Doña Ana County



What is the ETZ?

The ETZ (Extra-Territorial Zone) is a five-mile buffer zone that extends outward from the Las Cruces city limits into Doña Ana County. It has a population of about 54,000 people and an area of approximately 344 square miles.

Why do we need an ETZ?

State statute made the provision for ETZs so that the governments of large cities and the counties in which the cities reside can work together to manage growth, control urban sprawl and address zoning issues.

Who decides issues related to the ETZ?

Oversight of the ETZ is a joint function of city and county government appointees and representatives. Issues related to zoning and growth go first before the ETZ Commission, whose members comprise residents of the city and county. Decisions of the ETZ Commission can be appealed to the ETZ Authority, whose members comprise city and county elected officials. Decisions of the ETZ Authority can be appealed to the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners, whose members have the final say on all ETZ matters.

Who manages the ETZ?

Both the city and county Planning Departments are heavily involved in managing the ETZ. The city’s Planning Director is Bryan Denmark, whose office is in the City Office Complex at 575 S. Alameda Ave. in Las Cruces. He can be reached at (505) 528-3222. The county’s planning director is Judy Price, whose office is in the Doña Ana County Annex at 430 S. Main St. in Las Cruces. She can be reached at (505) 647-7237.

Why do we need a comprehensive plan (ETZ 20/20) for the ETZ?

As Las Cruces and Doña Ana County both grow, most of the growth is projected to occur in the ETZ, where residents will enjoy reasonably short drives to work, and where land is plentiful and, generally speaking, more affordable than within the city limits. To prepare for that growth, the managers and overseers of the ETZ seek to identify goals, objectives and strategies that will preserve open space, protect the environment and accommodate the most number of people with the least amount of adverse impact on the area’s character and culture.

How can I participate in the ETZ 20/20 initiative?

A series of public meetings and open houses are planned to solicit public input regarding the 20-year planning effort and its goals and strategies. These meetings will be well-publicized and attended by both city and county staff. Written comments also are welcome at city and county Planning Offices, whose addresses are provided above.