Wind company pulls controversial proposal; Urbana opposed plan that is part of effort to build 100 turbines
Representatives from the Buckeye Wind farm said they are backing out of a controversial proposal that would have relocated a temporary construction yard outside Urbana.
Buckeye Wind LLC had planned to use the staging area during construction of two phases of the wind farm, which would build about 100 turbines across several townships in Champaign County.
Officials from Urbana opposed the plan, raising concerns that the new location could jeopardize a proposed sewer line extension to Robert Rothschild Farm, which is also located near that intersection. Urbana, along with Champaign County and Rothschild Farm, reached an agreement earlier this year on a roughly $787,000 investment to extend a sewer line to that intersection. The sewer line is expected to allow the company to expand and hire as many as 25 new full-time employees.
A notice filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board shows Buckeye Wind withdrew part of a proposal that would have moved a construction staging area 1.3 miles west to the intersection of U.S. 36 and Three-mile Road.
A hearing is scheduled in Columbus next month over the dispute, but withdrawing the plans to move the staging area should alleviate most of the city’s concerns, said Jason Dagger, a spokesman for Buckeye. The staging areas that have been approved should still be adequate to allow construction, Dagger said.
Jim Gordon, president and CEO of Robert Rothschild Farm, could not be reached for comment.
Breanne Parcels, a staff attorney for the city who has been handling the case, said she is still reviewing the proposed changes and declined comment. The city is finalizing plans to submit to the EPA for the sewer project, said Tyler Bumbalough, Urbana city engineer. Construction on the sewer line could begin as early as this spring.
Other proposed changes to Buckeye’s application will remain, even though the proposal to move the staging area has been withdrawn, Dagger said. Buckeye is planning to move a proposed substation by about 1,000 feet and add a new access road that was not included in the original application.
Dagger said he has not spoken to city officials since the notice of withdrawal was filed Friday.
Previously, Dagger has said the wind company did not believe the staging area would affect the proposed sewer extension, but he said the company was willing to work with the city and planned to keep an open dialogue.
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