Longhorn Saloon to be demolished in favor of new Kelly Liquors

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A property on the north end of Bosque Farms Boulevard will soon be no more, possibly before year's end.

After more than four decades in business, the Longhorn Saloon is going dark. The long-time landmark of the village of Bosque Farms, formerly owned by Phyllis and Ronald Cowdrey, is slated for complete demolition.

The property was purchased by Kelly Liquors, an Albuquerque company, earlier this year.

Along with the property, the new owner also purchased the liquor license that was attached to the bar.

In place of the familiar yellow and blue trimmed building will be a new Kelly Liquors store, plus additional retail space, said village Planning and Zoning Officer Loretta Hatch.

"They are going to completely demolish the old building and build a 6,000 square-foot liquor store, plus two 1,500 square-foot shops to rent," Hatch said. "They will be putting in curbs and gutters. The plans they've brought in show a building with a tile roof and very nice facade."

The next step in the project is for Kelly to secure building permits from the state's construction industries division, Hatch said.

There were a few details raised at the recent Village Planning and Zoning Commission meeting that needed to be finalized before Hatch signed off on the plans.

As of Dec. 3, Hatch said the plans have received final approval from her department.

"CID is looking at the plans, too," she said. "The owner wants to get this up quickly."

The architect for the project, Rick Bennett, initially brought plans to the planning and zoning commissioners in August. They denied the plans, asking him to return with more detailed plans.

Bennett returned to the commissioners on Nov. 5 to present updated, more detailed site and architectural plans for the new building.

As he began reworking the plans earlier this summer, Bennett said he had to make adjustments to account for property taken from the lot when the boulevard was widened.

"The correct plat was not filed, so we went back all the way through the records and finally found the right-of-way from (the New Mexico Department of Transportation)," Bennett said. "This lot is smaller than the one we presented in August. It still works in regards to parking and setbacks. The grading and drainage plan has been completed, so we are ready for the next step of a building permit."

In addition to the new building, Bennett said the business plans to have a mobile home on the property for a caretaker, as allowed in the village's commercial zones. There is an existing mobile home on the west side of the property, behind the current building.

Bennett also noted that the new building would actually reduce the number of plumbing fixtures on the property, allowing them to keep the existing double grinder that's on site.

"Everything else is good. There is three-phase power from across the road and we are working with PNM on that. We have our grading plan," he said.

Zoning Commissioner Carl Hulsey asked if the drainage and pond plan was for catchment of water off the property.

Bennett said the property is in a flood plain, and the building was raised by three feet, resulting in a retention basin on the property.

He noted that water is currently being discharged onto Valle Grande Road, to the south of the property.

"Even in Albuquerque, you have to have drainage," Hulsey said. "You can't drain into the streets."

Bennett said it was his understanding that there could be "free discharge" if the property owner knew where the water was going. Hulsey disagreed, saying he thought the water had to stay on the property.

The architect said retaining the water on the property wouldn't be a problem.

"I laid this out where I thought the ponds should be," he said.

Bennett said the plans for the property didn't create any new impervious areas, and would actually add landscaped areas that would allow water do percolate down into the ground.

While water currently flows onto Valle Grande, Hatch said, the hydrological calculations for the new plans show that flow has been decreased.

Chairman Dan Garrison pointed out that Valley Grande has no storm drains to allow water to quickly drain off the roadway.

Garrison said the village's ordinances stipulated that water be retained on an owner's property. Bennett asked if the ordinance was referring to the volume of water generated in a 100-year storm. Commissioner Karen McAda said it specified a 10-year storm.

McAda pointed out that the plans showed the mobile home sitting 7 1/2 feet from the rear property line, when village ordinances specified 10 feet.

"Is there some clause because it's not a permanent structure," McAda asked.

Commissioner Sharon Eastman said the only exception to the 10-foot rear setback was for accessory buildings.

Bennett said the property owner, who would be living in the mobile home as the caretaker, planned to put the mobile home in the same location as the old one to line up with existing plumbing lines.

"But we can move it closer to the building, that's not a problem at all," he said.

Commissioners also asked what type of fencing the property owner planned to use between the commercial property and abutting residential lots. Bennett said the plan was for a solid fence of some type, either concrete block or possibly wood, that would completely inhibit views of adjacent property from either side.

Bennett also assured the commissioners that any security lighting on the side of the building facing residential properties would be pointed down to the ground.

The plans indicated two handicapped parking spots near the middle of the building. Hulsey asked if that was the proper number of spaces and whether they met ADA requirements.

Bennett said state statute determined the number of accessible spaces based on the square footage of a retail space, and the spaces at the business did meet federal requirements.

He added that he would talk with the engineer to clarify the ponding issues, as well as make sure the mobile home was set with the proper setbacks and get definitive details on the fencing materials.

Garrison said the commissioners could either deny the plans and ask Bennett to return in December or approve the plans with the stipulation that he provide documentation to Hatch that the issues have been resolved.

Eastman made a motion to that effect, allowing Hatch to issue final approval of the site plan once it was shown the company had addressed the commission's concerns. Hulsey seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Project developers have been taking all the necessary steps to get this project completed, including the transfer of the liquor license to Kelly.

According to the minutes from the July 19 minutes of the public hearing on the liquor license transfer from the Longhorn Saloon to Kelly Liquors, the owner of the saloon, Phyllis Cowdrey, was selling the establishment.

Village Councilor Russ Walkup noted there was a church north of the establishment, and asked how far away it was.

In the minutes, Hatch said according to measurements done on Valencia County's GIS mapping website, the church was 538 feet away. State statute prohibits a liquor establishment within 300 feet of a church or school.

Councilor Wayne Ake made a motion to approve the license transfer, Walkup seconded and the item passed.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.