GREENWICH – A developer of wind energy said Tuesday she’s excited to begin construction of a wind turbine park in rural Greenwich and looks forward to the project generating money for the community.
But Jensen is way ahead of herself, according to an attorney for a group of rural Greenwich residents opposed to the project.
“They don’t have all their ducks in a row,” said the attorney, Sam Randazzo of the Columbus-area firm McNees Wallace & Nurick. He represents the group of residents calling themselves Greenwich Neighbors United.
The lawyer, who specializes in energy and Jensen were in the same room following a Greenwich Township Trustees meeting on Tuesday. After the township officials met, Randazzo explained to a roomful of residents who oppose the project that Jensen has work to do before construction can begin.
Jensen listened to Randazzo without expressing noticeable outward signs of disapproval.
Randazzo has said out of the project’s 25 turbines, 62 percent violate the minimum setback requirements, amounting to “at least 100 (affected) property owners.”
The attorney and the developer agree on at least one point: They have different views as to what Jensen needs to obtain from property owners before development can begin.
Jensen said she only needs to obtain waivers from individuals who live in residences at which the turbines would violate minimum setback requirements.
Randazzo maintains the developer needs to obtain waivers from all property owners whose residences adjoin the development, whether or not their setbacks are violated.
Because that’s state law, the attorney said. Factors such as noise, the speed of the turbines and the potential for a turbine to blow ice affect all property owners, the attorney said.
Randazzo said minimum setback requirements depend on the height of an individual turbine.
Jensen said after the meeting Tuesday she has obtained all the necessary waivers secured as part of the certificate the Ohio Power Siting Board recently granted her to begin construction.
Randazzo said he doubts she does. Regardless, he reiterated “waivers need to be obtained from all…property owners adjoining the wind farm property.”
The lawyer also said Jensen needs to secure waivers through a procedure that the OPSB hasn’t specified, a point that Jensen denied after the meeting.
“If the necessary waivers are not obtained, Greenwich shall not build the turbine,” according to language in the OPSB ruling.
The OPSB iss a separate entity within the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
In granting Windlab USA permission to construct the turbines, the board turned down appeals by Gerald and Connie Oney, owners of Omega Crop Co. LLC. The couple’s arguments included setback violations.
Matthew Schilling, an OPSB spokesman, said the Oneys filed four months too late to be a party in the case. Being a party to the case basically means an individual or entity has the right to raise arguments and be heard.
Even though the board said Omega filed too late to intervene, the OPSB decided to hear the Oneys arguments, which they rejected after consideration and granted Windlab a certificate to construct.
The most recent development in the case is Jensen’s filing of an amendment with the OPSB to consider building one of three turbines different than than one originally proposed. One of the turbines is a foot taller, another is three feet taller and another is three feet shorter, Jensen said.
“We would be remiss if we did not take a look at all the available turbines,” Jensen said.
Randazzo said those turbines spin faster and are nosier.
Jensen denied Randazzo’s arguments that she hasn’t taken the necessary steps to ensure she’s in compliance with the law before beginning construction.
“We’ve got our ducks in row,” she said.
Randazzo told property owners in attendance the fight isn’t over.
“We’re not done in Columbus,” he said, adding the group will appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.
The attorney, who said he’s “volunteered a lot of my time and effort” toward this case, told those in attendance there are people “camping out” in front of state government offices in opposition to wind turbines.
“Take heart,” Randazzo said. “You’re not alone. You are being heard.”
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