Wal-Mart has lots of big numbers to put by its name, but the numbers came up short in Taos, New Mexico this week. In fact, they lost two separate votes on the same issue — one sponsored by the town, one by anti-Wal-Mart residents. Almost two out of three citizens voted in a survey against a proposed zoning ordinance that would have allowed commercial buildings larger than 80,000 square feet to be built within town limits. Currently Taos has a size cap, so the ordinance would have removed it, allowing a Wal-Mart supercenter proposal to be considered, replacing the existing Wal-Mart already in Taos. Residents responding opposed the ordinance 1,107 to 709 in favor, or approximately 61 percent to 38.1 percent. The survey results were announced by the Southwest Planning and Marketing firm. Roughly 3,078 surveys were delivered to registered voters. Of those, 1,861 were returned, for an extremely high return rate of 60.5 percent. In response to the results, Taos Mayor Bobby Duran said: “It is clear to me how the citizens feel about this sensitive issue.” The town council will take up this issue at its next meeting on March 25th. The town’s survey was mirrored by the community’s anti-Wal-Mart citizen’s group, the Taosenos Against A Wal-Mart Super Store (TAWSS). According to the “shadow” survey conducted by TAWSS, surveys bear out the town’s results: a better than 2-1 vote against changing the Town of Taos Land-Use Code to allow the large store. A TAWSS spokesperson, said the group sent the same number of surveys as did the Town of Taos, and used the same list of registered voters as did town officials for their mailing.
For history on the Taos victory over a Wal-Mart supercenter, search this database by “Taos”.