Court rejects challenge to gay retirement subdivision

BY admin

January 08 2004 12:00 AM ET

A challenge by neighbors to a subdivision catering to retirement-age gays and lesbians has been rejected by the New Mexico supreme court. The court on December 29 denied a request from Los Ruederos Neighborhood Association to hear an appeal of the decision by the San Miguel County
Commission to allow the proposed Birds of a Feather Resort Community to proceed. The state court of appeals turned down a similar request by the neighborhood association in mid December. A state district court earlier upheld the county commission's approval of the 18-home subdivision.

Los Ruederos member Dolly Vigil said she was surprised by the supreme court's decision. Vigil's group alleged that developer Bonnie McGowan initially marketed the subdivision to women only in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. McGowan has said the subdivision was never exclusively for women. McGowan said Tuesday she was elated by the court's decision not to hear the case. "I've been jumping up and down with joy since I heard," she said. "I'm very happy." Vigil said she did not know what her opponents' next step would be, adding that she was discouraged more people didn't join in fighting opposition to the subdivision.

McGowan said six of the 18 lots have been purchased. Owners have three years to build a home on their lot. "I don't want people buying lots and sitting on them for 10 years," McGowan said. "I want to create a community." Her preliminary plan for the subdivision was approved in 2001, and she received final approval in November 2002.

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