Negotiations on the property stalled and the relationship between the agencies chilled last month when disagreements arose over another district property, the site of La Paloma School on Lone Tree Way. The district claims it was assured by former City Manager John Stevenson that the property was, or would be, zoned commercial when it came time to sell, and that the district had agreed to move the school at the city's request. The land is currently zoned residential, and is therefore worth up to $3 million less.
City officials, on the other hand, say no assurance of commercial zoning was made.
Councilman Chris Becnel declined to say what the council discussed in its Tuesday evening session, other than that he is "hopeful" a deal can be struck on the transportation facility, commonly known as the bus barn. Prior to the current rift, the two agencies had been working together on several projects, including the Civic Center, the new La Paloma site on Guthrie Lane, the Liberty High School swimming pool, the district's new transportation facility, and the construction of improved access to Heritage High School.
It's unclear how the other projects would be impacted if the bus barn talks reach an impasse.
The LUHSD closed session was scheduled for Wednesday evening, after press time.
Becnel said that the issue of the bus barn must be resolved in the next 30 days or additional expenses would be incurred on the Civic Center. District officials have repeatedly said, however, that the current draft agreement for the bus barn alone required 30 days for the city to craft, and that it would need some time to review it.
Becnel said the council was not trying to hurry the district as a negotiation tool.
"That's not our intent," he said. "The reality is that we need to move our project forward."