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Fight over proposed Flying J truck stop heads to court

SANTA FE, N.M. — A state District Court courtroom will be the next battleground in the fight to build a Pilot Flying J truck stop just south of the Santa Fe city limits at the Cerrillos Road/N.M. 14 interchange off Interstate 25.

The local attorney for the company and property owner this week filed a notice of appeal of the Santa Fe County Commission’s decision in May to reject plans for the truck stop – to include a gas station, convenience store, restaurants and about 140 parking spaces for cars and trucks – on 10 acres of land at the interchange.

“Plaintiffs request that the decision of the Board with respect to the Application be reversed and remanded with instructions and such further relief as the Court deems appropriate,” reads the notice filed by Santa Fe attorney Karl Sommer.

After a public hearing at which dozens of people spoke out against the plan, the County Commission voted 4-1 to reject the portion of the conceptual plan that includes the truck stop on a 26-acre parcel owned by Warren Thompson.

Speakers expressed concerns about safety, with big trucks traveling on nearby roads and exits; air, noise and light pollution; potential increases in crime; and the aesthetics of a truck stop at the north end of N.M. 14, the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway.

During that hearing – held at the Santa Fe High School gymnasium to accommodate a crowd of about 350 people – Sommer said the conceptual plan met all the county’s requirements and that approval of specific future uses at the site was not required.

The county’s Planning Commission did not recommend approval of the conceptual plan, saying it was not “materially similar” to other allowable uses under the county’s code.

The proposed development is not far from Santa Fe Community College and the Rancho Viejo residential development.