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Landowners still fighting windfarm; Politicians join group in seeking another hearing

Opponents of the planned wind turbine complex in southern Huron County are still fighting the project, and they’ve picked up support from local politicians.

On August 25, the Ohio Power Siting Board issued an order allowing Greenwich Windpark to go forward with its planned wind farm.

6011 Greenwich Windpark, LLC, a subsidiary of Windlab Developments USA, plans to build up to 25 wind turbines in Greenwich Township, covering 4,650 acres of land leased from 26 landowners, east of Greenwich and just north of Richland County. The turbines would be up to 490.5 feet tall, with rotor diameters of up to 383 feet.

But landowners haven’t given up fighting the project.

Omega Crop Co. has asked for a rehearing from the board.

The application essentially means that the board is being asked to reconsider its decision, said Matt Butler, a spokesman for the Ohio Power Siting Board.

The board is supposed to act in 30 days after Omega’s application, which was turned in on Sept. 23.

The board’s options are to grant a new hearing or reject the application, Butler said.

But the board also has the option of seeking a delay, putting the decision beyond the 30-day period, Butler said.

State Sen. Gayle Manning, R-Ridgeville, and state Rep. Terry Boose, R-Norwalk, have both sent letters to the Ohio Power Siting Board, urging the board to grant the request for another hearing.

“If granted, a rehearing will ensure Omega and its interests as a component of Huron County’s economy will be considered fully, and in accordance with Ohio Revised Code,” Manning wrote.

Keven Ledet, chairman of Greenwich Neighbors United, the local group fighting the wind farm, said he welcomes the politicians’ support.

In its filing, Omega argues that the board’s order allowing the project to move forward ignores the fact that 16 of the planned 25 wind turbines have a setback, or distance from neighboring property lines, that less than required by law.

In its own filing, which urges the board to reject Omega’s request for another hearing, Greenwich Windpark argues that it cleared all of the variances with neighboring property owners.

Greenwich Windpark’s filing argues that Omega ignored deadlines to raise objections to the wind farm.

Monica Jensen, a spokeswoman for Greenwich Windpark, said the company would like to begin construction by the end of next year. The wind farm likely would not become operational until 2016, she said.