Neighbors concerned about possible PNM substation in the heights

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – PNM had plans to build a transfer station and put transmission lines at a busy Northeast Heights intersection surrounded by homes and businesses. However, when neighbors there complained, it seems like PNM set its sights on another area.

A nice neighborhood and mountain views are what attracted Sara Sternberger to her home on Palomas that she moved into in September. “We love that,” Sternberger said. “In fact, we even bought the lot next door so that if anybody wanted to buy a lot and build a house, it would not obstruct our views.”

That all changed when she said PNM came knocking on her door last month saying they may be building a substation right across the street. “Never any word or mention this would be a possibility,” Sternberger said.

Sternberger said PNM told her they were going to build a substation at Eubank and Paseo Del Norte, but were now considering other options citing opposition from neighbors.

Now, they may be coming to her neck of the woods, Browning and Paseo, just a block away. “Why would it work here?” Sternberger asked. “I can’t imagine they are going to have any more support from the community than they did for the other site.”

PNM confirmed to News 13 that they are considering both the west and east sides of Browning at south Paseo. They are also still considering the southwest corner of Eubank and Paseo.

“I don’t know why they are so focused on getting a substation in a residential community,” Sternberger said.

Rep. Bill Rehm is against PNM’s plan, penning a letter to PNM earlier this week. Rep. Rehm said he believes PNM is just trying to save a buck. He recently introduced legislation that he said would make it more difficult to change the zoning of residential land.

“They are trying to purchase residential land which is cheaper and use it for commercial property use and frankly, I find that offensive,” Rep. Rehm said.

This comes while neighbors worry about dwindling property values, health risks, water use and losing their mountain views. “The question still for us is, why here?” Sternberger asked.

Neighbors said they are meeting with PNM tomorrow night to voice their concerns. PNM said they are still gathering information, and no final decision has been made.

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