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KSJD Local Newscast - April 22, 2024

Following a two-hour public hearing, the Montezuma County commissioners on Tuesday delayed deciding whether to approve a controversial high-impact permit for a Dollar General store at Highway 145 and Road N between Cortez and Dolores. On March 14, the county Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of the permit. Developer Douglas Kinsey and his attorney told the commissioners Tuesday that they had made modifications to address the main concerns voiced at P&Z, such as traffic safety and water for firefighting. Kinsey said he bought the 4-acre tract in 2015 because it is zoned commercial and he thought it would be "kind of a shoe-in" to get approval for the store. Twenty-two people gave public comments Tuesday, 21 of them opposed to the store and one neutral. Their concerns included lighting, noise, increased crime, diminishment of rural character, and lingering worries about traffic. Two cited a recent study by Clemson University that found that dollar stores reduce neighboring property values as much as 21 percent. Kinsey said the Clemson study was not relevant because it was done in Georgia. The commissioners wanted more time to study information presented Tuesday and are to issue their decision April 30.

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Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal, and was the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.