Sustainable Development Testing Site Act

AN ACT
RELATING TO THE CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES; ENACTING
THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TESTING SITE ACT; PROVIDING FOR
THE APPROVAL OF AREAS TO BE USED FOR NONINDUSTRIAL RESEARCH
AND TESTING DESIGNED TO REDUCE THE CONSUMPTION OF AND
DEPENDENCE ON NATURAL RESOURCES BY RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT;
PROVIDING THAT SPECIFIED COUNTY CODES, ORDINANCES, RULES AND
PERMITS ARE NOT APPLICABLE TO CERTAIN RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
WITHIN AN APPROVED AREA.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
Section 1. SHORT TITLE.–This act may be cited as the
“Sustainable Development Testing Site Act”.
Section 2. DEFINITIONS.–As used in the Sustainable
Development Testing Site Act:
A. “permittee” means a person who holds a testing
site permit;
B. “planning commission” means a county planning
commission appointed pursuant to Section 4-57-1 NMSA 1978;
provided that, if no county planning commission has been
appointed pursuant to that section, “planning commission”
means the board of county commissioners;
C. “sustainable development” means a live-in
environment composed of structures and systems that inherently
produce utilities and life-support systems free of existing
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conventional grids and disposal systems. “Sustainable
development” includes:
(1) the inherent provision of on-site energy
needs via renewable resources;
(2) the inherent provision of water needs
while minimizing the withdrawals from ground water and surface
water systems in accordance with state water law and the rules
and policies of the state engineer;
(3) the inherent provision of sewage
treatment needs with zero discharge;
(4) the reuse of materials discarded by
modern society; and
(5) the development of organic foods and
fuel;
D. “sustainable development research” means
activities conducted at a sustainable development testing site
that test ideas, concepts or inventions designed to lead
ultimately to sustainable development;
E. “sustainable development testing site” means an
area that is:
(1) two acres or less in size;
(2) situated wholly outside the planning and
platting jurisdiction of a municipality; and
(3) subject to a testing site permit and
existing federal laws and regulations; and
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F. “testing site permit” means a permit, issued by
a planning commission, that designates an area as a
sustainable development testing site and specifies:
(1) the sustainable development research
that can be conducted within the site by the permittee; and
(2) the county codes, ordinances, rules or
permits that are not applicable to the permittee and the
research.
Section 3. APPLICATION FOR TESTING SITE PERMIT–
EVALUATION–NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING.–
A. A person desiring a testing site permit shall
submit an application to the planning commission for the
county in which the proposed sustainable development testing
site is located. The application shall include:
(1) a detailed description of the
sustainable development research that will be conducted on the
sustainable development testing site, including an explanation
of the ideas, concepts and inventions that will be tested;
(2) a schematic layout of the sustainable
development testing site;
(3) the number of inhabitants and employees
that are expected to occupy the sustainable development
testing site;
(4) a water budget detailing the anticipated
indoor and outdoor water use for the sustainable development
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testing site;
(5) an assessment of the county codes,
ordinances, rules or permits relating to construction or
building requirements, occupancy, zoning or subdivisions that
are not practicable for the specific sustainable development
testing site and that may inhibit the proposed sustainable
development research and an explanation of how the sustainable
development testing site will not be damaged if the proposed
sustainable development research at the site is allowed;
(6) an application fee, set by the planning
commission, equal to the estimated costs of evaluating the
application, holding the public hearing and administering the
permit;
(7) other information as may be required by
rules adopted pursuant to Section 8 of the Sustainable
Development Testing Site Act or by rule of the planning
commission or ordinance of the county; and
(8) copies of all required state permits,
including the approval of the wastewater treatment and
disposal technology on an experimental basis.
B. Upon receipt of a complete application, the
planning commission shall:
(1) forward a copy of the application to the
office of the state engineer and to the department of
environment;
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application; and
(2) set a date for a public hearing on the
(3) publish in a newspaper of general
circulation in the county an announcement of its receipt of
the application, a notice of the public hearing and
information concerning where an interested person can obtain a
copy of the application.
C. The department of environment and the office of
the state engineer shall, prior to the hearing, evaluate the
application and the proposed sustainable development research
to be performed at the proposed sustainable development
testing site and submit comments to the planning commission.
Section 4. APPLICATION FOR TESTING SITE PERMIT–PUBLIC
HEARING–DECISION.–
A. At the public hearing for a testing site permit
application pursuant to Section 3 of the Sustainable
Development Testing Site Act, the planning commission shall
hear comments from all interested persons, federal, state or
local agencies and, if appropriate, responses from the
applicant.
B. Following the hearing, the planning commission
shall, in writing, make its decision. The planning commission
may issue a testing site permit if:
(1) the state engineer and the department of
environment have determined that the sustainable development
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testing site or sustainable development research proposed to
be conducted at the site will not damage land, water or air
adjacent to the site or will not permanently damage the area
of the site;
(2) no existing county codes, ordinances,
rules or permits, other than those identified in the permit,
will be violated by the proposed sustainable development
research at the sustainable development testing site;
(3) the applicant has complied with rules
adopted pursuant to Section 8 of the Sustainable Development
Testing Site Act;
(4) the proposed sustainable development
research at the sustainable development testing site is
beneficial to sustainable development;
(5) the sustainable development testing site
and proposed sustainable development research are otherwise
beneficial to the county and to the state; and
(6) the applicant has provided a cash bond,
an irrevocable letter of credit or any other surety, including
insurance, satisfactory to the planning commission, in the
amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), to secure
payment for damage caused by the sustainable development
testing site.
C. A testing site permit shall include:
(1) the specific sustainable development
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research that may be conducted at the sustainable development
testing site;
(2) the maximum number of structures that
may be constructed;
(3) the maximum number of individuals that
may inhabit the sustainable development testing site;
(4) the specific county codes, ordinances,
rules and permits relating to construction or building
requirements, occupancy, zoning or subdivisions otherwise
applicable to the permittee and the permittee’s sustainable
development research on the sustainable development testing
site but that do not apply to the permittee and research
conducted pursuant to the permit; and
(5) other restrictions on the sustainable
development testing site and the permittee’s activities as
required by rules adopted pursuant to Section 8 of the
Sustainable Development Testing Site Act or as determined by
the planning commission.
D. For each testing site permit issued, the board
of county commissioners shall designate a nonelected member of
the planning commission or a member of the planning
commission’s staff to monitor the activities conducted
pursuant to the permit, share information with appropriate
state agencies and represent the county in interpreting the
terms and conditions of the permit. The designee or a
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successor shall serve during the life of the permit and any
renewal thereof.
E. The permit shall be filed and recorded in the
records of the county clerk for the county in which the
sustainable development testing site is located in the same
manner as deeds of real estate are filed and recorded.
F. A testing site permit shall be issued for a
term specified by the planning commission, not to exceed five
years, subject to renewal for a second five-year period with
no renewal after the second five-year period.
Section 5. TESTING SITE PERMIT–EFFECT.–As long as a
testing site permit is in effect:
A. the permittee, when conducting sustainable
development research that is specified in the testing site
permit, shall comply with all applicable laws and rules except
those county codes, ordinances, rules or permits specified in
the permit as inapplicable to the permittee and the research;
B. nothing in the Sustainable Development Testing
Site Act or the testing site permit shall be deemed to allow
the permittee to appropriate or otherwise use underground or
surface water without first obtaining a water rights permit or
approval from the state engineer. New appropriations of water
and water rights transfers shall in no event be exempted from
state water law and the rules of the state engineer;
C. employees and agents of the state or the county HB 269 Page 8

may, at all reasonable times, enter the sustainable
development testing site for the purpose of inspecting the
site and activities conducted on the site to ensure that
conditions specified in the testing site permit are being met;
D. the permittee shall annually, no later than the
anniversary date of the testing site permit, submit a report
to the planning commission, the department of environment, the
state engineer, the energy, minerals and natural resources
department and the construction industries division of the
regulation and licensing department describing the sustainable
development research conducted during the preceding twelve
months and summarizing the results. The report shall also
include all required monitoring data for soil, water,
including water quality and quantity, and air. All
information contained in the report and all other information
learned from activities pursuant to the testing site permit
shall be made available to the public;
E. the planning commission may revoke the testing
site permit if it finds, after a public hearing, that:
(1) the permittee has violated a testing
site permit provision, a provision of the Sustainable
Development Testing Site Act or a rule adopted pursuant to
Section 8 of that act; or
(2) the sustainable development testing site
has not complied with a permit provision, ordinance, rule,
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regulatory policy or other associated administrative action of
the state engineer, the department of environment or another
state or federal agency; and
F. a permittee may apply to have a testing site
permit amended by submitting a new application pursuant to
Section 3 of the Sustainable Development Testing Site Act;
provided that, if the planning commission determines that the
proposed amendment will not substantially alter the
sustainable development research or other activities conducted
at the sustainable development testing site, it may waive the
requirements of that section for notice and public hearing.
Section 6. EXPIRATION OF TESTING SITE PERMITS.–Upon
the expiration of the term of a testing site permit or any
renewal thereof:
A. all activities within the area of the
sustainable development testing site shall comply with all
applicable laws, ordinances or rules, including permitting
requirements; and
B. the permittee may provide the wastewater
treatment and disposal technologies to the wastewater
technical advisory committee for review and, if appropriate,
for listing by the department of environment as approved for
use.
Section 7. SALE OF LAND WITHIN A SUSTAINABLE
DEVELOPMENT TESTING SITE.–Land within a sustainable
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development testing site shall not be sold in whole or in part
unless:
A. the subsequent owner obtains a testing site
permit pursuant to the provisions of the Sustainable
Development Testing Site Act; or
B. the owner or subsequent owner enters into an
agreement with the planning commission to bring the land and
improvements within the sustainable development testing site
into compliance with all county codes, ordinances, rules or
permits that would be applicable to the site in the absence of
a testing site permit.
Section 8. PROMULGATION OF RULES.–A county or planning
commission may define a new category of rules applicable to
sustainable development testing sites and promulgate rules for
the category. A county or a planning commission may also
promulgate rules or permit conditions applicable to a specific
sustainable development testing site.
Section 9. EFFECTIVE DATE.–The effective date of the
provisions of this act is July 1, 2007.
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