Four-story hotel project moves forward to Taos council


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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C Holden

The meeting last night was a sham. One more in a long history of bad process. The Chair of the P&Z Commission, a volunteer who should be commended for his time and efforts, consistently violated established rules of procedure in an effort to interrupt, limit and disparage comments from those who had legitimate concerns regarding the plan. Questions like: Where will the water come from and will the developer have to purchase water shares as other new businesses are required to do?; What was the deal Bellis made in advance of this project coming to the P&Z department?; How high will this construction actually be when the 10+ feet of site prep fill dirt is added and the parapet of the design added in? ---- answer: in violation of the 48 foot ordinance created specifically to approve this project by creating a special Zone just for this purpose.

Our Town needs this hotel to provide for tourism. Most of us agree on this. The obstacle to this project is the faulty process, and secret agreements, the "push" to approve rather than ensure a solid respectful process for all proposed developments in Taos. Every Taoseno should be considered about lack of integrity in government process --- we are seeing far too much of this on the national and state level lately. Taos should be and could be the Town that truly reflects the culture and spirit of this beautiful area. Its not that hard to follow a sound procedure with transparency --- if the mayor requires this.

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