The Marion County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a resolution to restrict the development of large-scale solar and wind facilities in Pleasant Township.
The commissioners voted 3-0 on Tuesday during a public hearing to pass the resolution. According to the resolution, which Pleasant Township Trustees approved on Dec. 29, 2021, “no solar or wind farms considered ‘major utility facility’ are to be constructed in Pleasant Township.”
During Tuesday’s hearing, when President Andy Appelfeller asked for feedback from anyone who was opposed to the resolution, no one responded. Appelfeller then asked for a show of hands from those who supported the resolution and almost all of the 31 people in attendance indicated their support for it.
In 2016, the National Renewable Energy Corporation (NARENCO) based in Charlotte, North Carolina, began concept work for a proposed Chestnut Solar LLC solar farm in Pleasant Township. According to the Chestnut Solar LLC website, the 68 megawatt project would be located on about 500 acres of farmland. The Ohio Power Siting Board database does not have a record of an application for the project.
Pleasant Township resident Joe Stump, who lives on Maple Grove Road, was among those in support of the resolution. He said one of his main concerns was about the potential impact development of solar or wind facilities would have on septic and drainage tile systems.
“Aesthetically, there are opinions either way and what it would look like and how it could be shielded, but for us it was mainly the impact on how our tile was put into that field and the disruption that it would cause each and every one of these residents here,” he said. “That was really our main focus. Good for Pleasant Township, they’re the ones who put this together to move to not have it in the township.”
Evie Collins, who also lives on Maple Grove Road in Pleasant Township, said many township residents came together to develop the resolution and was glad to see it receive backing from the Marion County Commissioners.
“And now that voice has carried over into a larger project and we’ve had the ability to work with our county commissioners,” she said. “It was nice to see that the county commissioners heard the opinion of the residents in the community and listened and took action on it. I think it’s greatly appreciated by the community residents.”
Trustees from Big Island, Claridon, Richland, and Salt Rock townships have submitted similar resolutions seeking to restrict large-scale solar and wind facility development to the Marion County Commissioners. Commissioners Administrative Clerk Teri Slaughterbeck said hearings on those resolutions have not been scheduled yet.
Commission President Andy Appelfeller said he’s been told that numerous property owners across Marion County have been approached by companies seeking land on which to locate solar energy facilities in the county.
According to the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) database, only one solar project has been approved to operate in Marion County. The Marion County Solar Project LLC is a proposed 100 megawatt solar energy facility that will be located on approximately 500 to 600 acres of land in northern Marion Township. The OPSB granted approval for the project in November 2021.
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