By Owen Woods |

After hearing from neighbors, wildlife experts, land use staff, and Justin Davis – whose request for a special use permit for a proposed new concert venue brought everyone together – the Alamosa County Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to deny the permit application.

The county commissioners decision was expected given that the Alamosa Planning Commission had voted earlier to deny the special use permit application. Had it been approved, Davis could have moved forward on developing 80 acres of unincorporated Alamosa County land northeast of Alamosa, on the corner of County Road 4 South and County Road 116 South into a concert venue and campsites.

“This is not easy, we wish that everything that came to us was an easy black and white decision,” said Lori Laske, chair of Alamosa County’s Board of Commissioners after public comment was closed. “But this is very much one that falls into that area that we have to look at a variety of different things and we have to look and say, ‘What is the best fit for Alamosa County?’”

Land use and building director Richard Hubler gave the commissioners an overview of the project as well as a summary from February’s planning commission meeting. During that meeting, the planning commissioners voted 3-1 to deny the proposal and not recommend approval to the county commissioners. 

The majority of the public comment was in opposition of the venue. Neighbors and others raised many concerns ranging from traffic, noise levels, wildlife impacts, and property values. 

The property sits along a nature corridor that animals use to travel between the Great Sand Dunes National Park, the Blanca Wetlands, the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge and beyond. Before the February planning commission meeting, a number of wildlife groups from around the Valley sent letters with concerns. The Bureau of Land Management said they did not oppose the venue, but had serious concerns for how it may impact wildlife movements and how an increase in recreation may affect animal populations.