Albuquerque neighbors are fed up with ongoing car sales on a dirt lot
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – This is a problem that can arise anywhere there is vacant land. Some residents of northwest Albuquerque said they were fed up with a popular roadside dirt lot being used to sell used cars right next to their homes. Residents say this attracts crime, vandalism and unwanted traffic to their neighborhoods. KRQE News 13 got responses from city and state officials.
Anyone passing Coors and Glenrio in northwest Albuquerque knows that the dirt lot in front of a vacant Pizza Hut is full of used cars for sale. âThere is a little sign that says ‘no parking at all times,’â said a neighbor. When asked if the signs were working, she replied, âNo. “
The makeshift car dealership is not only an eyesore to the neighbors who live next door, it is also illegal. âThey keep saying they’re going to come and clean it up, and they don’t see it as a problem because they don’t listen to what we have to say here in this neighborhood,â said one woman.
Neighbors did not want to walk past the camera, claiming they had had confrontations with people blocking their driveways. KRQE News 13 was first alerted to the issue by a viewer, who said they had sent numerous complaints about this lot to the city to no avail.
âMy parents live in the area and they are fed up with homelessness and crime, and something like that helps,â the viewer wrote. Other neighbors agree.
âPeople actually came and literally used my yard as a toilet,â one woman said. She and other neighbors said traffic increases exponentially on weekends.
Some vendors have had vehicles vandalized in the dirt terrain or tires stolen. In order to avoid leaving vehicles on display overnight, neighbors said vendors would sometimes park used cars in people’s driveways overnight.
Google Street View shows the parking lot is almost empty in 2014, then more used cars for sale in 2016 and 2017. Neighbors say it is especially frustrating on weekends when the used parking lot is full of parked vehicles and people looking to buy them. .
What are we doing about it?
KRQE News 13 contacted the city of Albuquerque, who said the dirt land was in fact owned by the New Mexico Department of Transportation. “It’s within our right of way, and we’ve encountered the city a number of times,” said Kimberly Gallegos, NMDOT spokesperson, District 3.
Gallegos said the city received residential complaints via 311 and informed state officials. âAbout a month ago, we put up ‘no parking’ signs, so these were put up with regard to the city ordinance,â said Gallegos. “But apparently there are still people parking there.”
A man trying to sell some of the used vehicles told KRQE News 13 off camera that this is how he makes a living; he buys used cars, repairs them and resells them in this lot. When asked who owned the lot, the private seller replied that he did not know.
This is part of the problem, according to a Bernalillo County ordinance. The ordinance states that individuals may display a vehicle for sale at their home or business address, and goes on to state: “… a vehicle may be exhibited for sale at another location which meets the provisions of the code. zoning, if permission is obtained from the owner or lessee of such property.
When asked if the NMDOT allowed anyone to sell cars there, Gallegos replied, âNo, we didn’t. Certainly not.
The NMDOT said it would work with law enforcement to help enforce no-parking signs, issue warnings and, if necessary, tickets for parking or sale in a right of way. âWith the help of law enforcement, we should be able to resolve this issue quickly,â Gallegos said.
According to the city of Albuquerque, the owner of a nearby vacant Pizza Hut had to put up a fence for this very reason, to keep used cars from piling up on the lot.
Warnings for consumers
Unwanted traffic is only part of the problem. There are also safety concerns for consumers, anyone who buys a car on dirt ground by the side of the road.
New Mexico Independent Automobile Dealers Association Warns of ‘Limiting’ Person Selling Used Cars on the Sly to Avoid City or State Regulations That Apply to Auto Dealers authorized.
In some cases, the seller may not own the vehicle. Buyers looking for a deal may end up with salvaged title, vehicles with serious hidden mechanical issues, or spoofed mileage.
Someone may unknowingly buy a stolen vehicle and have no recourse without warranty or being able to locate the seller. “Just because you feel like nothing is happening, please know that we have a log of inquiries,” Gallegos explained. âSo we take these calls very seriously. “
Neighbors who spoke to News 13 said they were still waiting for someone to clean it up. âIn fact, clean it up. If you’re really trying to sell a car, go online, everyone’s online.
Gallegos said the NMDOT cannot erect fences or tow vehicles into the earthen terrain. However, she said law enforcement can start issuing tickets and helping enforce âno parkingâ signs.
State and city authorities always encourage people to call 311 if they have problems in their neighborhood. Gallegos said that while it takes time, state and city officials are working to resolve this issue.