Ranchos dollar store OKed by county planning commission

By Cody Hooks
chooks@taosnews.com
Posted 9/13/18

The Taos County Planning Commission voted Wednesday night (Sept. 12) to approve a permit for a Family Dollar store in Ranchos de Taos.

A Texas-based developer now has the approval needed to build …

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Ranchos dollar store OKed by county planning commission

Posted

This story was updated Thursday (Sept. 20) at 1:30 p.m. to reflect the version that appeared in print this week.

Dollar stores are often controversial projects in Taos, but despite a year of opposition to a proposed development in Ranchos de Taos, another dollar store will soon be built in the community.

The Family Dollar in Ranchos would bring the total number of dollar stores in the Taos area to four.

The Taos County Planning Commission voted Sept. 12 to approve the permit for a Texas-based developer to build an 8,400-square-foot Family Dollar at 1800 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, where the Taos RV Park is located. The permit still requires approval from the Taos County Commission before the store can be built.

Several neighbors spoke against the dollar store Wednesday, noting the sometimes heavy and confusing traffic in the area around the intersection of State Road 68 and State Road 518 in Ranchos de Taos, which they argue will be worsened by the dollar store.

The developer hired a traffic engineer who studied the part of State Road 68 where the store will be built. The engineer, Timothy Simmons of Civil Transformations, and planning commissioners roundly acknowledged that traffic in the area can be hectic. Simmons said he observed several "if not illegal, perhaps improper left-hand turns." Simmons added, "I did not see a lot of measures that could be taken" to improve the flow of traffic.

"Someone will die," David Maes, president of the Ranchos Neighborhood Association, said of the traffic around the approved dollar store.

Still, several planning commissioners admitted that the state Department of Transportation, not Taos County, is responsible for making that area safer. The new dollar store is near an already established stop for the Blue Buses. It is also about a half-mile from an existing Dollar General store and less than 2 miles from a Dollar Tree store.

The commission voted 3-2 to approve the application. Commissioners Eugene Sanchez and Bill Thomas voted against the measure, but the majority -- commissioners John Durham, William Macdonald and Mary Mascareñas -- voted to approve the special use permit.

Alabama-based construction firm Triple C Development initiated the proposed Family Dollar in Ranchos. Their share in the project was bought out by another out-of-state company, 7B Building and Development, according to a 2017 interview with CEO Chad Merchant. His business is based in Lubbock, Texas and has built about 50 dollar stores.

According to the Taos County planning department, an application to build a dollar store in El Prado near a storage unit facility has been submitted to the county. The application was deemed incomplete, so engineer Alex Abeyta, who worked on the Ranchos dollar store proposal, is addressing those issues before resubmitting the application.

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