The Ohio Power Siting Board has ruled that a planned wind farm in southern Huron County can go forward.
The board, rejecting a late appeal from nearby landowners, upheld the order it issued on August 25 2014 allowing Greenwich Windpark LLC to proceed with a planned project in the Greenwich area that involves 25 wind turbines, about 490 feet high. The latest decision is likely to be appealed, a group opposing the project said Friday.
Omega Crop Co. LLC, a nearby farm, had filed the application on Sept. 23, 2014, for a rehearing appealing last year’s decision. Omega now has 60 says to accept the ruling or to file an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, said Matt Schilling, a spokesman for the Ohio Power Siting Board.
Kevin Ledet, leader of the anti-wind farm group Greenwich Neighbors United, said Friday that an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court seems likely, but said members of the group will want to meet first to discuss the ruling.
Thursday ruling reaffirms that some of the wind turbines don’t meet setback requirements (the minimum distance from property lines) but that the rules can be waived if “adjacent property owners” agree.
Ledet said he hopes that provision can be used to block the project, but said it may depend on what the definition of “adjacent” turns out to be.
Ledet said his group made a mistake by objecting to the wind farm after the August 2014 order had been issued and said other anti wind power groups should learn from that and wage their struggle before a decision is made.
“Hopefully, other communities are looking at us as an example,” he said. “This what you don’t want to do – you don’t want to get behind in the game.”
The group’s objections to the wind farm include complaints about the size of the wind turbines, the noise they would make and the flickering shadows the blades would make.
In its decision, the board noted arguments from Omega that the board had rushed through its decision last year.
“Omega argues that, from the effective date of the application, March 6, 2014, until the date of the evidentiary hearing. May 19, 2014, there were only 74 days, and the last newspaper notice was published on April 22, 2014. Omega notes that the hearing was held at the earliest date permitted by law and the Board did not act on correspondence that requested a second local public hearing,” the decision states.
In reply, the board said that the wind farm developers have pointed out convincingly that Omega knew for months what was going on.
“Greenwich notes that Gerald Oney, co-owner of Omega, attended the May 22, 2013 public informational meeting. Further,Greenwich notes notice of the proposed project was sent to property owners, affected tenants, and adjacent property owners, including Omega, on March 12, 2014, and notice of the hearings, including the intervention deadline, was published on March 12, March 18, April 14, and April 22, 2014, in newspapers serving the area,” the document says.
An official with Windlab Developments Limited USA of Plymouth, Mich., the company developing the wind farm, could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.
The Ohio Power Siting Board includes several members of Gov. John Kasich’s cabinet.
Members of the board who signed Thursday’s order are Andre Porter, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio; David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency; Richard Hodges, director of the state health department; David Daniels, director of the state agriculture department; James Zehringer, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Craig Butler, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
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