Santa Fe County commissioners emerged from a closed-door session Tuesday night and approved a proposed Dollar General store near Eldorado, a project that many area residents bitterly oppose.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to greenlight the project, which has been stalled since last year after the Planning Commission overturned the land-use administrator’s approval of a Texas general contractor’s application to build the store on U.S. 285.

Pedigo Construction challenged the Planning Commission’s ruling, putting the matter before the board.

A couple of commissioners said they were voting “yes” reluctantly but felt they had no choice because Dollar General is a permitted business use.

“I do not believe that a dollar store is an appropriate building for that place, but … you have the right to exercise your free will and your belief in where you shop,” Commissioner Anna Hansen said. “If nobody shops there, it’s likely that store will not survive.”

Commissioner Ed Moreno, who voted “no,” said the Planning Commission was within its authority to override the land-use official and deny the project.

“My constituents have spoken loud and clear,” Moreno said. “Nationally, the stores are increasingly targets of crime.”

The county land-use administrator determined a 9,100-square-foot store on a 2.5-acre site met codes for a mixed-use development called Cimarron Village.

But a neighbor filed an appeal with the Planning Commission, which also received a petition with 1,900 signatures from opponents.

It was part of the fierce opposition that the proposed Dollar General store has generated among many Eldorado residents.

The board’s decision Tuesday was made with no testimony from the public and after an hourlong discussion behind closed doors.

The board also went into executive session in May to deliberate about the Dollar General case. That time, the commissioners decided to continue discussing the matter.

Although the county attorney insists closed sessions are allowed in this case because commissioners were discussing “adjudicatory matters,” the leader of an open government group says she’s not so sure.

“I am not convinced that this appeal to the full county board was from an administrative adjudicatory proceeding,” said Susan Boe, president of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.

Boe questioned whether the Planning Commission hearing was really “trial-like,” as outlined in the statute.

“Were witnesses sworn in? Was there a presiding hearing officer?” Boe asked.

County Attorney Gregory Shaffer said the commission met all standards of the state’s Open Meetings Act when it went into closed sessions.

And as required by law, the commission made the final order approving the general contractor’s appeal in an open meeting, Shaffer said.

(41) comments

Ted Nugent

Dollar general will actually be an improvement in ugly eldorado. I mean 50% of eldorado homes are aged with ugly with poorly planned additions, in need of stucco, dumb looking yards, etc. I don't see the attraction. Not to mention not a tree in sight. So yes, dollar general will fit right in.

Ed Li

Bad decision Santa Fe County. You will be looking like the miles and miles of messy sprawling retail stores I left back in Texas, in no time! Residents need to appreciate the natural beauty here. Once you let these unsightly and blighted shops/restaurants build “just because”, we will lose that natural beauty forever.

Jack Hunter

Well, the outcome at the government was expected. They are limited in what they can and cannot do. We the people can take this to the next level. The best way to end this is Do Not Ever, Ever, Ever spend one penny there no matter what. They’ll be gone in a year. BOYCOT!!!! These people are predators both in respect to the community and their employees and we should treat them as such by shunning them from the community. Don’t work there, don’t shop there, do you best to discourage others from from doing so. Just Say No!

Anthony Bonanno

The Santa Fe County Commissioners should be held accountable in the next election for their disregard of the community's overwhelming opposition to this deplorable business. And Commissioner Anna Hansen, I was taken aback by your statement "If nobody shops there, it’s likely that store will not survive.” I've always supported you, but that comment is naive. There's nothing like an abandoned building to elevate the attractiveness of a community. I hope our community will continue to fight this.

Jack Hunter

I’m running, who’s with me?

Bill Nibchuck

I sure if Trader Joe's wanted to build there, it would be accepted with open arms. But a Dollar General is beneath their standards. That is elitism.

Spencer Ralston

No, I for one, would not be in favor of a Trader Joe’s in Eldorado. There’s one 20 minutes away in Santa Fe (and there are Dollar stores that close too) - that’s close enough for me.

Ted Nugent

True!

David Ford

It is unfortunate that your attempt at a "quick and dirty" snarky comment makes you look very uniformed and less than a stable genius. I would welcome a Trader Joe's if it was a replacement for the current grocery store because the infrastructure is already there. The only stores I refuse to shop in are those who treat their employees poorly and this is one of them. I haven't been in a Walmart in 25 years and besides, all these stores who cater to those trying to save 35 cents on a item have a couple of things in common - almost all of their products are from China and they have no respect for their employees which is why you are saving 35 cents - on their backs.....

Jack Hunter

Do you live here, Joe... I do unit it...

Katherine Martinez

Bill, agreed.

Spencer Ralston

It’s unfortunate that to some people, a few of them who have posted here, price is the only thing that matters. It’s that thinking that has lead to US companies moving their operations off-shore, and with that decent-paying jobs have been lost, and with that we see decaying towns all over our country. Locally-owned businesses spend most of their profits locally, and many pay above the minimum wage. Dollar stores are a blight on the landscape unless in a strip mall - where the mall itself is a blight on the landscape. They are a sign of the decay infusing our country. Do the good folks of Pecos point with pride at the two (!!) Dollar stores in their little village? How’d they feel about the concurrent loss of their family-owned general store? I reckon that if price is all that matters, they are delighted. I hope the fight isn’t over here in Eldorado.

Emma Spring

And just like that, the ELITE were taken down several notches.

David Ford

And just like that another idiot comes out of the closet with a stupid remark having nothing to do with the real issue here. Elite? What the heck does that even mean? Is it the area you are jealous of or that fact that you "think" certain areas of town are targets for your contempt without justification. Sad lady.

[offtopic]

Kathy Fish

Agreed. This has nothing to do with elitism. Those concerned had just cause. Dollar General is worse than Wal-Mart in the way it treats its employees, and the fact that folks are willing to trade cheap shovels for low-income folks' quality if life should alarm us all. Trust me - by bringing in a Dollar General, we're allowing the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer.

Ted Nugent

[yawn][yawn]

Ted Nugent

[yawn]

Ted Nugent

Jealous of eldorado??? Yup, you read my mind. [tongue]

Kathy Fish

I've flagged the majority of your comments, Connie. They're abusive and unproductive. Claiming that El Dorado is "ugly" isn't constructive or even relevant to this discussion. I'm sorry for whatever happened to you to make you so hateful...and to force your reliance on emojis when nothing else comes to mind.

Judith Senda

WTH??? Is it elitist to not want a store that is both a crime magnet and a blight on the landscape?

Let’s not pretend Dollar General is some altruistic organization providing goods to the under served. It’s a for-profit corporation that’s raking it in big on the suffering of others. And in the cases where a store fails, they just walk away, leaving an empty husk behind, a target ripe for graffiti and vandalism. Don’t believe me? Drive north of Española where they left another building to rot.

Dollar General has a high rate of cash transactions, and thieves know it. So it attracts a large number armed robberies. More violent criminals in the area brings more violent crime in general.

These aren’t just my thoughts; read the national news. It’s well documented. Here’s just one recent article:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/26/business/dollar-general-robberies/index.html

Please, Emma, get your head out of wherever you’ve stuck it and realize this isn’t an elitist thing, it’s a community thing.

Ted Nugent

[thumbup]

Kathy Fish

Like, the emojis aren't productive or constructive. Use your words, please.

David Ford

Kathy as you may have already figured out, the emojis are the most intelligent thing from Connie....

Ed Li

Elite? A community like Eldorado placed in any other state like Texas, Arizona or California would just be a standard run of the mill suburb. New Mexicans thinking Eldorado is some ritzy, elite neighborhood is so naive. Grow up and get out more Emma.

Ted Nugent

Ed so true. To me, eldorado is a wannabe Santa Fe. Kinda ugly out there in most ways. Can't afford Santa Fe? You buy in ugly eldorado. Or, move up to Pecos or Espanola, a notch above eldorado. So no, dollar general just perfect in eldorado.

David Ford

Connie:

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt"

Ted Nugent

[thumbup]

Ann Maes

A travesty to the natural beauty of the area, an eyesore, an unnecessary waste of resources, light pollution, the residents object, yet it gets approved! Do we need to march in the streets every time government turns a deaf ear to the rights of tax paying citizens?!?! Will you be created secure, livable wage paying jobs with health benefits for the employees you hire? Again I say a travesty!

Barry Rabkin

Actually we really only need to march in the streets to ensure that every town, city, and State abide by the US Constitution (and all of its Amendments). Free enterprise ... one of the pillars of the US.

Ted Nugent

According to posts, free enterprise is endorsed, just not in eldorado.

David Ford

Time to vote them out!!

County Commissioners

Henry P. Roybal.

Anna Hansen.

Rudy N. Garcia.

Anna T. Hamilton.

Jack Hunter

I think I’ll run... Who’s with me?

David Ford

As a resident of the area I find it disturbing that the Commission did not take into account the overwhelming voice of the constituents against this monstrosity. Most of us don't need a shovel, clothespins (really?), or catsup bad enough that we are willing to sacrifice development of land for a 10,000 sq ft building and it associated parking lot of another 10,000 sq ft. It will be a blot on the land and the area, that will never be recovered even when the business fails. We residents can only hope that with collective refusal to do any business (active boycott) with this Tennessee based store that it will fail. Sadly we will still have a massive pile of concrete and steel that will never be recovered to its original. Undeveloped land is not a bad thing, it is the preferred to most out here.

I bought out here because of the charm of the area and the rural aspects it offers (dirt roads, etc), otherwise I would have decided to buy in town. The local hardware store doesn't hold a candle to the Old Country Store that used to be out here, and is an absolute mess. I refuse to shop there but it doesn't mean I welcome this store. I would rather drive to Big Jo (and I do) in town along with my other errands.

Don't it always seem to go

That you don't know what you've got

'Til it's gone

They paved paradise

Put up a parking lot....Joni Mitchell

Ted Nugent

This is the best news ever! Thank you Santa county commissioners! I hope it has a nice big, bright yellow and black sign in the front, attracting patrons. I only hope Dollar Tree is down the road--competition a good thing for prices.

Kathy Fish

I assume this is sarcasm? Dollar Generals are notorious hubs for attracting crime, and for refusing to protect, advocate for, fairly compensate, or even listen to their employees. This is a serious source of concern, and not just for those worried about the gaudiness. Dollar Generals violate human rights, period.

Ted Nugent

Actually, quite serious. I don't buy your claim of human rights violation. That could apply to any business.

Kathy Fish

I suspect you've done zero research. Educate yourself, please. "That could apply to any business" is a gross generalization and a blatant oversimplification. These comments make you sound so, so ignorant.

Steve Spraitz

Maybe, there will be a place to buy reasonably priced shovels, clothespins, oven mitts, Catsup , mustard, etc other than the overpriced stuff across the way and down the highway like white vinegar at the local market or true value store .

Kathy Fish

Don't be naive. Low prices come on the backs of compromised employees. A Dollar General is bad for any city, period. Low, low prices should be just cause for alarm.

Ted Nugent

Kathy, not everyone is as wealthy as you so concerned with "human rights" violations, whatever that nutty allegation is about. Some folks, including ugly eldorado residents, actually look forward to dollar general. Honest!

Stephanie Konda

Keep displaying your ignorance Connie Lopez

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