Courier staff writer
ALAMOSA — It’s a question that Donnie Bautista hears all the time: where is the nearest liquor store?
Right now, the Sand Dunes Swimming Pool general manager has to direct his thirsty guests into Alamosa or Center. But eventually, he hopes he can steer their business to a new family-owned store on Highway 17 in Mosca.
Bautista approached Alamosa County commissioners on Tuesday for a liquor license to open Dune View Spirits in the old Zip Code Café building. But instead of acting on the request, the board voted unanimously to table it, giving the county’s land use office additional time to weigh in on the matter.
Commissioner Darius Allen said he wants to ensure that the proposed business meets the criteria set forth in the county’s land use plan.
“I think we need to make the best decision we can with all of the information we can,” he said.
Commissioner Michael Yohn agreed.
“When we make a decision like this, we want to make sure it’s as accurate as can be,” he said.
Bautista told the board that he and his wife have been mulling over the idea for the last couple of years. But they were hesitant to act as long as a school was located down the road, he said.
Now that the school has moved to another location, Bautista said they look forward to working with the community to establish a respectable business in Mosca.
Scott Manke, who lives midway between Mosca and Hooper, said the couple told him that they plan to remodel the Zip Code Café building and bring a higher-end business to Mosca.
As an added advantage, Manke said the new business would save area residents and visitors alike the trip to a liquor store in Center or Alamosa.
“This is a nice convenience for folks that they’re offering,” he said.
An overwhelming majority of people who signed a petition on the couple’s application seemed to share Manke’s opinions.
According to Alamosa County Clerk and Recorder Melanie Woodward, 30 out of 33 respondents are in favor of the request.
However, Mosca residents Chester Jones and Brenda Clair are not among those 30 people.
Jones urged the board to reject the application, telling commissioners that he appreciates the peaceful and quiet country atmosphere in Mosca.
Liquor stores, in contrast, can create an environment of social disorder around them, he said.
As Jones sees it, there’s little doubt that similar businesses in other communities are magnets for crime.
Clair said she knows of several other neighbors who oppose the plan. At the very least, the board should table the matter in order to conduct a more thorough investigation, she said.
The board ultimately agreed to postpone its decision, offering area residents another opportunity to offer their feedback on the request.
“We want to be open and honest and fair with everybody up in that area,” Allen said.