Daily Newspaper for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend, Far West Texas

Main Menu|Archives Menu|Classified|Advertising|Monahans|


Wednesday, Nov. 27, 1996

Zoning board delays action on beer sales

Return to Menu

Staff Writer
PECOS, November 27, 1996 - Zoning board members need more time to study
the comprehensive zoning plan for Pecos and the legal ramifications of
spot zoning before making a decision on a change in the Parker Heights

Jesse Stephens, elected Tuesday to head the five-member Planning and
Zoning Commission, said that two members are new to the board and others
have not met for four years.

After hearing an hour of testimony on both sides of the issue of
re-zoning La Tienda and Pecos Autoplex from C-1 to C-2, the board set
another meeting for 6 p.m. Dec. 16 to make a decision.

"What are requirements to make a change like this?" Stephens asked City
Attorney Scott Johnson. "Do you have to have some foundation?"

Johnson said the request is more far-reaching than sale of beer, which
drew a room full of opponents and proponents to City Hall for a public

If the request were granted, a wide range of businesses would be
permitted, Johnson said. The Pecos City Code lists 38 permitted uses
beyond those allowed in a C-1 zone.

Bill Fenn, who owns La Tienda Thriftway, said he asked for the zone
change so he can add beer and wine sales to his full-service supermarket.

While such sales are permitted under a C-2 zone, the change would also
permit a beer parlor to open in the area.

Oscar Saenz asked Johnson if the board can approve the change with
restrictions, and Johnson said they can.

Johnson said this would probably be considered spot zoning, which is
defined as a small area singled out for different treatment from similar
surrounding land without any changes and conditions either to that
district or to the surrounding area.

"That's the central issue," he told the board. "Has the physical
condition of the area changed? Is there a public need for the change? I
am inclined to think probably there is not a public need.

"Is the change part of a comprehensive change for the general welfare of
the community and relationship to health, safety and welfare?" he asked,
reminding the board that the Pecos City Council will make the final

Stephens, vice-chairman Frank Spencer, Saenz, Johnny Teague, Bill
Oglesby and Erasmo Acosta said they would consider both sides of the

Fenn said he needs to sell beer and wine to survive in a competitive
marketplace, particularly with Furr's and Lowe's Marketplace stores in

He said his family refused for years to sell alcoholic beverages in
their stores, but since adding it to stores in New Mexico have seen a
marked increase in total sales.

Comparing Thriftway and Furr's sales in Artesia, Fenn said he learned
that they were losing $100,000 per week in sales before they added
alcoholic beverages, a bakery and deli.

"We have to provide facilities that are competitive with most of the
market," he said. "We are asking to level the playing field."

Regarding questions raised about security, Fenn said they have never had
one police call related to alcohol.

"This past year I have spent over $1 million to put a full-service store
in Pecos, and I used local contractors. I support Pecos. I am just
asking for Pecos to support me."

Norley Suriott, who owns Pecos Autoplex, said they are not going to sell
beer and wine.

"I believe that passing this and not having obstacles, we can bring in
other businesses. I have told other stores what's going on, and they
said `let us know how they are reacting.' They don't want to fight

He mentioned the possibility of attracting mini-malls with 12-15 stores.

Jim Ivy said that several businesses are opposed to the sale of beer and
wine along Eddy Street since Furr's tried to bring it in two years ago.
Fenn bought Furr's store and renamed it La Tienda in November, 1995.

"I want to assure you I am 100 percent pro business. I want more
businesses of a quality nature," Ivy said. "This has always been a
family-friendly zone, and that's what we are asking you to consider."

Roy Rich said that Fenn could sell beer and wine from the old Hill's
Thriftway store on Cedar Street, which is already zoned and licensed for
it. Fenn closed that store after purchasing it in December, 1995.

Michael Wyles said he opposes the change. "When Fenn came into the city,
he knew the zoning...He didn't have to buy that store, and I don't think
we should change the zoning to accommodate him."

Matt Williamson said he is an old grocery man, and lower prices and a
friendlier atmosphere in La Tienda would help beat the competition.

"I don't think anyone is going to leave Pecos to buy alcoholic
beverages," he said.

Colt Chevrolet owner Kevin Duke said he is in favor of the zone change.

"I remember when those stores were vacant, and they tried to give one of
them to the county for a library," Duke said. "Now they are all full. I
am glad to have them."

Showtime owner Randy Castillo of Lubbock said he was discouraged from
opening a business here, but "It has done great for me. I am thankful
for community supporting us. We put the Pizza Pro in there, and we are
going to put another business in there. I am all for it."

Ron Garcia, Calvary Baptist Church pastor, said he opposes the sale of
beer at La Tienda.

"I read in the paper where if the zone is changed, a gambling parlor
would also be in there. If we let beer and gambling parlor in there, it
wouldn't say much to our young people."

Castillo denied plans to put gambling and bingo in the store. "We are in
the process of putting in Western Auto and hopefully will get a
franchise approved next year," he said.

Attorney Randy Reynolds said the C-1 zone has been in place 40 years,
and Fenn has the burden to present a reason why it should be changed.

"We all know under zoning laws, when you are trying to change a zone, it
can't be for the benefit of an individual," he said.

John Morrow, Valley Distributors owner of Fort Stockton, said he is for
fair treatment for all business.

"There is a tremendous amount of business that goes out of Fort
Stockton, Pecos and Monahans to Midland-Odessa due to amenities other
supermarkets provide," he said. "Amenities Fenn has added are definitely
not profit centers, but services to act as a draw and maintain business
and prevent it from going out of town."

Sergio Zubeldia said he lives three blocks from La Tienda, and he
opposes the zone change.

He said his jail ministry puts him in touch with many problems that are
alcohol related.

"I feel we have enough outlets for people to have access to alcohol if
they want it," he said.

Kevin LaStrape said the sale of alcoholic beverages is not as important
to competition as raising the level of service, "as he has done. He has
done a good job of improving the store, and if he would continue, with
specials, service and advertising campaigns, I think he would have more
success than with a zoning change."

School teacher Ken Garlitz said he tries to install moral values in the
children he teaches.

"It saddens me that a family would stand up and tell you that they are
willing to change their philosophy so they can make more money," he
said. "I am opposed to changing the zone.

Armando Hinojos said he is for re-zoning. "That's not going to be a beer
joint," he said. "It will be to go, not to drink it there, and it will
bring more revenue and we have a chance to bring in more businesses.
This town is dying."

Jeff Bowman, an attorney representing the applicants, said the issue is
not spot zoning, but variances to the present zone. And the community
would benefit, he said.

It was pointed out to Bowman that the request is for a change from C-1
to C-2 zone, which would allow numerous types of business, including a
beer parlor.

"I can understand beer sales when you are competing with another store,"
said David Castillo. "I don't see the benefit. Prices are already high
enough. People are asking why we don't put in a store."

New businesses coming in compete with those already established,
sometimes driving them out of business, he said. "You are going to pay a
price. I believe they are doing well enough as it is. People aren't
going to Odessa to buy beer. They are buying in bulk because they want
to save money on the food they eat."

In his rebuttal, Fenn said he didn't change the family philosophy to
make more money, but to survive.

"If you have ever borrowed money from a bank, you have to pay it back,
and sometimes you have to do what you have to do."

He said the courts should decide the issue of spot zoning.

Beer sales are permitted five blocks to the north of La Tienda, at Town
and Country at Third and Eddy streets. Most businesses which sell beer
and wine in Pecos are located on Third or Cedar streets, and along
Highway 17 and Interstate 20.

Stephens said he hated to postpone a decision because everyone wants an

"But we have a lot of things to consider," he said. "We just received
this outline. We'd better find out what's happening."

Fee hike won't hit area's national parks

Return to Menu

From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, November 27, 1996 - An avid hiker and rock-climbing guide at
Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, Amy McGeachin will be hit hard by
a hike in fees at national parks. And she couldn't care less.

``It isn't really high considering what you get,'' said Ms. McGeachin,
who lives in Jackson Hole, Wyo. ``I'm willing to pay the money because
the parks are a necessity to people. It's something that should be here

Outdoor enthusiasts nationwide echoed Ms. McGeachin's sentiments Tuesday
upon hearing that entrance fees will double at some of the most popular
national parks and will be charged for the first time at others.

The new and increased fees for admission, snowmobiling, boating and
back-country camping are designed to raise an estimated $30 million to
$50 million for 106 public land sites.

The increases will not affect three of the national parks in the area,
and the fees at the affected sites will go down again after three years
unless Congress reauthorizes the fee hikes.

"I know there are about 100 parks in question, but we're lucky we're not
one of them," said Administrative officer Paula Bates at Fort Davis
National Historic Site.

Bates stated that no rate changes have been planned for the future,
where the rates are currently $2 per person or $4 per car.

"The last time we had a rate change was in January of 1994, when the
Golden Age Pass was raised from free to $10 for a lifetime," said Park
Ranger Glen Clark.

"We're just lucky our rates will stay the same, because we enjoy
visitors coming to our park," said Bates.

Big Bend National Park has also reported that they will have no changes.

"Our park is not one of the parks of the demonstration parks," said Big
Bend's Public Relations representative Valerie Naylor.

"Our fees will not be going up and we're glad," she said.

Current fees at that park are $5 per private vehicles and $7 for camping

"We have camping facilities, and those haven't changed either," said

Carlsbad Caverns' fees also will remain unchanged, according to
Operations Supervisor Doug Ballou.

"We started charging fees on some of our special tours three or four
years ago," he said. "At the time the government was experimenting with
ways to enhance revenues.

However, for now, Ballou said, "We're very happy with our fee structure,
and don't have any plans to increase our fees."

No word was available on fees at the area's other national park,
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, located 35 miles southwest of
Carlsbad Caverns.

``While everything else has gone up in price over the past 70 years,
Yellowstone is still $10 per car,'' Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt
said when announcing the changes Tuesday in Washington. ``That's less
than the price of a good video of the park, and much less than it costs
to visit an imitation Yellowstone at an amusement park in Florida.''

The biggest hikes start in December and January at four of the
most-visited U.S. national parks - Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon
and Grand Tetons - where the cost of an annual pass per car will go from
$15 to $40.

The weekly fee at those parks will increase from $10 to $20 per car.
Fees at most other identified sites will range from $2 per person to
about $20 per car.

``These new fees will be a down payment on the resource protection,
restoration and general maintenance that the parks desperately need,''
said Paul Pritchard, president of the National Parks and Conservation

The fees will be the first ever at the Bureau of Land Management, where
17 sites will begin charging daily fees for entrance and camping. The
plans also cover 47 National Park sites and 42 Fish and Wildlife Service

Annual entrance fees will increase from the current $15 to $20 at, among
others, Acadia, Badlands, Crater Lake, Everglades, Glacier, Mount
Rainier, Rocky Mountain and Shenandoah national parks. Olympic National
Park's annual fee will go from $15 to $25.

At some other parks, admission fees will remain the same, but prices
charged for ``interpretive'' services - such as a ranger-guided tour or
a hay ride - will go up. Great Smoky Mountains National Park will charge
a $2 interpretive fee per visitor, for example, and Redwood National
Park a $20 interpretive fee per visitor.

Interior Department spokesman John Wright said the department was
reviewing the use of passes such as the $25 Golden Eagle, good for
unlimited access to all national parks for a year. In the meantime, he
said, such passes will be honored.

Babbitt said planned improvements include:

-Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Wyoming and Montana,
rehabilitate campgrounds and open new trails.

-Georgia's Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, repair 60 miles
of trails.

-Florida's Everglades National Park, new grills and picnic tables.

-California's Yosemite National Park, new shuttle buses.

-Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, south of Minnesota's Twin
Cities, handicapped access to fishing.

-Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, 50 acres of
rehabilitated wetland habitat for hunters.

-Texas Amistad National Recreation Area, new campsites.

Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise. All rights reserved. AP contributed to
this report.

Thanksgiving travelers can expect icy highways

Return to Menu

From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, November 27, 1996 - No matter where you are going for
Thanksgiving, forecasters predict you may face cold, rainy weather. And
if you stay home, it's more of the same.

From Port Arthur's rain and drizzle to sleet in Amarillo, the
Thanksgiving weekend looks bleak, and roads across much of West Texas
are expected to be icy tonight and Thanksgiving morning.

Forecasts for the Permian Basin and Upper Trans Pecos call for a good
chance of light rain or freezing rain tonight, with clouds and fog. Lows
will be in the lower to mid 30s, while Thanksgiving Day the forecast
calls for a chance of light rain or freezing rain.

In the South Plains the forecasts calls for a chance of light freezing
rain or sleet tonight and Thursday, with lows from 25 to around 30, and
highs from around 40 to the mid 40s. More snow or sleet could fall
Thursday night.

Concho Valley precipitation is expected to be limited to a slight chance
of light rain tonight and Thanksgiving Day, with lows in the 30s and
highs in the 40s.

Temperatures are expected to be warmer in Far West Texas, with a chance
of rain, while areas of North Central Texas will be cloudy and cool with
a chance of rain in the western areas, possibly mixed with sleet.

Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise. All rights reserved. AP contributed to
this report.


Return to Menu

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained
from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County
Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, or other agencies;
and from interviews with officers of those agencies.

On Nov. 18, police took into custody a male juvenile at the Pecos High
School upon request of a juvenile probation officer. The teen was known
to have violated his probation.

Jason J. Acosta was arrested by police Nov. 19 for three outstanding
fine warrants at the Town of Pecos City Municipal Court. His age and
address were not given.

Nicolas Jurado was arrested by police on Nov. 18 after he turned himself
in for outstanding municipal fines that morning. His age and address
were not indicated.

Nelson Lee McGrew, 33, 811 E. 10th, was arrested by police after being
served a warrant for criminal trespass the afternoon of Nov. 18 in the
500 block of South Oak Street.

Josefina Alvarez reported to police a case of criminal mischief after
she discovered a window to her residence at 212 N. Pecan St., broken the
night of Nov. 18.

Dominic R. Martinez was arrested by police Nov. 21 at the municipal
court after being served three warrants for failing to yield right of
way, no driver's license and failing to appear. His age and address were
not available.

On Nov. 21, police arrested Mary Bell Hernandez on warrants for
disorderly conduct and failing to appear. She was taken into custody at
the municipal court the morning of said date. Her age and address was
not given.

Police arrested David Fuentes for public intoxication the night of Nov.
21 at 517 E. Fifth St. His age and address were not indicated.

Elujio Rubio was arrested at the Saragosa Park for disorderly conduct
the afternoon of Nov. 21. His age and address were not available.

Gerald Saenz and Arturo Saenz were arrested on warrants for outstanding
fines in the 1300 block of South Cedar Street. They were apprehended
just before 2 p.m. Nov. 21. Their ages and addresses were not given.

Ruben Fuentes was arrested by police for an outstanding warrants
charging him with violating a promise to appear and allowing animals to
run at large. He was arrested Nov. 22. The place of arrest, his age and
address were not indicated.

Pete Nunez reported to police a burglary of his residence, 1414 S. Plum
St., on Nov. 22. He indicated that the break-in occurred sometime
between 3:45 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

On Nov. 24, Cipriano Gomez reported to police that sometime between 5:30
p.m. and 10:30 p.m. an unknown party took without his consent a
cellular, bag phone from his vehicle, while it was parked at 714 S.
Peach. The phone was valued at $129.

On Nov. 24, Isaac Bustillos was arrested by police for outstanding
fines. He was taken into custody at the Town and Country on Palmer
Street during the early morning hours. His age and address were not


Mary Alvarez Ornelas

Return to Menu

Services are incomplete for Mary Alvarez Ornelas, 42, of Pecos who died,
Tuesday, Nov. 26 at Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Return to Menu

High Tuesday 57, low last night 30. Tonight, cloudy with areas of fog. A
50 percent chance of light rain. Low in the mid 30s. East wind 5-15 mph.
Thanksgiving Day, cloudy with a 40 percent chance of light rain. High
45-50. Southeast wind 10-20 mph.

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall
not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or
redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP
Materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for
personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for
any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the
transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages
arising from any of the foregoing.

Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Return to Menu

Return to Home Page