Court OKs Lesbian Homes Near Pecos
By PHAEDRA HAYWOOD | The New Mexican
A four-year battle over a controversial Pecos-area retirement development for lesbians ended last week when the New Mexico Supreme Court refused to hear Los Ruederos Neighborhood Association's petition appealing the approval of the subdivision....
McGowan -- a retired investment banker from Minnesota who marketed her development as a place for lesbians to retire -- faced resistance from longtime locals opposed to the project after she bought the 157-acre property three miles northeast of Pecos in 1999.
In 2000, the San Miguel County Planning and Zoning Commission denied her first two applications to develop the property, and a group of neighboring residents formed Los Ruederos Neighborhood Association to formally fight the development.
Her preliminary plan was finally approved in 2001, but the neighborhood association filed its first appeal of the approval in May 2002 on the basis of water availability. The association said water availability was its main objection to the development but it also cited the possibility of increased property taxes, traffic and light pollution.
After paying for a hydrology study to prove the potential development had sufficient water, dropping a guest ranch from the plan and reducing the number of lots from 24 to 19 -- McGowan got final approval for the development in November.
A state District Court dismissed the neighborhood association's appeal a few days later.
But the neighborhood association -- which raised money for legal fees by selling baked goods around town -- appealed again a month later, charging the development violated the fair-housing act by marketing primarily to retirement-age lesbians.
That appeal was denied by the District Court in October....