Dona Ana County

Location: New Mexico, USA
Project Categories:
Year Started: 2014
Size: 2441600 acres
Partners: PlaceMakers

DPZ served as scenario planning sub-consultants to PlaceMakers for the Dona Ana County Comprehensive Plan update. A series of two-day workshops were held in Anthony, Las Cruces and Hatch, in order to consult with local residents concerning which growth patterns Dona Ana County would aspire to. DPZ developed a scenario planning tool based upon place types, which provided long-term analysis of growth choices. Workshop participants engaged with a preliminary future scenario map in groups, eliciting active and productive discussions concerning the County's future. Feedback provided by participants was incorporated into the final growth scenarios, reflected in the scenario report.

Scenario Planning

The project team presented alternative approaches – scenarios – for getting to goals outlined in six Livability Principles. Those principles, customized in community discussions over the last year, cover interrelated topics under the headings of:

Liveability Principles Key
Each of the test scenarios have components that target the Livability Principles in different ways, and taken together, those preferred components constitute a preferred scenario on which the Comprehensive Plan is based.

The Sector Plan

A key piece of a Comprehensive Plan is the Sector Plan. A Sector Plan determines the preferred growth locations for the County. It guides planning and development decisions made by staff, the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners. The scenario planning process informed how the Sector Plan developed for the County. The Sector Plan also prioritizes infrastructure investment and gives direction to the Capital Improvement Plan which guides the County’s requests for State and Federal funding.

The Sector Plan will identify categories that apply to the entire County based on types of communities or types of natural environment. The Sectors include:

Sector Plan Key
Each of the Growth Sectors provide a framework for different types of communities, so this Plan reflects the work done together at the September workshops. As the County’s residents selected where growth should occur, and the type of growth that is most appropriate, that information is used to assign where the Open and Growth Sectors occur.

The Rating Key

Ratings are calculated across the data that is available in the County for each category as compared to national and state standards and is then adjusted for the population and size of Doña Ana County. Since the County is so diverse in character from north to south, many of the ratings are further analyzed just for the specific region. The symbols are illustrated below.

Rating Key
Because multiple standards and numeric systems are used for the ratings, they are simplified here with a range of excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor.

Place Types

Doña Ana County is a region of great diversity, both culturally and in the natural and built environments. All policies and scenarios established by this Comprehensive Plan process are also developed to reflect this richness and diversity. Place Types analysis assures policies are developed for all of the places within the region.

Most of the unincorporated county is composed of diverse colonias. They are each unique in size, character, age, and amenities. For the purposes of this analysis they are divided into different Place Types depending on their scale and layout. The Place Types used are not specific to a type of incorporation but a scale of development. For example, although Anthony is an incorporated City, its scale is a Town; although La Mesa is a colonia, its character and scale is a village, and so on.

Place Types Key
Additional Types are further explained in the full report.
City Center
City Centers exist in Central Doña Ana County. Economic opportunity is high, but so is the cost of living.
City Neighborhood
City Neighborhoods exist in Central Doña Ana County. Economic opportunity is moderately high, and cost of living is lower than it is in the City Center.
Towns exist in the central and southern parts of the county. Economic opportunity and cost of living are fair.
Villages exist all over the county. Economic opportunity and cost of living are low, but sense of community remains fair.
Small Villages exist in the central and northern parts of the county. Economic opportunity and cost of living are low, but sense of community remains fair
Rural Subdivisions exist all over the county. Economic opportunity is fair, but sense of community is low.
Farms exist all over the county. Economic opportunities are very low.

Growth Scenarios

Future conditions may follow any number of potential paths. Regional policies assist in directing growth, affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. In order to determine which policies and actions are required and to tailor them to the diversity of conditions in Doña Ana County, growth conditions are simulated and evaluated.

The communities will determine a preferred growth scenario, tailored to their input. While it looks like you could simply pick the highest-scoring scenario, community preference will weight the more important Livability Principles in each planning area, and this will shape the regional scenario.

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