‘Growth or no growth?’


The Pagosa Springs SUN staff was selected to be part of the first-ever United States cohort of Journalism Trust Initiative journalists a couple of weeks ago. 

It was an honor to be chosen for this project; however, not having a deep love for driving to Denver for a meeting, we opted to fly up to Denver and back to Durango all in the same day. 

We were amazed by how streamlined our transportation in Denver was with the A-Line taking us to Union Station and a bus taking us within blocks of the Buell Public Media Center. In addition to housing Rocky Mountain PBS, KUVO JAZZ and THE DROP, the building also includes the Metzler Family Learning Center, the Community Media Center, MASTERPIECE Studio, Bonfils-Stanton Performance Studio and an organization The SUN participates in: the Colorado Media Collaborative (COLab).

Multiple media organizations are part of COLab, including the Associated Press, Chalkbeat Colorado, Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, Colorado Independent, Colorado Media Project, Colorado Press Association, Colorado Sun, KGNU, Open Media Foundation and Rocky Mountain PBS. Through COLab, these organizations share resources, infrastructure and strategies.

A friend drove us back to Union Station after the day-long meeting and we were on a plane to Durango that night. 

Archuleta County has made great strides in enhancing our local transportation system, and this month, you can try it out for free. You can learn more through an article and advertisement in this week’s paper.

Fuel prices

We’ve been asked multiple times to “investigate” the higher fuel prices in Archuleta County. Talking to corporate managers about the price of gas is not a simple task. We typically just get the runaround. 

Jeff Milburn reported the following gas prices to The SUN Tuesday: Chama $3.74, Durango $3.87 and Pagosa $4.59.

Turkey Springs Trading Post reported Wednesday that its gas is $4.30 and its diesel is $5.50. The small mom-and-pop business has really come through for our locals. 

Most people we have spoken to speculate that it is just the fact it is summer in a tourist town that keeps our gas prices higher than most.

Private business can charge what the market will bear.

We also found it interesting that when gas has been cheaper here, not a soul asked us to investigate. 

Gravel pit

We haven’t heard many complaints about the newly proposed gravel pit planned for the Upper Piedra. 

There was quite an uproar for the pit planned near Lake Hatcher. Many were worried about the traffic on Piedra Road. We are certain that this new pit has the potential to have many trucks running up and down that same road to town every day. 

There are a couple of chances to give your input concerning the pit coming up, including one on Zoom. 

We reported last week that at its July 28 meeting, the Hinsdale County Planning Commission considered and voted to not recommend a proposed gravel pit in south Hinsdale County near the Piedra River Trail. The project moves on to the Hinsdale County Board of County Commissioners, which will make a final decision on approving or denying the project.

See the article in this week’s SUN for more information about your opportunity to chime in on the gravel pit.

Vacation rental task force

Archuleta County put out a call for volunteers to be part of its vacation rental task force last week. The goal is to develop language recommendations for the county’s land use regulations pertaining to vacation rentals. With the huge turnout at any local meeting pertaining to vacation rentals, it shouldn’t be hard to fill the multiple slots on the task force. 

Pagosa Views subdivision

Local real estate agent Lee Riley hit the nail on the head in his August “Riley Report” when writing about the proposed Pagosa Views subdivision: “With this possible new development on the horizon, the debate continues: growth or no growth? The majority of the buyers I deal with want to be the last one in and shut the door behind them.”

A public hearing has been scheduled for the planning commission’s review of the final planned development application on Aug. 23. 

Sunetha Flats

In searching through old newspapers this past week, we came across an April 10, 1969, article announcing the beginning of what is known today as Pagosa Lakes. It was called Sunetha Flats back in the day.

“Ralanco Industries, Inc., of Phoenix, Ariz., has announced a planned, four-season recreation complex for the Calvin Perkins’ 26,000-acre ranch, located near Pagosa Springs. Preliminary planning is underway by the consulting engineers. O’Brien & Speer and the architects, Haver Nunn & Jensen, AIA, both of Phoenix, Ariz.

“The engineering firm has had wide experience in the early planning and economic feasibility studies of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, currently famous for the construction of London Bridge.

“The architects comprise a long-established Arizona Firm with many projects to its credit. The firm also maintains offices in Honolulu, Hawaii, Guam and Chicago. 

“The scope of the planned Colorado development will depend primarily on the findings of the engineers and architects and their recommendations. When these studies are complete, Ralanco Industries will seek out the long-term funding to finance the project.”

“Ralanco Industries is the sales and planning entity for the Navajo Trail Corporation ... All are Dallas Texas business and professional men.”

County and town survey

The days are dwindling down for you to speak out about how you feel about a 1 or 1.5 percent sales tax increase to be split between the town and the county. There is even a question on the survey about a property tax increase option as opposed to a sales tax increase. The survey closes on Aug. 16. The survey is available at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COARCH_LIVE_Cty_Town.

We were right in the middle of the town’s planning commission meeting Tuesday night when we lost power and missed hearing public comment concerning the workforce housing project behind Walmart.

We did hear the concerns of one resident when it came to the proposed gas station near Walmart and the potential for increased truck traffic and more lights in the area. 

Pagosa’s growing. 

No one has shut the door behind them so far.

Terri Lynn Oldham House