Substation frustration: Residents pushing back against plans along state line

FORT MILL, S.C. — A proposed substation for an empty space in Pineville is causing a stir across the state line.

A company wants to build the substation right in the backyard of a Fort Mill neighborhood, between Miller Road and Greenway Drive. Homeowners told Channel 9 they had no warning and feel that their voices aren’t being heard.

Pink markers mark where that substation would start. A majority of it would take up a parking lot at the nearby Miller’s Flea Market.

The owner of the flea market said he’s against the project and they’ll have to use eminent domain to get this land. He’s not alone in his opposition.

“We’ve built a little slice of paradise back here,” homeowner Gui Batista said.

Batista and his wife live in the McCullough neighborhood, a community that’s partly in North Carolina and partly in South Carolina. Their house is in an unincorporated part of Fort Mill.

“As you can imagine, very, very close,” he said.

But just past their back fence is Pineville, a town that wants to build a substation just feet from Batista’s backyard.

“We just found out about it 48 hours ago,” Bastista said.

David Lucore is with ElectriCities of North Carolina, which is recommending the substation location.

“It’s got to be out of a flood plain, not in a wetland. There needs to be no environmental concerns, it needs to be fairly flat and affordable,” he explained.

Lucore said the Pineville spot meets all of that. The plan would be to buy about an acre of the parking lot from the Miller’s Flea Market. The market would be on one side of the substation and the neighborhood would be on the other.

“This is impacting us more than anyone else,” Batista said.

Batista and other neighbors have several concerns about the potential impact to property values, health, and safety, especially in light of recent threats towards substations across the country.

“This is where we hang out for the majority of our time in the summers, and I don’t want to worry about a stray bullet hitting my daughter’s room,” Batista said.

Lucore said the substation would be surrounded by a concrete wall.

“Which will provide some extra security for those kind of incidents,” he said.

But the biggest frustration from residents is the lack of communication.

“They’re saying well we’ll put it here in the corner where it won’t impact Pineville residents who can vote for us, it’ll only impact Fort Mill residents who we don’t really have to listen to,” Batista said.

Lucore admits nobody was warned about this until this week. He said that’s because they were doing their due diligence.

Pineville will have a meeting about the plans on Jan. 4 and could vote on it in February.

(WATCH BELOW: Residents, officials look back at Moore Co. substation attacks after one year; still no suspects)

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.

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