Christina Ainsworth, AICP, CBO
Providing basic infrastructure, maintenance and protection of the county's resources are the Community Development Department’s top priorities. They are also responsible for the Doña Ana County Comprehensive Plan “Plan 2040”, the Unified Development Code (UDC), the County Map Atlas, GIS, and Rural Addressing. Public meetings, including the Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z) and the Board of County Commission (BOCC) 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. White Sands, New Mexico State University and Space Port America are three of the top features within the county.
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 this time the county was urbanized, with a population of 135,510 and an economy based in service and retail. The population increased by 22.5% over a 15-year time period from 2000 (174,690) to 2015 (213,963). This population growth has occurred in and around the city of Las Cruces, and in the southern part of the county, which is driven by retirees and student populations. By the year 2040, the population of Doña Ana County is estimated to be nearly 300,000.
The residents of the county value the variety and character of their communities, the multi-cultural heritage, and the pathways that bring people together. They treasure the mountains, desert and want to live in vibrant communities that are safe, promote health, and offer expanded choices in housing and transportation. The desire to maintain the unique qualities of the region and to create a better future for all are most important to the residents. (Excerpts from vision statement in Plan 2040).