Tijeras residents living near Rincon Loop continue to fight a proposed APS bus depot, and has hired an attorney, said the group’s media contact, Talia Freedman.
The proposed depot could hold up to 50 buses at a time off North Zamora Road and Rincon Loop, and would also have a wash bay, a fuel station, a mechanic station, offices, and an 80-car parking lot.
“I think one of the biggest developments is that we were able to get ahold of our covenants and restrictions, basically everything that was recorded at the county for that property including the deed that they signed,” Freedman said. “Even in the deed it is clear that they referenced the document that states they will only use it for an elementary school.”
Freedman said residents are also speaking during APS board meetings, since a “public forum makes it a really good way to communicate with [board members] and with other people who might be concerned.”
She also said that the community in Rincon Loop is staying very closely in touch with each other to make sure everyone is up to date and informed on what is happening.
“[We’re] collaborating together the way we hoped APS would collaborate with the community in deciding a good location for this bus barn,” she said. “It’s brought a really broad spectrum of neighbors who had only known each other peripherally or not known each other at all previously. We’re communicating pretty much daily and just really working well together and kind of giving assignments and seeing who feels called to do which piece and things, like who feels comfortable speaking in public and who feels better writing something. Who feels better talking to other neighbors … We’re just really working together as a community and trying to hold APS accountable for their contracts and for their commitment to actually do what is best for the community.”
Freedman said the community has also hired legal counsel to consult about the covenants.
Joseph Karnes, the attorney that represents the residents of Rincon Loop, said he thinks the covenants hold weight to stop the project.
“I take the position that the covenants are enforceable and prohibit use of the APS property that’s covered by the covenant … [The property] cannot be used for anything other than houses or an elementary school,” Karnes said. “I hope and expect that the APS will respect those covenants and decide to abandon their project. If they don’t, then they’ll put my clients in a difficult spot and they may decide, and we’ve discussed this … if they tell us to go pound sand, I can have us in court real quick if my clients so desire. My hope is to avoid the lawsuit. To me, there’s a binding covenant here.”
Karnes said that while he does hope APS will come around and stop the project, it is ultimately up to his clients to decide whether or not they want to bring a lawsuit forward if APS continues to move forward.
“I’m not a decision-maker,” he said “I work on behalf of my clients and so if we’re faced with that prospect, and if they say … file a lawsuit, I sure know how to do that and I will.”
Freedman said her understanding is that since the APS school board voted for the construction of the bus depot, all they need to do is “put this on their agenda and they need to undo the vote they did that approved this project.”
Freedman also said she hopes APS will do the right thing for the community by realizing the mistake they’ve made and reverse their decision. “I do think we will be following both the legal and the public pressure aspect of this going forward,” she said.
APS has not returned any of The Independent’s many requests for comment on this proposal.
Opponents started a website, rinconloop.weebly.com.