A woman’s plans to build a convenience store across from Gil Sanchez Elementary School in Jarales were stopped last week when the county commission refused to vote on the zoning issue.
Bridget Sanchez, who wanted to open the store, will not be permitted to build the convenience store across from the elementary school.
County Commissioner Frank Pando made a motion at last week’s meeting in favor of a commercial zoning permit for the proposed store, but the motion died when no other commissioner seconded the motion.
Therefore, the prior ruling of the planning and zoning commission will remain in effect. On June 11, the planning and zoning commission denied the permit “due to the fact that the applicant will be selling package liquor and the property is located across from an elementary school.”
Pando favored the proposed store, asking why the people of Jarales should have to drive all the way to Belen to buy a beer. Currently, the nearest convenience store that sells alcohol would be about four-and-a-half miles from where Sanchez wanted to build the store.
Tommie Cordova, whose nephew, Bryan Chavez, just re-opened Midway Grocery and General Store in Jarales, presented a petition with signatures of 18 residents against the proposed convenience store.
“Right now, we have a problem with drugs and alcohol,” Cordova said. “After it is zoned, you can do anything you want. The school buses turn right there.”
At least two Jarales residents spoke in favor of the store.
“We are in dire need of a store in Jarales,” said Manual Baca, who was born and raised in Jarales.
Some residents pointed to the traffic problems in the area and the potential danger to students who would cross the street to reach the store. One resident said the store’s proposed location was too close to a dangerous curve on Jarales Road, just north of the school.
“The traffic is going to be there regardless,” said Jennifer Hohman, a substitute teacher, who has children attending Gil Sanchez Elementary. “I have two small children, and I see no problem with the store being opened. It’s also good for the economy.”