Providing basic infrastructure, maintenance and protection of the county's resources are Planning and Development's top priorities. They are also responsible for the Doña Ana County and Extra-territorial Comprehensive Plans, Land Use and Zoning Ordinances, Subdivision Regulations, the County Map Atlas, GIS, and Rural Addressing. Public meetings, including P&Z ETZ and ETA are also part of their daily activities. Doña Ana County occupies 3,804 square miles in south-central New Mexico, bordering on El Paso County, Texas, and the state of Chihuahua, Mexico as well as Luna, Sierra and Otero Counties in New Mexico. The county is physically diverse, with mountain ranges, valleys, and desert.
The population of Doña Ana County has risen dramatically since 1900. In 1900 the county was an agriculturally based society with a population of 10,187. The market centers were Las Cruces, El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. By 1990 the county was urbanized, with a population of 135,510 and an economy based in service and retail. Rapid population growth has occurred in and around the city of Las Cruces, and in the southern part of the county. The part of the county north of Hill remains primarily rural in nature.
Population growth is expected to continue at a rapid pace over the next 20 years. The average annual rate is projected to be in the 4-6 percent range. This means a 2040 population of more that 300,000 people. The primary areas of growth will be in the Las Cruces metropolitan area and the southern part of Doña Ana County.
The quality of life in the county is characterized by a strong sense of community that is strengthened by a rural lifestyle. Assets of the county identified by residents include: peace and quiet, friendliness of the people, good weather, and the rural setting (Doña Ana County Citizen Participation Technical Report). Increased population and industrial growth may have an impact on this quality of life.