Four-story hotel project moves forward to Taos council

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The Town of Taos Planning and Zoning Commission voted Thursday to recommend approval for construction of a four-story Holiday Inn Express to the town council.

Following a three-hour meeting in which members of the public were allowed to speak a limited amount about the hotel project, the commission voted 5-0 to recommend that the town council approve the hotel's construction on Paseo del Pueblo Sur near Ranchos de Taos. Commissioner Pavel Lukes recused himself from the vote and commissioner Dennis Garcia was absent.

The commission has rejected the hotel application three times before.

The proposal to build a four-story hotel has split residents in Taos. Community members on both sides of the controversial topic spoke their opinions at the planning and zoning meeting, which was held to ensure hotel developer Jay Batra had completed all the necessary paperwork for the project.

"We need new hotel rooms, that's not under debate. We need more jobs, that's not under debate," said Taos resident Ken Manning during the meeting.

Manning, along with several other who spoke out against the hotel, said they are not against the development aspect of the project, but want to make sure everything is done in a fair manner involving the citizens of the town and following all proper avenues.

Others at the meeting spoke out in support of the $89 million project and cited a need for economic growth in the area and the need for additional hotel rooms for events in Taos.

Both Batra and hotel architect Tafazzul Hussain spoke during the meeting on the changes from the previously rejected version of the hotel project.

Some remained unconvinced that the project was right for Taos.

"Culturally and traditionally, this does not fit with this community," said resident Tanya Vigil. "It's not for our children."

For the complete story, pick up the upcoming May 25 edition of The Taos News.

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