HURON COUNTY – Residents opposed to the idea of a wind farm weren’t thrilled with the outcome of Thursday’s Ohio Power Siting Board meeting.
The OPSB denied Omega Crop Corp’s application for rehearing in regards to the proposed Greenwich Wind Park. Omega is a farming corporation owned by a local Greenwich family.
While the request for a rehearing was not approved, the board did agree with one of Omega’s points. Construction of the wind park cannot be started until all waivers are secured, according to Randazzo.
OPSB approved the Greenwich Wind Park proposed by a subsidiary of Windlab Development USA Ltd. in late August of 2014. The company wants to place 25 wind turbines, each about 500 feet tall, with propeller diameters of up to 383 feet, on 4,650 acres in Greenwich, according to a release from Greenwich Neighbors United, a local organization against the wind farm.
In an application for rehearing, Omega said OPSB failed to follow statutory requirements concerning setbacks for the area, according to the GNU release.
In the application, Omega stated that “economically significant wind farms like the one proposed in (the) proceeding affect the inalienable rights of adjacent property owners and citizens like Omega,” according to the release from GNU.
Sam Randazzo, a Columbus-based attorney with McNees Wallace and Nurick LLC, is representing Omega and GNU in the fight against the wind park. Randazzo attended the OPSB meeting, and confirmed that the board denied the application for rehearing.
According to Randazzo, 62 percent of the wind turbines in the proposed Greenwich Wind Park violate Ohio’s setback laws.
The OPSB order for the wind farm states that several turbines are within the minimum property line setbacks, but says adjacent landowners have signed waivers of the minimum setbacks.
Randazzo said wind farm companies can be secretive about their plans, and often approach individual landowners to ask for permission to build turbines on their property. He said much of the community began fighting the wind park once they realized what was going on.
“It took (the community) a while to know what was going on, but once they put two and two together, people started connecting with the power siting board,” Randazzo said. “The power siting board would send back polite letters, but there was never an indication that they were actually going to do something.”
Randazzo said OPSB accelerated the pace of the case, and entered into a settlement with the wind park developer.
The board sat on the application for a rehearing for about a year, and many comments from people opposing the wind park were never addressed, according to Randazzo.
Randazzo said Ohio Sen. Bill Seitz has been active in the case.
Seitz tried to get the board to answer questions about why they approved the wind park despite violations, according to Randazzo.
Randazzo said he will review the order from Thursday’s meeting before consulting with Omega and GNI. If they wish to continue fighting OPSB’s decisions in regards to the wind farm, Randazzo said the matter could be contested further before the Ohio Supreme Court.
The Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum’s Todd Hill contributed to this report.
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