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Flying J drops court appeals of truck stop plan’s rejection

SANTA FE – Pilot Flying J has dropped its appeal of the Santa Fe County Commission’s decision to block its plans to build a truck stop on Interstate 25 just south of town.

In separate district court filings from August, local attorney Karl Sommer submitted dismissals on behalf of Pilot Flying J and the organization that owns the property on which Pilot Flying J wanted to build its controversial proposed truck stop.

Attorney Karl Sommer, representing developers of a proposed Flying J truck stop, addresses the Santa Fe County Commission at a packed May meeting. (EDDIE MOORE/JOURNAL)

The filings were brief and did not provide detail about why the appeals were dropped.

Sommer did not immediately return a message for comment Thursday afternoon. Neither did a representative of Pilot Flying J, a Santa Fe County spokeswoman or Warren Thompson, the principal for Exit 278 LLC, the group that owns the parcel.

The proposed travel center near the I-25/Cerrillos Road interchange was planned to include a gas station, a convenience store, fast food restaurants and about 140 parking spaces on 10 acres of land.

Hundreds of local residents denounced the plan at public meetings over the past year, saying that a truck stop would bring noise and air pollution, dangerous levels of traffic and increased crime. The Santa Fe Gateway Alliance was formed to oppose the truck stop.

In May, a nearly six-hour public hearing with a crowd of about 350 ended with the County Commission voting to approve a broad conceptual plan application to develop all 26 acres of the parcel in three phases. But the commission decided by a 4-1 vote that truck stop elements intended for the first phase had to be removed.

During the hearing, Commissioner Ed Moreno said a semi-truck parking area, weigh stations and fueling stations were not allowable uses under county guidelines for the surrounding Community College District and the county’s Sustainable Growth Management Plan.

Sommer filed a notice of appeals for Pilate Flying J and the landowner in early August asking the court to reserve the county commission’s decision. During the May hearing, he argued that the conceptual plan met every county requirement and approval of specific, future development on the site wasn’t required now.

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