The controversial proposed 49-lot Camino Fiesta subdivision in Taos faces yet another setback as the engineer who conducted the traffic study for the development was not licensed at the time. The state is investigating and potentially could require a new traffic study. The would-be development next to the Not Forgotten Outreach farm and across from Cid's Food Market has created public outcry since its introduction, and this is the latest stumbling block.
Timothy Simmons, president of Civil Transformations Inc. based in Albuquerque, performed the traffic study in June, 2017. According to online documents from New Mexico Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors, Simmons' license had lapsed at the end of 2016 and he did not get it reinstated until Sept. 6, 2017.
Jim Murray, public information officer for New Mexico Department of Transportation's 5th District confirmed these findings.
"It has recently come to our attention that the traffic study that was submitted by the contractor, and used as a basis for our approval for access to the project, was done by an engineer whose license may have been lapsed at the time the study was done. We are currently investigating further," said Murray.
Simmons declined to comment for this story, but did say that his license "has been restored. I'm currently fine. There's no issue there."
The proposed subdivision's developer Alex Abeyta of Abeyta Engineering did not respond before press time Wednesday to several phone and text messages requesting comment.
The Dec. 2 Taos Planning and Zoning committee meeting was full of concerned citizens, with traffic being one of the primary issues raised about the project, but developer Abeyta said he wasn't going to do another traffic study, and wanted the committee to either approve or deny the application.
Eventually, the committee voted to table Abeyta's application pending updates regarding the acequia access and easement issues. The traffic study was not an issue with the application at the time. However, with the recent revelation about the traffic study engineer's lapsed license, it remains to be seen how the development will be affected going forward.