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I have been attending meetings at the Town Hall concerning the vacating of the alley between 6th and 7th streets and Piedra and Navajo. At the last Planning Commission meeting there were differences of opinion as to where the alley was on the hill … one of the planners said he had walked the hill and the alley was well below the crest.
The fact of the matter is that the alley is on the top of the hill at the “very highest point” and a little to the north of Navajo Street; this offers the best 360 degree view of the entire town of Pagosa Springs.
The confusion and discussions being as they were, the committee voted to vacate the alley and pass their recommendations on to the town board. At the town board meeting on Aug. 21, it was revealed that the alley did actually cross the top of the hill in the area that the developer wants vacated.
During the discussion, the developer indicated that he hadn’t developed plans for the property, yet he did state that he wanted the alley vacated so that he could build high-cost buildings on the top of the hill. He further stated that if the alley was not vacated he would “have to” build lower-cost (lower income) housing near the foot of 7th Street. There was much discussion on what parts of the alley have already been vacated and if it would apply to all of the alley. The city planner said “he believed (assumed) that the alley north of Piedra Street had already been vacated.” This assumption is not correct.
During all of the discussions with the town planning committee and the town board there have been misleading information or false assumptions provided to the appropriate parties thus making a sound decision more difficult. Research should be done to provide the very best and latest information to committees and boards so they can make sound assessments on what areas have been vacated and the precise location of the alley (finally acknowledging the alley was on the top of the hill).
I have objected to vacating the alley as it could/should be considered for part of the river trail system being discussed. The city planners say they don’t have any solid plans at this time. However, the town is requesting that the state highway build a bridge at McCabe Creek with a pedestrian walk under it. Now they have alluded to two bridges but have no firm plan? There used to be a trail from 6th Street going diagonally up the hill coming out near the alley (by Arthur Valdez and Albert Lucero’s houses). They would need to put some type of structure over the cut of the hill (Piedra Street) for continuation of the trail up to the vantage point.
I strongly recommend that more citizens sound off on this project — the decisions made now will last a lifetime — good or bad.