Byline: Victor Hull REGIONAL REPORTER
Put North Port or Port Charlotte in the desert instead of a swamp and what do you get?
Rio Rancho, N.M.
On the outskirts of Albuquerque, near the Rio Grande River, Rio Rancho is New Mexico's fastest-growing city. Like the Florida communities of North Port and Port Charlotte that were developed by General Development Corp., Rio Rancho was created in the early 1960s as a mass-merchandised lot sales subdivision.
Today it covers 50 square miles, with 1,485 miles of roads, most of them unpaved and leading nowhere but the open desert. Even so, since 1981, Rio Rancho's population has skyrocketed from 10,131 to …