Second of three lawsuits against Ute water project dropped
January 11, 2013
The attorney representing the South Shore Home Owners Association dropped a second lawsuit filed against the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority.
Thomas Hnasko of Albuquerque dropped the suit on Thursday; it was scheduled to be heard Thursday in the 1st Judicial District Court in Santa Fe.
Hnasko said the association argued that the authority violated a 1996 covenant requiring lots to be used only for single-family residences and connected guest homes. He said after reviewing the case, he believed the authority could violate the covenant because they hold powers of eminent domain, though they have to pay the landowners compensation.
"It was my judgment the homeowners association was not the proper party to seek damages," Hnasko said.
Hnasko said the homeowners individually could still file against the authority for compensation for the violation.
The authority is responsible for the construction, operation and management of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System, also known as the Ute Water Project.
The project would pump water from the Ute Reservoir in Quay County to the member entities of Curry Roosevelt counties.
With this case being dropped, the authority can now focus on the beginning of phase I construction; an intake structure at Ute Lake, said authority Chair Gayla Brumfield.
Brumfield said the authority still awaits a on a suit filed in federal court against the authority by the Village of Logan. The village charges the authority violated the National Environmental Protection Act by using incorrect data in its environmental assessment of the project's potential impact, said Village Manager Larry Wallin.
Wallin said the case was heard in August and now they and the authority are awaiting a judge's ruling. He said this final case will have a great impact on the communities and economies in Quay County, especially Logan.