A move to build a 13,600 square-foot facility at the intersection of I-25 and Cerilllos Road in Santa Fe has suffered a reversal, but will be finally decided in May by members of the Santa Fe County Commission.
The Knoxville, Tennessee-based Pilot Flying J Travel Company announced last spring that it wanted to build what it calls a travel center on the 10-acre site.
According to the official plans for the project, the center would serve as a gas and diesel station, while housing in its main building convenience stores, fast food restaurants, and restrooms.
The 10 acres would comprise only a portion of a larger 26.4-acre site that would be developed in several stages and would eventually include two 130-room hotels, a full-service restaurant, retail stores, and a warehouse.
Residents living near the site, including members of the Santa Fe Gateway Alliance, a county-wide group concerned with sustainability issues, have made their presence known during a series of public input meetings, raising concerns about noise and light pollution that may be caused by the project, as well as the traffic it would attract.
Now, in a signal victory for those opposed to the idea, the Santa Fe County Planning Commission has unanimously recommended that the Santa Fe County Commission should reject the proposal.
Planning Commission members said the $10 million project was not eligible for a conditional use permit within the parameters of the Community College District it would be built in.
The matter will now go to the Santa Fe County Commission for what is expected to be a pivotal vote on May 8.
With more than 550 locations nationally, Pilot Flying J announced earlier this year that it plans to build twenty new sites this year, while renovating fifty that are already up and running.
By Garry Boulard