120.01    Title

120.02    Authority and jurisdiction

120.03    Purpose

120.04    Definitions

120.05    Requirements

120.06    Administration; enforcement; appeals; fees

120.99    Penalty

120.01 TITLE.

This chapter shall be known as “Regulations for Community Residential Care Facilities of the City of Rio Rancho” and is referred to elsewhere herein as “these regulations.” The City of Rio Rancho shall hereafter be referred to as “the city.”

(Ord. 01-014)


These regulations are created pursuant to enabling legislation and shall govern the licensing of community residential care facilities providing shelter and care for people with special needs in the city. All community residential care facilities are subject to both the specific provisions of this chapter and to appropriate sections relating to “Adult Residential Care Facilities” of the State of New Mexico’s “Requirements for Adult Residential Care Facilities” regulations, Title 7, Chapter 8, Part 2, as applicable, appropriate sections relating to “Residential Care Facilities for Children” regulations, Title 7, Chapter 8, Part 3, as applicable, and other state regulations applicable to facilities categorized herein.

(Ord. 01-014)

120.03 PURPOSE.

These regulations are intended to establish standards and procedures for the licensing of facilities and providers who provide care for people with special needs within the city. These standards and procedures are intended to: establish standards to regulate community residential care facilities in order to promote the highest practicable health, safety, and welfare of individuals residing in such facilities. These regulations will encourage the establishment and maintenance of residential care facilities that provide a humane, safe, and homelike environment for persons who need personal care services and supervision, but who do not need acute care, continuous nursing care, or an intermediate care facility for the mentally handicapped. These regulations shall establish standards for community residential care facilities in providing the appropriate level of care for residents. These regulations shall allow for monitoring of residential care facilities for conformance with these regulations via established procedures to identify circumstances, which could be harmful or dangerous to the health, safety, or welfare of the resident.

(Ord. 01-014)


State regulations definitions are applicable to this chapter, in addition to the following definitions which shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.

CAPACITY. Means the maximum number of persons that a facility has been licensed to accommodate.

COMMUNITY RESIDENTIAL CARE FACILITY. Means any congregate residence, maternity shelter, or building for persons, which provides and whose primary purpose is to provide to the residents, within the facility, either directly or through contract services, programmatic services, room, board, assistance with the activities of daily living, in accordance with the program narrative, and/or general supervision of two or more adults who have difficulty living independently or managing their own affairs. COMMUNITY RESIDENTIAL CARE FACILITY does not include facilities for persons currently in custody of, or recently released by, correctional authorities that are designed to offer an alternative to imprisonment and/or to facilitate ex-offender reintegration into community life, nor does it include facilities for persons who require such services by reason of the effects of alcohol or drug abuse. COMMUNITY RESIDENTIAL CARE FACILITY does include facilities for recovering alcohol or drug abusers.

FACILITY. Means a community residential care facility.

PERMIT. Means a conditional use permit as approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission or an administrative permit as approved by the Department of City Development. Such permit does not make substitution for or create compliance with the requirements of §§ 110.01 et seq.

RESIDENT. Means any individual, excluding relatives of licensee, residing in a residential care facility.

(Ord. 01-014)


(A) All applicants shall satisfy the Department of City Development or the Planning and Zoning Commission that they will meet the following standards:

(1) Prior to occupancy of the facility, the applicant shall obtain any applicable license from the State of New Mexico and consequently any city approval is conditional upon the Department of City Development receiving state confirmation that an appropriate license has been issued or certification that a license is not required by the state.

(2) The facility will provide a planned program of care consisting of full-time programmatic supervision, counseling and/or therapy, and assistance in the development of daily living skills.

(3) The design of the facility will be compatible with the neighborhood within which it is located, including its landscaping and architecture.

(4) The health and safety of the residents will be protected by the physical structure that will be used. Facilities shall satisfy the Department of City Development that they meet all city ordinances and regulations. The facility manager/owner shall seek the review of the city’s Fire Inspector.

(5) The facility operator is encouraged to have a workable, written plan for facilitating good relationships with neighboring residents and businesses, including a method for recording and resolving complaints by neighbors pertaining to the operations of the program. Complaints, efforts to resolve complaints, and the result of such efforts should be recorded.

(6) Every facility operator is encouraged to send complaint procedures to each property owner within 100 feet of the property within 45 days subsequent to approval by the city, to facilitate good neighbor relations.

(7) Notice to neighbors of proposed permissive community residential care facilities is not required; however, it is highly recommended that applicants notify leaders of affected neighborhood associations, nearby businesses, and neighbors.

(8) The Department of City Development or, if applicable, the Planning and Zoning Commission, shall not deny an application for a residential care facility unless there is clear and convincing evidence that such use will be injurious to the adjacent property, the neighborhood, or the city.

(9) Community residential care facilities shall exclude any client who is a threat to others, based on the specific history of the individual, the current behavior of the individual, and/or current illegal uses of a controlled substance by the individual, if said threat cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation.

(10) Community residential care facilities shall not be located in closer proximity, one to another, than a distance of 1,000 feet with up to ten residents and staff, or 1,300 feet, one to another with more than ten residents and staff, measured in any direction from another group home. Additional residents or changes in this distance requirement may be permitted upon application and approval using the reasonable accommodation guidelines contained herein.

(11) The operator of the community residential care facility shall provide relevant information to the Department of Public Safety pertaining to the nature of the facility and the residents, pursuant to the issuance of all applicable permits, for emergency response purposes.

(B) Monitoring of facilities. All permitted facilities shall be subject to the following:

(1) Operators of residential care facilities shall submit annually to the Department of City Development, a current license, an up-to-date program description and an up to date listing of proprietors and board members. Where there are no changes to previously filed documents, a statement to this effect is sufficient. The Department of City Development shall review this documentation along with records of any complaints filed with the city to assure that the program continues to function in accord with city ordinances and the original terms of approval. Review shall occur either at the time of application for state license renewal or upon the anniversary date of approval by the city.

(2) If evidence indicates changes in the facility materially in violation of the original terms of approval, the City Development Department or the Planning and Zoning Commission, whichever is applicable, may terminate the approval. The facility operator may appeal the decision to terminate the approval as per the appeal process set forth herein.

(3) Notwithstanding this section, if the Department of City Development finds clear and convincing evidence that the facility is in violation of the original terms of approval, the Department may take action to enforce the terms of approval at any time after written notification and may initiate criminal enforcement action or seek an injunction to cease operation of the facility.

(Ord. 01-014)


(A) Administrative official. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the City Development Director or his representative shall administer and enforce these regulations, including the inspection of premises and the issuance of permits authorized in this chapter.

(B) Enforcement. By applying for a new permit, or the renewal thereof, the licensee grants the City Development Department the right to enter the premises and inspect the facility, both while the license is being processed and, if licensed, at any time during the licensure period. Inspections subsequent to the initial permit inspection shall be made unannounced and no less frequently than once per year. Failure to allow access to the facility to an authorized representative of the city may result in revocation or suspension of a license, or denial of an initial or renewal application.

(C) The City Development Department may institute any appropriate action or proceeding whenever there is probable cause to believe human health and safety may need to be protected.

(D)(1) Community residential care facilities with a capacity of up to 10 persons (inclusive of any staff residents) shall be added as a permissive use in all residential zone districts (R-1, R-2, R-3, A-R, E-1 and T-Z).

(2) Community residential care facilities with a capacity of 11 to 18 persons (inclusive of any staff residents) shall be added as a conditional use in R-2 and R-3.

(3) Any community residential care facilities with a proposed capacity of more than 18 persons shall be added as a use in the Special Use District.

(E) Reasonable accommodation guidelines. Notwithstanding the above criteria, it is the policy of the city to provide fair access to housing for persons with disabilities and all other FHA-protected persons, including providing reasonable accommodation in the application of its zoning laws pursuant to federal and state law and under the procedures of this chapter.

(1) In making a determination as to whether a requested accommodation is reasonable, it is necessary to consider whether the accommodation:

(a) Would impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the city; or

(b) Would require a fundamental alteration in the nature of a city program.

(2) The following factors may be part of the consideration given in determining reasonable accommodation provisions:

(a) Special needs created by the disability;

(b) Potential benefit that can be accomplished by the requested modification;

(c) Potential impact on surrounding uses;

(d) Physical attributes of the property and structures;

(e) Alternative accommodations which may provide an equivalent level of benefit;

(f) In the case of a determination involving a single-family dwelling, whether the household would be considered a single housekeeping unit if it were not using special services that are required because of the disabilities of the residents.

(3)(a) These factors are designed to elicit the factual information necessary to balance a city’s interests with the need for the housing. It is legitimate for the city to consider the type of neighborhood expressed in its zoning and comprehensive plan designations (irrespective of the type of structure involved or the actual surrounding uses). These considerations will vary depending on whether the request is being made in a single-family, multifamily, or commercial zoning district and can only be based on physical impacts of the proposed use, not the type of resident.

(b) The programs should be considered for requests for reasonable accommodation:

1. Health and public safety;

2. Occupancy standards (number of people per square foot of sleeping area);

3. Exiting;

4. Building permits (house must meet building code standards);

5. Residential neighborhood or zoning district;

6. Residential character of a house (interior and exterior should be consistent with single-family use with sufficient common areas, kitchens and bathrooms);

7. Parking (access to public transportation, off-site parking, nature of disability with respect to likelihood of driving, development of alternative parking plan).

(F) Nonconforming residential care facilities. Residential care facilities operating prior to adoption of this chapter shall have one year within the adoption date of this chapter to register with the city and to comply with the requirements herein. After the one-year grace period, all unregistered and/or non-state-licensed/registered residential care facilities operating within the city shall be in violation of this chapter and shall be subject to the enforcement provisions contained in subsection (B) of this section.

(G) Appeals. An aggrieved party may appeal the final decision of the City Development Department as outlined in Title XV, Land Usage, Chapter 150, General Provisions, Article I, Administration and Enforcement, Section 150.08, Appeals.

(H) Fees. Shall be as established by the Governing Body and on file in the office of the City Clerk.

(Ord. 01-014; Am. Ord. 18-28)

120.99 PENALTY.

(A) Complaint. Any person aggrieved by a violation or apparent violation of this chapter may file a written complaint with the City Development Department, who shall immediately investigate such complaint and take legal action to have the violation penalized and removed, if such violation is found to exist.

(B) Notification. Whenever the City Development Department shall find probable cause to believe violation of any of the provisions of this chapter exists, it shall notify the person responsible for the alleged violation in writing and shall order, where feasible and practical, the necessary correction to be made within a period of 30 days. Violations of this division may subject the permit holder to an immediate suspension pending any hearing on a revocation of the permit.

(C) Penalty. Failure to comply with all the provisions of this chapter, upon conviction, shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $500, or imprisonment in jail for a period of not more than 30 days, or both such fine and imprisonment. Each day that such a violation continues to exist after conviction shall be considered as a separate offense.

(D) Grounds for suspension or revocation of permit. A permit may be suspended or revoked, or an initial application denied, after notification and/or hearing for any one of the following reasons:

(1) Violation of any provision of this chapter, or any state statute or regulation;

(2) Failure to allow city representatives to inspect premises;

(3) Misrepresentation or falsification of any information on application forms or other required documents;

(4) Conviction of a felony or conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude on the part of any person active in the operation of a facility permitted pursuant to this chapter, to include all residents living in an adult residential care facility.

(Ord. 01-014)