Opponents of wind farms in Logan County lost a legal challenge yesterday when the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a referendum on township zoning laws regulating wind turbines can’t go on the March 4 ballot.
Logan County’s Jefferson Township zoning board and township trustees approved regulations for the wind turbines last fall. Opponents said they were too lenient and gathered enough signatures to put the issue before voters.
Landowners who want to put the wind turbines on their land challenged the referendum, saying it was not properly filed with the Logan County Board of Elections.
The elections board held a hearing Jan. 4. At that time, two members didn’t vote because of a conflict of interest, but the other members allowed the referendum to move forward.
The landowners then took the matter to court.
In the ruling yesterday, the court wrote that those who circulated the petitions did not follow proper procedure when filing it. The petition was hand-delivered to the home of a township trustee, who then gave it to the elections board.
That was a violation, the court ruled, so the referendum is invalid.
Tom Stacy, a Logan County resident who has been vocal in his fight against the turbines, said the ruling is a loss for everyone. He said those who submitted the petitions – he wasn’t one of them – followed the spirit of the law.
The ruling “takes away the citizens’ right to vote on their own township zoning, and that should be of concern to everyone,” Stacy said.
By Holly Zachariah
6 February 2008
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