similarly situated and that there was a rational basis for treating them differently [RP 48, 
57].
B.  The  Village’s  Decision  was  supported  by  substantial  evidence  in  the  form  of  Mrs. 
DeHoff’s testimony that the casita contained a kitchen, making it a second dwelling unit on the 
property, which was prohibited by the Village Code.

Appellants contend that the Planning Administrator acted in a fashion that violated each of the 
provisions set forth in Rule 74; Appellants raise each issue independently.  However, the standard 
as to whether a decision rendered by an agency is arbitrary or capricious, while iterated above, is 
repeated in relevant part here, “[t]he determination of whether a decision is arbitrary, capricious 
 and  unreasonable  is  not  a  question  separate  and  apart  from  whether  the  decision  is 
supported by substantial evidence.” Board of Educ. v. New Mexico State Bd. of Educ. Reviewing 
courts  “resolve[  ]  all  disputes  of  [the]  facts  in  favor  of  the  successful  party  and  
indulge[  ]  all reasonable inferences in support of the prevailing party.”  Las Cruces Prof'l Fire 
Fighters v. City of Las Cruces.  Additionally, reviewing courts “will not reweigh the evidence nor 
substitute our

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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judgment  for  that  of  the  fact[-]finder.”  Id.  Therefore,  we  must  address  Appellants’  
arguments pertaining to Rule 74 review as a whole
Appellants claim that Ordinance 21-04 “cannot apply to our circumstance” [TR 31:19- 31:33]  and  
that  applying  “Section  18[-33  of  the  Corrales  Village  Code]  was  arbitrary  and 
capricious…the casita with a casita kitchen with no appliances which was consistent with the prior 
Section 18” [TR 32:02-32:33].   Curiously, Appellants simultaneously argue that their original plan 
 was  “in  compliance  with  the  Dwelling  Unit  Definition”  and  “compliance  with  the  actual 
language of the Dwelling Unit Definition is not refuted.” [SOI 5].  Appellants mistakenly assert 
that  they  are  in  compliance  with  the  updated  definitions  set  forth  by  Ordinance  21-04, 
 while ignoring the plain language of the definitions.  Moreover, Appellants seem to conflate 
compliance with the superseded ordinance as compliance with the existing, enforceable Zoning Code.  
 The definition at issue is as follows:
Dwelling Unit means a single unit with connected rooms intended, or designed to  be  built,  used,  
rented,  leased,  let  or  hired  out  to  be  occupied,  providing complete  independent  living  
facilities  for  one  or  more  persons,  including permanent  provisions  for  each  and  every  
one  of  the  following  uses:  living, sleeping,  eating,  cooking  and  sanitation.  A  dwelling  
unit  may  be  a  mobile home, modular home, manufactured home or site-built house. It may also be 
an independent  unit  of  an  apartment,  townhouse  or  other  such  multiple-unit residential  
structure,  where  allowed  by  Zoning  Code.  Recreational  vehicles, travel trailers or converted 
buses, whether on wheels or a permanent foundation cannot be a dwelling unit.

§18-29.  Relevant to the discussion at hand is the second definition amended by Ordinance 21-04, 
where  “[k]itchen means  any  room  used,  intended  or  designed  to  be  used  for  cooking  or  
the preparation of food.”  Appellants arrive at the conclusion that the casita identified in the 
original plan is not a “dwelling unit” because the kitchen has no appliances.  The presence of 
appliances, however,  does  not  dictate  whether  a  kitchen  is  considered  a  kitchen  under  
the  Village  Code. Moreover, they seem to fixate unnecessarily on the Planning Administrator’s 
attempt to clarify the

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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area of non-compliance in the original plans.   The Planning Administrator correctly identified – 
based on Appellants’ own plans and labels and the DeHoffs’ own testimony that the casita would 
contain a kitchen – the necessary elements of a second dwelling unit: a bedroom (for living and 
sleeping), bathroom (for sanitation), kitchen (for eating or cooking), and a large unidentified 
area (for additional living space).   Appellants mistakenly believe that “connected rooms” was 
intended to mean “sharing a wall.”   But as the Planning Administrator testified during the 
September 16 hearing, such a literal application leads to absurd results.  “A duplex, a triplex, 
and a fourplex ‘are connected’” and would thus be permitted [TR 8:22-8:30]. However “the Village 
still has ‘one dwelling unit per lot’ as a staple in our comprehensive plan and our ordinances in 
all zones.” [TR 8:34-8:40], referring to §18-33(2)(a), §18-34(2)(a), §18-35(2)(a), and §18-37(3)(a) 
of the Village Code.  Applying the plain meaning of the “dwelling unit” definition to all proposed 
building permit applications would lead to a direct conflict with the Village Comprehensive Plan 
and Village Code. Accordingly, the Planning Administrator interpreted the meaning of “connected 
rooms” as the Council intended in enacting the definitional update with Ordinance 21-04.   This 
interpretation gave  rise  to  what  Appellants  call  “Laurie’s  Connected  Interpretation”  [SOI  
4].    “Where  an ordinance is ambiguous, however, courts must look beyond the plain language.” 
Lantz v. Santa Fe Extraterritorial Zoning Auth., 2004-NMCA-090, ⁋ 7, 136 N.M. 74, 94 P.3d 817, 
citing TBCH, Inc.
v. City of Albuquerque, 117 N.M. 569, 572, 874 P.2d 30, 33. “Because this is an administrative 
appeal,   the   second   applicable   rule   is   that   we   ‘give   persuasive   weight   to   
long-standing administrative constructions of statutes by the agency charged with administering 
them.’” Lantz,
⁋ 7, quoting High Ridge Hinkle Joint Venture v. City of Albuquerque, 1998-NMSC-050, 126 N.M. 413, 
970 P.2d 599. “There are numerous decisions, in zoning and other areas of law, that do not include 
a long-standing requirement, but still allow a reviewing court to give some deference to

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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an agency's interpretation of its own ordinance.” Alba v. Peoples Energy Resources Corp., 2004- 
NMCA-084, ⁋ 22, 136 N.M. 79, 94 P.3d 822.  And “[t]hird, to the extent that multiple sections of 
the ordinance come into play, we consider the relevant sections together ‘so that all parts are 
given effect.’” Lantz, ⁋ 7, citing High Ridge Hinkle, 1998-NMSC-050, ¶ 5. That is to say, the 
Planning Administrator  has  deference  to  apply  the  definition  of  “dwelling  unit”  as  
closely  to  the  plain language of the definition without running afoul of the Village Code, 
thereby creating a uniform interpretation  of  “connected”  rooms.  The  Planning  Administrator,  
moreover,  provided  to  the Appellants this interpretation in writing on July 21 along with a 
detailed explanation regarding the nature of how the casita was not appropriately connected.  The 
Planning Administrator continued to apply this interpretation to each version of the building 
permit plans submitted by Appellants [RP 24-25].
The  record  reflects  that  the  Planning  Administrator’s  action  in  denying  the  original 
building permit application with the casita, kitchen, and bedroom was not arbitrary or capricious, 
and was supported by the Village Code.   Appellants take issue with the denial of the “second 
drawing” submitted, stating that the permit application “with office and  workshop” labels was 
denied  with  “only  the  text  of  Ordinance  21-04  as  the  justification  for  this  Denial.”  
[SOI  3]. Appellants go on to state that “her explanation letter after this assertion concerns our 
comments at the  July  20  Appellee  Council  Meeting  after  the  second  denial  and  are  
irrelevant”  [SOI  4]. Appellants, however, ignore the fact that the comments at the July 20 
meeting were commentary from  Mrs.  DeHoff,  testifying  that  the  area  in  question  was  still 
a  “casita”  with  a  “kitchen”  as identified  by  Mrs.  DeHoff,  and  a  bedroom  [RP  73-74],  
which  conflicted  with  the  “office  and workshop” plans submitted and preliminarily approved by 
the Building Official, Mr. Benney. [RP 1; SOI 3]. Accordingly, substantial evidence supports the 
denial of the initial application.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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C.  The Planning Administrator’s Interpretation of the Ordinance was Appropriate and Denial of the 
Initial Application was in Accordance with Law.

The Record reflects that Ordinance 21-04 was passed June 15, 2021 and was in effect at the time of 
the original permit application [RP 3, dated 7/15/2021; RP 69-70]. Moreover, there is testimony  
from  the  Planning  Administrator  explaining  that  “one  dwelling  unit  per  lot”  is  a 
characteristic  of  the  Village  embedded  in  the  Code  and  Comprehensive  Plan  [TR  
8:34-8:40]. Appellants themselves provide the letter from the Planning Administrator requesting 
clarification for which plan they are proposing to build, as well as explaining the defect in the 
original plan as it  pertains  to  the  Village  Code  [RP  24-25].  Appellants  claim  “The  
village  code  provides  no mechanism to reject a ‘Casita or Apartment or duplex’” while 
simultaneously demonstrating an understanding of the Village Code’s restriction on multiple 
dwelling units per lot (pursuant to §18- 33(2)(a) and others) by stating “[m]y casita/workshop area 
is not a dwelling unit because it is not a single unit[.]” [RP 13, 15].  There is ample evidence 
throughout the Record that Appellants were made  aware  of  the  defect  in  the  original  
building  permit  application,  and  that  both  Planning Administrator and Village Administrator 
attempted to work with Appellants to get an acceptable building permit approved, and in fact such a 
single dwelling unit plan was submitted and approved [RP 72-74].   The Village Council heard the 
Appellants’ appeal of the original building permit application denial on September 16 and upheld 
the Planning Administrator’s decision to deny the permit  based  on  the  evidence  presented  at  
the  hearing  [RP  81-83].   Appellants  have  failed  to demonstrate a lack of substantial 
evidence in the record to support the conclusion reached by either the Planning Administrator or 
the Village Council in upholding the denial of the original permit submission.   An agency is 
entitled to “a reasonable interpretation of its own ordinance.” Filippi
v. Bd. of Cty. Comm’rs of Torrance Cty., 2018-NMCA-050, ⁋ 21, 424 P.3d 658.    The Planning

Administrator therefore  reasonably interpreted and applied the updated definition of “dwelling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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unit” pursuant to Ordinance 21-04 to Appellants’ building permit application, and that there is 
substantial evidence in the record to support this conclusion.
D.  Ordinance  21-04  was  a  Validly  Enacted  Ordinance  and  Complied  with  the  Notice 
Requirements of Due Process.

Appellants  assert  next  that  Ordinance  21-04  was  an  invalid,  unenforceable  ordinance 
because  “[t]he  mayor  never  endorsed  the  Ordinance;”  “[t]here  is  no  enacting  clause  in  
the Ordinance;” that it “is in direct conflict with the Corrales Village Comprehensive Plan” and 
that “[a]ppellees violated NM §3-17-3(A) in failing to state the subject matter…in the Albuquerque 
Journal notice of hearing[.]” [SOI  4].
The record, however, refutes these alleged defects.   Specifically, page 71 contains the Mayoral 
endorsement and Clerk’s certification of Ordinance 21-04; the Ordinance also contains the enacting 
language, “PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED by the Governing Body of the Village of Corrales, New 
Mexico, this 15th  day of June, 2021.” [RP 70].   The language of the Public Notice for the 
adoption of Ordinance 21-04 states “A general summary of the subject matter of  the  Ordinance  is  
contained  in  its  title”  which  reads  that  the  purpose  is  to  “AMEND  THE DEFINITIONS  OF  
ACCESSORY  STRUCTURES,  ACCESSORY  USE,  KITCHEN,  AND
DWELLING UNIT.” [RP 79].  This summary is precisely what Ordinance 21-04 accomplished, rather  than 
 Appellants’  assertion  that  it  was  “a  new  policy  of  outlawing  accessory  dwelling 
units[.]” [SOI 4].
Moreover, as the Planning Administrator testified in the September 16 appeal hearing, the Village  
has  a  long  history  of  promoting  a  one  dwelling  unit  per  lot  [TR  8:30-8:41].  The 
Comprehensive  Plan,  adopted  in  2006,  supports  this  testimony.   Policy  2.3.1  iterates  
that  the “Village should require the residential dwelling unit density to be one-acre net and 
two-acre net to preserve the lifestyle, character, and environment of Corrales.” [Village 
Comprehensive Plan,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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page 25].  Consequently, Ordinance 21-04, as a factual matter, cannot be “in direct conflict with 
the Corrales Village Comprehensive Plan” nor a violation of §3-21-5(A).   “There is a presumption 
that a municipal ordinance is valid; and that presumption stands until it is clearly established 
that such ordinance is invalid.” City of Alamogordo v. McGee, ⁋ 17.  This presumption of validity 
is entwined with the doctrine of substantial compliance.   “Substantial compliance is a doctrine of 
statutory interpretation that examines whether an actor follows a statute sufficiently so as to 
carry out the intent for which the statute was adopted and in a manner that accomplishes the 
reasonable objectives of the statute.”  Stennis v. City of Santa Fe, 2010-NMCA-108, ⁋ 17, 149 N.M. 
92, 244 P.3d 787 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).  Thus, even if Appellants were 
correct that some part of the process had been missed, the presumption is in the favor of the 
Ordinance’s validity, and it is the Appellants’ burden to demonstrate a lack thereof.   They have 
not met this burden and in fact Appellants received all process as required by law.
Appellees respectfully direct the Court to §3-17-3(A), which provides that “[n]otice by publication 
of the title and subject matter of any ordinance proposed for adoption by the governing body  of  
any  municipality  must  take  place  at  least  two  weeks  prior  to  consideration  of  final 
action[.]” Subsection B states that notice “shall be published one time as a legal advertisement in 
a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality.” Lastly, Subsection C dictates that 
“[c]opies of a proposed ordinance shall be available to interested persons during normal and 
regular business hours of the municipal clerk upon request and payment of a reasonable charge 
beginning with the date of publication and continuing to the date of consideration[.]”  Evidence of 
not only substantial compliance, but strict compliance, exists in the actual publication on May 31, 
2021 [RP 79].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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E.  The Decision of  the Planning Administrator  was Within the Scope  of her  Duties as Planning 
Administrator and was therefore not Ultra Vires.

The Planning Administrator has deference, as mentioned above, to reasonably interpret an otherwise 
ambiguous Ordinance.    Appellants state that “her assessment that we are building two dwelling 
units is false” [SOI 8].  The record demonstrates the defect in the original building plan 
submitted to the Planning Department, particularly that the Appellants themselves refer to the 
second dwelling unit as a casita – which by definition is “[a] small house or residence; esp. a 
cabin or  bungalow.  Later  also:  a  residential  style  of  guest  accommodation[.]”  (Oxford  
English Dictionary).   Generally, a planning and zoning authority is granted broad regulatory 
authority. “For the purpose of promoting health, safety, morals or the general welfare, a ... 
municipality ... may regulate and restrict within its jurisdiction the[ ]height, number of stories 
and size of buildings and other structures[.]”  Mechem v. City of Santa Fe, 1981-NMSC-104, ¶ 19, 96 
N.M. 668, 671, 634 P.2d 690, 693.  Nowhere do Appellants show how the Planning Administrator acted 
outside the scope of her duties by applying the Village Zoning Code to their building permit 
application. To the contrary, it was her duty to render a decision on their application which 
complied with the Village Code  and  Comprehensive  Plan  to  uniformly  regulate  the  buildings  
within  the  Village. Appellants’ mere disagreement with her decision does not make it ultra vires.
IV.       CONCLUSION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In concluding, it is worth noting that Appellants are appealing the denial of something they said 
they did not want—a separate dwelling unit.  If indeed they did not want a separate dwelling unit, 
their arguments then lead to the question of what they did want.  If all they wanted was an 
attached room that was not a dwelling unit, the Village approved that application.  So at least two 
alternatives are possible:  Appellants indeed wanted a separate dwelling with a kitchen and other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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aspects of a house, which the Village Zoning Code did not permit; and if they did not, their appeal 
is moot because they now have what they were seeking via the permit issued on July 20, 2021.
For the reasons described above, it is clear—especially when considering undisputed facts with  
deference  to  the  agency  and  all  reasonable  inferences  in  support  of  the  agency—that the 
Governing Body’s decision in this matter is supported within the record by substantial evidence and 
in accordance with the law. For these reasons, this Court should affirm the Governing Body’s ruling 
in this matter.
V.        STATEMENT OF PRECISE RELIEF SOUGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


WHEREFORE, the Village of Corrales respectfully requests that this Court enter an Order dismissing  
these  proceedings  with  prejudice,  affirming  the  Governing  Body’s  decision,  and awarding 
any other relief this Court deems just and proper.