Situated on the southeast side of Puerto Peñasco is the area known as Las Conchas. It is home to the Intercultural Center for Studies of the Desert and Ocean (CEDO), as well as to the highly anticipated November “Art in the Park” event, and numerous permanent and temporary residents both from Mexico and abroad. In 1982, various residents from the area formed a Mexican civil association, Asociación de Vecinos de Las Conchas, A.C. as a way to work together in coordination with various city administrations to provide services and security to the area. This has included attention to grading the roads (particularly after the odd rains that fall in Peñasco), ongoing beach monitoring by security personnel staffed by the association, trash pick-up, and support of the broader community of Puerto Peñasco through its active Community Relations Committee. In the over 30 years of the civil association, several people in Las Conchas have contributed tremendously to Puerto Peñasco, from helping to cover electric bills at Casa Hogar home for the elderly, donation of food packages to area families, as well as support for local educational and cultural programs.
One point of contention that has come to the forefront recently is the long-standing (albeit remodeled on different occasions) security entry booth or “guard shack” at the entrance to Las Conchas. Though the booth had stood in one form or another for about 30 years, it did not serve the same purpose as security entries to general condominium resorts as it was located on a public roadway and therefore could not restrict entry (or rather transit). On May 27th, following administrative procedures pursued by the City Administration of Puerto Peñasco, a judicial order to remove the guard shack from the entry of Las Conchas became a reality and many were surprised to see the three-decade old entry demolished.
In a sit-down interview with Las Conchas Board Members recently, they clarified some questions that have arisen.
Las Conchas: What we would like everyone to know is the that the Las Conchas HOA, the Asociación de Vecinos de Las Conchas, A.C., is a legal Mexican entity. This has been confirmed by the Supreme Court in three separate legal rulings. Our President and Board of Directors are elected as specified under the Articles of Incorporation, which have been in place since 1982. We want to send the right message.
People have always had free access, or rather transit, into Las Conchas. Everyone is welcome here. Our security gate was in place just to know who is here and to help keep workers and homeowners safe. Our Security Team continues to operate 24 hours a day,7 days a week. Security patrols the beach, the desert, and the roads to keep our community safe. At this point, we need to emphasize, we provide security. The local police department provides the law enforcement. We do not cross that line. When there is a security issue, the Security Team identifies the issue and then notifies the police. That’s the way it’s always been.
The original developer put in the basic infrastructure of the community . We have supported and improved it over the years, through our HOA fees. Whenever any member of the association undertakes a new or additional construction, we direct them to secure a building permit from the City of Puerto Peñasco and pay any other required associated fees.. All owners pay OOMAPAS for water directly, and our community has a contract in place with OOMISLIM for trash pick-up.
Regarding the amount stated to be owed to the City, we always pay our bills from an invoice. We have not received a bill from the City. To the best of our knowledge, no other homeowners association in Puerto Peñasco has been asked to pay anything, or received a bill.
We are a Mexican legal entity. Many of our owners are permanent legal residents. We care about this country. We have invested in this country. We want to continue to contribute to Puerto Penasco. We want to do what’s right.
Looking back a couple of years, the guard shack first took center stage in 2012 when the Las Conchas civil association began issuing passes to visitors, taxis, builders, and renters (through individual rental companies), in addition to the resident passes already in place. The point, emphasized Las Conchas association members at the time, was not to limit entry to people, but rather as a way of knowing who was coming in and out of the area, stating, “With 73 beach access spots, one every 109 meters, and 8 kilometers of beach, the area of Las Conchas continues to welcome residents, renters, and visitors alike. We’re not stopping anybody or restricting entrance to Las Conchas – never have, never will.”