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June 25 First News: Santa Fe City Council Unanimously Rejects Proposed Apartments (Listen)

Following hours of public comment, Santa Fe City Councilors voted seven-to-zero to reject a proposal to build a nearly 400-unit apartment complex on Agua Fria Road at the former Ecoversity site. The New Mexican reports the Council’s rejection followed hours of public comment and the unanimous vote against came around one-am. Comments pitted those favoring to keep a vestige of agricultural land in the city limits against those who argued about the need for more affordable housing to, among other things, attract younger people to move or live in Santa Fe, where housing costs are generally more expensive than other New Mexico cities. Opponents living in the area also expressed concern over the increased traffic the project would bring to Agua Fria and West Alameda Street. The group that owns or has options there now plans to regroup and decide its next step. It had originally desired a 450-unit complex.

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission is giving the state's largest electric utility more time to finalize agreements related to the future of the San Juan Generating Station. As part of an agreement with the state and federal government, Public Service Co. of New Mexico plans to shut down part of the coal-fired power plant to curb haze-causing pollution in the Four Corners region. The plan also calls for PNM to install pollution controls on the remaining two units and to fill the resulting void with a combination of coal, nuclear, natural gas and solar power. The commission on Wednesday gave PNM until August first to file agreements that the panel will consider before making a final decision. Commissioner Valerie Espinoza, who represents the PRC District including Santa Fe and north-central New Mexico issued the sole dissenting vote in this matter. Espinoza after the meeting issued a statement, saying, quote: “It is my hope that PNM will take the lead and rethink the proposed plan as recommended today, and work with the opposition to formulate a solution that will be a win-win for all customers. This will demonstrate a willingness to work with the interveners and the PRC.”

The Bernalillo County Commission has approved the development agreement between Western Albuquerque Land Holdings and the county which impacts the Santolina Master Plan. The agreement passed on a 3-2 vote Wednesday. The commission approved the Santolina Master Plan last week. Western Albuquerque Land Holdings received approval of a Planned Communities Level A Master Plan and Planned Communities Zoning for nearly 14-thousand acres of undeveloped land in the county's southwestern area. The Santolina Master Plan is contingent upon future demand and market conditions. It provides a general framework for development over the next 40 to 50 years. The master plan includes residential villages and village commercial uses, two business parks, a town center, an industrial/business park, an urban center plus parks, trails, public open space, educational facilities, roads and utilities.

Santa Fe Police officers are investigating the suspicious death of Ms. Melissa Tsosie, 52 years old, who was found deceased just after 7:00am this morning near the walking trail off of St. Michael's Drive between St. Michael's Drive and Siringo Road.  This is being treated as a homicide investigation.  Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Santa Fe Police.

Canon Camera will be sponsoring the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta for the first time in more than 20 years. The Albuquerque Journal reporting that Canon will be backing the annual event that draws tens of thousands of spectators. Fiesta organizers made the announcement at a news conference. Canon USA executive Doris Higginbotham says she was won over after attending her first fiesta last year. The company has signed a three-year sponsorship agreement. Fiesta spokesman Tom Garrity says the nine-day fiesta hasn't had a huge sponsor since 2001, when Kodak withdrew. Canon was the main sponsor from 1980 through 1994. Canon's involvement will include new events such as a photo contest and interactive displays on how to use their products.

Famed actor Al Pacino is coming to New Mexico with two film productions centered on Oscar Wilde's play Salomé. The New Mexican reports that the star of The Godfather trilogy will appear onstage in Santa Fe for an interview in tandem with screenings of his documentary Wilde Salomé and Salomé, which is a filmed version of the stage play. Pacino's July 19th visit to the Center for Contemporary Arts coincides with The Santa Fe Opera's production of Richard Strauss' operatic adaptation of Salomé, which premieres July 18. Wilde wrote Salomé — based on the biblical tale of the woman who agreed to perform the sensual dance of the seven veils for her stepfather, King Herod, in return for the beheading of John the Baptist — in 1891.

Santa Fe Weather: Partly sunny, with a high near 86, with a 40-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms mainly this afternoon. Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 60, and continued 40-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 1am. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. Tomorrow: Partly sunny, with a high near 85, with the chance for showers and thunderstorms 60-percent, mainly after 1pm.