Plans by the Dollar General chain to build a discount store near the entrance to the Eldorado community southeast of Santa Fe are running into opposition from some area residents.

Santa Fe County land-use officials say the project meets all codes for a designated commercial area along the east side of U.S. 285 just south of Interstate 25. But petitions bearing hundreds of signatures led the county Planning Commission to schedule a Nov. 21 hearing to consider complaints from residents who don’t want such a store on a highway corridor adjoining what in recent decades has become a semirural bedroom community.

Dollar General, a fast-growing builder of stores that mostly sell snacks, drinks, canned goods, household supplies and personal care products at low prices, often in rural and suburban areas, has run into local resistance before.

But in addition to such typical concerns as the impact that cheap-to-operate dollar stores have on established local businesses, critics of the proposal in the first phase of the 89-acre Cimarron Village Master Plan are raising issues of tone.

“I object to taking away the rural character and turning it into a strip mall,” said Phil Lontz, a longtime Eldorado resident who noted the subdivision was marketed as a community of widely spaced solar homes with sweeping vistas. “There seem to be people who want to turn it into a small version of Santa Fe.”

Lontz, whose wife signed a protest petition posted at a local coffee shop, said he thinks the proposed store would fit better amid the commercial clutter along Cerrillos Road on the south side of Santa Fe.

“This is targeted for a different socioeconomic group,” he said of the discount store. “Is that Eldorado? I don’t know.”

Not everyone is opposed. Julie Navarro, general manager of the Eldorado Community Improvement Association, told The New Mexican last month that the homeowners association had taken no position on the Dollar General store.

“I know some [residents] are OK with it,” she said. “Some are opposed to it. Some really don’t care. Others say Eldorado does not need a Dollar General.”

Edgar Catanach, who said he and his wife fear the development will lower the value of their home near the project site, said Friday he submitted a protest petition bearing 450 signatures and plans to submit another with 300 more names.

Addressed to county officials from “We, the good people of the 285 South Corridor and surrounding areas,” the petition maintains “this Dollar Store is unnecessary, would be an eye sore to our pristine area, and that its purpose would not be to serve the community, but merely to serve as a pass-through establishment, which would only cause more car congestion, not to mention a probable increase in vehicular accidents.”

Catanach said he filed the appeal to force a public hearing on the proposal. If not satisfied with the outcome of the Planning Commission hearing, the petitioners can appeal to the County Commission.

Joseph Karnes of Sommer Karnes & Associates, legal counsel for the Texas general contractor that plans to build the store, could not be reached for comment Friday.

Tennessee-based Dollar General, which opened its 16,000th store in Florida in September, has about 100 stores across New Mexico.

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(12) comments

Anthony Bonanno

A lot of us live in Eldorado for a lot of good reasons. Qualities that New Mexico is known for. Dark skies, views, walking trails, sense of community. Nothing “elitist” about it. Most dollar stores have the bright “night sky unfriendly” lighting that will blow out their neighbors nightscape. Legitimate concerns. And what’s with the race baiting? Pathetic.

Ronald Ortiz

Anymore the elites (Santa Fe ) Ring stops commerce. No truck Stop 🛑, No rural diversity low income convenience store.

Elite and selective.

Georgia Wheeler

It isn't about race?

Carolyn DM

It seems to be for those who have nothing else.

Jennifer Browne

Ahh yes, the FAKE ELITES in Eldorado/285 Corridor.......there's nothing like those pretending to be something they're not. The fake ones couldn't afford to buy in Las Campanas so they came to Eldorado with the intent of ELITE-ING people to death with their EGOS and FALSE love. Is it no wonder the Dollar Store would make an appearance? Looks like the Universe is shutting them down......and well deserved. Long live the elusive DOLLAR......

Henry Romero

Mr Lontz believes the store belongs on the south side of Santa Fe to fit with the socioeconomic group; what socioeconomic group would that be Mr Lontz? South Santa Fe already has a Dollar General which you may not be aware of, God forbid that you have to venture to this side of town. Our Dollar General pretty much just appeared one day; we were way too busy working and going through our daily lives to have the time to research or protest the store. Our socioeconomic economic group however, now can purchase the necessary cleaning 🧹 supplies at our Dollar General before heading out to our jobs to clean and maintain the homes of some Eldorado residents.

Nora LYnn Flores

Well said, thank you sir!!!

Carolyn DM

The corporate giant that is famous for putting small businesses in the ground. Adelo's, a generations long institution in Pecos, is a perfect example of their to he!! with the little people attitude!!

Nora LYnn Flores

Behold white folks🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

Carolyn DM

"Behold", those with a chip on their shoulder, that always have to make it about race!

Carolyn DM

"Behold", those with a chip on their shoulder, that always have to make it about race!!


yes, i moved to eldorado in 1998 from just off bishop's lodge road. the traffic and noise finally overcame my lifetime city background.

yes, i oppose a typical center city store opening opposite the main entrance to eldorado, but not for racial, or socionomic or ''elitist'' reasons whatever the heck that might mean

i oppose it because it is step one to making our city different, city like all the rest. i oppose it because i regard our motto, ''land of enchantment'' as meaningful and to be supported and defended against a tennessee giant that lusts to add one more store to its balance sheet.

finally, we have come to know personally all the merchants that satisfy all our needs as consumers. we value their presence and friendliness and don't want them pushed out of our lives to possibly save a penny or two.

no, i don't recycle and i don't recoil from gluten, but i do know the added car and delivery truck traffic aint earth friendly, and we don't want to lose anoter neighbor or passer thru to even heavier traffic on 84/286.

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