TRUCK STOP UPDATE
BCC Issues Final Order Denying Pilot Travel Centers’
Proposed Truck Stop
In a thorough and well-reasoned order filed on August 28, 2018, the Santa Fe County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) denied in part the conceptual-plan application of Pilot Travel Centers, LLC, and Exit 278, LLC, to build a truck stop and other facilities at the intersection of NM Highway 14 and I-25. (Exit 278, LLC, is the local entity that owns the property.)
The 48-page order made final the decision the BCC announced at its May 8, 2018 hearing on the application. Specifically, the BCC denied the part of the application that proposed certain truck-stop uses, but it approved in concept the remaining proposed uses, including: a gas station, convenience store, and three fast-food restaurants. The BCC also approved two additional development phases in the application, including two hotels and a restaurant, all of which would require further submissions and approvals. Currently, there are no specific plans to develop these phases.
The BCC’s decision is based on two primary determinations. First, the proposed “truck stop uses” are not materially similar to any allowed land use. Second, the proposed truck stop is inconsistent with the County’s Sustainable Growth Management Plan and the Community College District Plan.
The BCC found that the term “truck stop” correctly describes Pilot’s proposed “truck terminal.” Because “truck stops vary substantially in scale and the number and types of services provided,” applications for truck stops must be decided on a case-by-case basis, considering the specific uses proposed. Looking at the specific uses proposed by Pilot – a 75-lot tractor-trailer parking area, a truck weigh station, and truck fueling stations – the BCC noted that these uses are distinct from what is typically considered a gas station. It held that as a matter of law, these truck-stop uses are not materially similar to any land use allowed in the Community College District Plan.
The BCC also found that the proposed truck stop is inconsistent with the Sustainable Growth Management Plan (SMGP) and the Community College District Plan. The truck stop, “which would be of generic character and cater primarily to transient interstate truckers, is antithetical to the core values expressed in the SGMP” because nothing about it would be “innovative, unique, historic, or traditional….” It would also violate the SGMP’s mandate that industrial uses should primarily serve the local community. The proposed truck stop would provide services that cater primarily to interstate truckers who have no connection to the community and would not primarily serve the district or the Santa Fe region.
Pilot has 30 days from the date of the final order to appeal. Pilot filed a notice of appeal (NOA) in the District Court in July but the NOA did not meet all the requirements of the applicable rule. The status of Pilot’s appeal is unknown. SFGA will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates.
THANK YOU! Thank you to those who have supported the effort to preserve and protect the gateway to Santa Fe for the health, safety and enjoyment of all. And a BIG thank you to our newest member organization, the Santa Fe Gateway Alliance (SFGA), for taking the elad on this and making it happen!
UPDATE: SANDOVAL COUNTY OIL AND GAS ORDINANCE
GOOD NEWS...the Sandoval County Commission voted against moving both the Heil and the Stoddard ordinance forward at the Dec. 14th, 2017 commission meeting! It was a victory for all the groups opposed to these weak attempts for a new county ordinance.
The meeting room was packed with "overflow" citizens watching on monitors in the downstairs lobby. There was a lot of public outcry directed at the Chair Don Chapman, and other commissioners as well.
Pushback also came from Commissioners Block and Holden-Rhodes and from the citizens in attendance that were visibly and audibly angry. Commissioners Block and Holden-Rhodes both opposed Chapman's views vigorously about substantive issues, and there were many presentations in opposition by the People.
The efforts of citizens group calling, emailing, LTEs, public testimonies, lobbying, and public forums are proof that given enough pushback and perseverance, change can happen in the best interest of the public. The work done by tribal leadership, the pueblos, and organizing work from Pueblo Action Alliance, Dine-Pueblo Solidarity, and the Red Nation made a huge impact. Collectively, the people accomplished something that at first appeared impossible.
The commission voted 4-1 against advancing both the Heil and the Stoddard ordinance. Then, Eichwald made a motion to send the ordinance back to the Planning and Zoning Commission for further review and creation of a better ordinance to include consultation with the tribes, and with individuals throughout the county. His motion was voted to be put on the agenda as an item for the next meeting. Holden-Rhodes voted against this only because he wanted to add language to Eichwald's motion to hold the ordinance in abeyance/suspend until the NM Tech assessment is due.
On January 18th, the Sandoval County Commission met again to discuss the future direction on how to proceed with the oil and gas ordinance. A final decision was not made, but Commissioner Holden-Rhodes proposed several reasonable suggestions for how to proceed. He would like to see a Citizens Working Group developed, re-direction of the NM Tech study to focus on water mapping and water issues, communication with Bernalillo County Commissioners and the City of Albuquerque Water Utility Authority Board, and for a new ordinance to be developed rather than sending the Stoddard/Heil ordinance back to Planning and Zoning.