During Thursday’s public hearing of the Union Township Trustees, members of the Union Neighbors United reported that a state level organization, Ohio Wind Working Group, would come out, publicly, with statewide recommendations for the zoning of wind turbines on Friday. According to OWWG representatives, this is not case.
Dale Arnold, member of the OWWG and the Ohio Farm Bureau, said the OWWG has been associated with wind turbines for the past four years and is made up of representatives for nearly everyone who has a stake or interest in wind turbine placement in Ohio.
He added that “over the last several years, (the group) has been using a collaborative effort” in its decision making on different topics related to the wind farms.”
Arnold discredited UNU’s claim that OWWG would release public recommendation on the placement of turbines and said Friday the group “is not planning on releasing information to the public anytime soon.”
He was unaware of where the UNU members received any information otherwise.
Arnold also dispelled any myth that the OWWG is some sort of legislative body. He did admit, however, that because of the group’s work with the wind turbine issue, local governments have asked the OWWG for guidance on the topic.
Diane McConnell, Union Township resident and member of UNU, said her organization attends the OWWG meetings, but is not involved with the decision making because it is not a voting body.
“We assumed, with their discussions, they would come up with a resolution,” said McConnell.
“It looked as if they were going to approve something today (Friday),” she added. “In retrospect, it was naive to expect quick action by a governmental entity. Right now all we can do is wait and see what they do.”
According to an OWWG representative, even though there is no time table for releasing public information on wind turbine zoning, the group does use the Web site www.ohiowind.org to distribute some of its information.
The next step
Following the trustees’ decision to adopt a zoning resolution, the opposition to their decision was given 30 days to get a petition to file a referendum. UNU has already stated it intends to file such a petition.
According to Robin Burden, director of the Champaign County Board of Elections, the petition needs 10 percent of the registered voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election. She said that 970 registered voters voted in that race, so the petition needs at least 97 signatures. McConnell said filing for a referendum is the only thing UNU can do now. If the petition is completed and turned in, the issue will go to the voters whether or not to accept the zoning resolution approved by the trustees.
“That’s our next legal option to say we don’t like what’s been put in place,” she said.
By Shaun Dunlap
19 January 2008
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