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Crawford Anti-Wind: ‘What we’re asking for is to actually let the people have a say’  

Credit:  Gere Goble | Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum | March 7, 2022 | www.bucyrustelegraphforum.com ~~

Opponents to an industrial wind farm planned in the northern half of Crawford County are making it easy for residents to sign petitions against Honey Creek Wind.

On Saturday, they had drive-thru petition-signing events in Bucyrus and New Washington.

“They don’t have to get out of their car and they can sign a petition,” Crawford Anti-Wind member Kay Weisenauer said.

Sandusky Township resident Lynette Moritz is one of the group’s leaders.

“The idea of the petition is to help support the commissioners in saying, ‘We at least want to let the people have a say.’ And they can do that by just making us an exclusion zone – the whole county or just part of the county,” Moritz said. “And then the people … they will be able to, if they don’t agree with what the commissioners did, then they can get signatures and have it put on the ballot.

“What we’re asking for is to actually let the people have a say.”

On its Facebook page, Crawford Anti-Wind describes itself as “a grass roots group of citizens who are committed to stopping the invasion of BIG WIND in the rural areas.” Since its Facebook group was formed in January, it has attracted more than 1,400 members.

A spokeswoman for developer Apex Clean Energy has said Honey Creek Wind is expected to include approximately 60 turbines, each with an anticipated height between 590 and 670 feet. Commercial operation is targeted to begin in 2024.

Crawford Anti-Wind petitions are available at local sites

Weisenauer said the anti-wind group, which has a core group of about 20 active members, has been circulating its petitions for several weeks.

“We’re had great response,” she said. “I’d say at least a couple thousand.”

On Saturday, the group had drive-thru events at Randy’s Tire and Auto Repair, 1000 N. Sandusky Ave.; and at the American Legion Post No. 405 parking lot in New Washington.

Throughout the week, petitions are available at Randy’s Tire; LuLu’s Kitchen, 1640 Marion Road; Home Town Garage, 117 E. Perry St.; and Kaye & Co. Salon, 125 E. Rensselaer St.

The petitions are directed at trustees of each township, asking that they in turn ask the Crawford County commissioners to declare the county a restricted zone, preventing wind farm development.

The petitions state signers “desire to protect the township from the negative impacts of industrial scale wind and solar projects.”

“The idea was, although township trustees technically do not have any power, they could influence commissioners, who do have the power,” Moritz said.

Senate Bill 52 changed Ohio law governing siting requirements

In July, Gov. Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 52, which significantly changed Ohio’s laws governing siting requirements for industrial solar and wind projects. It gives county commissioners the ability to prevent Ohio Power Siting Board certification of certain wind and solar facilities.

Commissioners can adopt a resolution designating any portion of unincorporated land in the county as a restricted area, prohibiting construction of wind farms. If such a resolution is passed, petitioners have 30 days to request a referendum vote on the decision.

“The commissioners, today, could make this go away,” Moritz said. “If we get enough signatures, we can help them make the decision to restrict us.”

Two batches of signed petitions have been delivered to trustees across the county already, she said.

The law also requires developers to present their plans at a public meeting 90 days prior to filing an application with the Ohio Power Siting Board. At the meeting, they must present the scale of the project, its maximum nameplate capacity and a map of the proposed geographic boundaries. The same information must be submitted in writing to county commissioners.

In the 90 days that follow, commissioners may pass a resolution prohibiting the construction of the facility or limiting its boundaries to a smaller area. If commissioners take no action, developers can proceed with seeking siting board approval.

The legislation also adds two ad hoc members representing the community to the siting board while it reviews the local project – leaders of the township trustees and county commissioners. If a facility is in multiple townships, all of the trustee members are to vote on a representative – or all commissioners would vote if the project involves multiple counties.

No one who has signed a lease or easement agreement with the developer of a utility facility, or holds any other beneficial interest in a utility facility, can serve.

The new law also requires developers to submit a decommissioning plan along with their application.

Under terms of an Alternative Energy Zone approved by Crawford County commissioners in 2011, renewable energy developers would not pay standard property taxes. Instead, wind farm developers would make an annual Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT fee, of $9,000 per megawatt, nameplate capacity, Commissioner Doug Weisenauer said.

The state’s two-year budget bill, passed last summer, extends the law allowing counties to offer a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT fee, option for renewable energy projects until the end of 2024.

Source:  Gere Goble | Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum | March 7, 2022 | www.bucyrustelegraphforum.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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