Neighbors raise concerns over potential location of new APS bus depot

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The potential location for a new APS bus depot is causing some neighbors to express concern.

"We were all just kind of blindsided by it and concerned,” said Amy Owen, who lives in Rincon Loop in the East Mountains.

"The night I heard about it, I didn’t sleep, like, at all,” she added.

Owen, along with other neighbors in the peaceful East Mountains neighborhood, is worried.

"I think if you talked to every resident out there, they’d tell you ways it would impact their lives,” she said.

APS is planning to build a depot in the area that would keep 50 buses. The nearly 12,000-square-foot garage would also have a mechanic building, fueling station, and wash bay.

Among the neighbors’ concerns are noise, pollution, traffic, and the biggest concern of all—water.

"The bus depot would sit right above the aquifer that feeds our well,” Owen said.

"Maybe become contaminated because they’re going to put a diesel fueling station there, and honestly the more I talk about it, I’m like, a diesel fueling station in our beautiful neighborhood. It just— it really bothers me,” she added.

Bernalillo County Commissioner for District 5 Charlene Pyskoty said the concerns of the neighbors are valid. Pyskoty said she even shares their concerns, but said there’s not much she can do.

"Because APS is its own governmental agency, Bernalillo County does not have jurisdiction over what can be built on that piece of property,” she said.

Neighbors said the area is zoned as residential, but Pyskoty said the zoning doesn’t apply to APS.

According to a signed sale agreement from 1989, the sale of the land was contingent on APS agreeing to only build an elementary school. However, APS said they can’t sign anything that would legally obligate future boards or taxpayers, and that there is no binding agreements in place.

"Having a large bus depot, you know, smack in the middle of it would just change everything,” Owen said.

Commissioner Pyskoty said she hopes APS will consider other lots in the East Mountains that they already own.

As of now, APS is in the review part of their planning. If they decide to move forward, bids for construction will go out in March, and they could break ground as early as May.