State condemns commercial property along Paseo

'The fact that we don't have nice sidewalks ... it needs to be done'

By Jesse Moya
jmoya@taosnews.com
Posted 6/13/19

The state of New Mexico has filed a condemnation suit against several businesses along Paseo del Pueblo Sur in order to proceed with planned road and sidewalk …

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State condemns commercial property along Paseo

'The fact that we don't have nice sidewalks ... it needs to be done'

Posted

The state of New Mexico has filed a condemnation suit against several businesses along Paseo del Pueblo Sur in order to proceed with planned road and sidewalk construction.

Businesses in the area were given the option to sell and surrender the right of way across their parking lot fronts bordering the road to accommodate widening the road and installing sidewalks, however several owners along Taos' main stretch chose not to accept the state's offer.

The state moved to the next legal step: condemning the property required for the right of way.

The state's main reason for condemning the four-to-six-foot wide section of each property is for sidewalk construction.

"[Construction permits] are for driveways and the acquisition of property is right of way for the realignment of Los Pandos Road," said New Mexico DOT spokesperson Rosanne Rodriguez.

In order to move ahead with its plans, the DOT needs to acquire the property from the private owners.

Indian Hills hotel owner John Slenes has been notified by the state that his property is to be condemned for use for"highway purposes."

The hotel, which is located across from Smith's along Paseo and has been boarded up for months, was condemned by the town of Taos in 2017. Slenes fought the town in court, but town officials remained firm on their decision to condemn the hotel. Since then, the building has sat vacant awaiting a potential buyer to buy it and demolish the crumbling building.

Slenes has 30 days to respond to the state's condemnation notice, in which the state will offer compensation for the property. He did not respond to comment on the state's condemnation.

The hotel has been closed since 2018.

Some owners along the road are excited for the proposed updates and granted the DOT the right of way for the road. Randall Lumber co-owner Paula Ervin said the repairs to the streets are a welcome investment from the state.

"It needs to be done and it was a fair offer," Ervin said. "It's for locals. The fact that we don't have nice sidewalks or bike trails to the center of town - it needs to be done. It's going to be a headache for sure during construction, but it's definitely way past time."

According to Ervin, some of the landscaping in front of the business will have to be sacrificed in order to accommodate for the improvements.

The southern portion of the parking lot at the Randall plaza is also set for condemnation after owners did not agree to the state's bid for the right of way. Owners of the property have 30 days to respond to the notice of condemnation.

The $5 million Paseo construction project will move from State Road 518 and proceed north to the intersection of Paseo del Pueblo and Camino de la Placita. Construction has begun on the southern end of town and will continue throughout the summer and fall months. Ultimately, the project is supposed to provide sidewalks compliant with requirements under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act along with easing traffic woes in some portions and repair potholes.

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