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Drainage and road complaints brought to commissioners

VAN WERT – The Hoaglin Township trustees are hoping to get some corrective action from the developers of Blue Creek Wind Farm concerning flooding concerns and road repairs. The trustees claim the roads were not put back into the same condition after the construction of the wind farm as they were prior to the heavy equipment rolling through the county. They also point to an area on Fife Rd near the interconnection site for the facility.

The trustees have turned to the Van Wert County Commissioners to try to get some action, and Commissioner Thad Lichtensteiger told the Times Bulletin that they will talk to Iberdrola Renewables as well as Van Wert County Engineer Kyle Wendel to attempt to find a solution that will satisfy all parties.

The trustees complained that the water situation at the interconnection site could have been rectified if Iberdrola had installed a 24-inch drainage pipe at the site. They also stated that the wind farm developers simply patched roads rather than resurfacing them at the end of construction.

“The stipulation agreement says those roads must be returned to their pre-construction condition, as good as or better than. That’s the law as well as in the stipulation agreement. And a road with patches is not as good as that road was,” declared Hoaglin Township Trustee Milo Schaffner.

The trustees want an asphalt overlay on sections of Fife, Rumble, and Feasby Wisener roads. But Schaffner also stated that his ultimate goal is something much greater.

“The remedy that we are looking for is the cancellation on this project of the [Alternative] Energy Zone. That’s the outlet for us, according to the law,” declared Schaffner.

The declaration of the Alternative Energy Zone, made by the county commissioners prior to the wind farm being built, set in motion the Payment In Lieu Of Taxes program. That program allowed Iberdrola to pay a set amount per megawatt of electricity produced rather than pay property taxes on the land it has leased for the wind farm. Without that declaration, the Blue Creek Wind Farm likely would not have been built.

The admission by Schaffner was not out of character, since he frequently makes appearances to speak to residents about fighting against wind farm development.

The commissioners do not appear likely to jeopardize the Blue Creek Wind Farm and its expansion or the new wind farm being developed by BP Wind in the southern half of Van Wert County. However, they would like to be able to take care of the drainage issues and disputes over road conditions. That could involve negotiation and creative problem-solving, in order to make necessary corrections.