Mancos trustees passed an emergency ordinance to extend a ban on large retail stores until June during last week’s board meeting. But one board member stood in stark opposition to the ban on commercial structures more than 5,000 square feet.
“I think it would be a benefit to bring the businesses into town and bring the jobs,” Trustee Chip Tuthill said.
The other five trustees who voted in favor of the ban said they felt more time was needed to revise town code.
“We’ve heard the town people, and I think that they want us to look at this and to do it and do it right,” Trustee Queenie Barz said.
Family Dollar’s interest in building a store in Mancos has sparked opposition. In January, developers presented to a packed Town Hall, and several residents spoke passionately against the new store.
Tuthill voted against the moratorium, casting initial doubt on whether there was a clear three-quarters majority to pass it. If the emergency measure had not passed, it would have left a three-day window when a business potentially could have submitted an application to build. David Liberman, attorney for the town, determined that five votes was a clear three-quarters majority despite ambiguity in the code.
Tuthill said he was motivated to change his vote because Family Dollar could move to the edge of town where the town code would not apply and because of delays in rewriting town codes.
He also said many people who attended January’s meeting did not live in town.
“What we have is the tail wagging the dog,” he said.
During the meeting, he tried to amend the ordinance to ban commercial buildings larger than 10,000 square feet, but he couldn’t gather support.
Resident Maureen Brosnan attended the contentious meeting, but she didn’t voice her support of the store in that forum. However, she said a discount store would help those who are hurting in town.
“A dollar store would be a huge benefit to those who don’t have a lot of money,” she said.
Other town trustees said extending the ban would give them time to revise town codes.
“We’re talking about the long-term health of the town,” Trustee Todd Kearns said.