The Champaign County Commission and three townships, in a special meeting Wednesday, authorized asking that the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) hold a rehearing on Buckeye Wind II.
Commissioner Steve Hess said the meeting was called at the request of county Prosecutor Kevin Talebi. Most of the nearly two-hour meeting was held in executive session for the respective parties to discuss pending litigation with county prosecutors.
County Engineer Stephen McCall was invited into the executive session by the involved parties. Rush Township Trustee Mark Westfall also attended the meeting.
Following the lengthy executive session, the commissioners along with Goshen, Union and Urbana townships authorized the Prosecutor’s Office to ask the OPSB for a rehearing to address concerns about the project. Areas of concern raised by the county and townships in a post-hearing brief filed by the Prosecutor’s Office in January included road use during the construction phase, the financial impact of a decommissioning phase of the project and proposed setback conditions.
“Some of those issues were addressed to the individual entities’ satisfaction and some of them weren’t,” Talebi said. “Where they weren’t we’ve been directed by the townships and the commissioners to again raise those concerns and ask (the OPSB) to reconsider their initial decision.”
Each respective entity had to request that the Prosecutor’s Office request the rehearing.
The OPSB approved a certificate last week allowing the construction of 52 wind turbines as part of the second phase of the Buckeye Wind farm. Phases 1 and 2 would involve construction of more than 100 turbines in eastern Champaign County.
The board denied construction of four proposed turbines in the project due to setback requirements.
The board’s decision to approve the first phase of the project was upheld in March 2012 by the Ohio Supreme Court after appeals were filed by Champaign County, three townships and citizens group Union Neighbors United (UNU).
Last week, Jack Van Kley, attorney for UNU, said the group plans to appeal the board’s decision to the state Supreme Court.
County commissioners and two townships are intervening an amendment to the first phase of the project that was filed earlier this year.
Other people who attended the meeting, but were not in the executive session, included EverPower project manager Jason Dagger and consultant Mike Pullins as well as county residents Robert McConnell, Diane McConnell and Terry Rittenhouse.
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