Articles filed under General from Ohio
Union Township resident Bob McConnell and attorney Lauren Ross asked the Champaign County Commissioners to consider forming a committee to focus on issues related to the proposed wind turbine installations in Union and Wayne townships during the commissioners' regular meeting Tuesday. "This has come up as a concern for many of us," said McConnell, a member of Union Neighbors United, a group which has opposed the location of proposed turbines and claims they will hurt property values and negatively impact the landscape.
Apparently, adult bookstores and wind farms have something in common. Judges have ruled repeatedly that a community can put restrictions on where sexually oriented adult businesses can locate. But the same judges have said that officials cannot make those restrictions so tight as to eliminate the possibility of the stores' existence. Now, prosecutors in two counties where residents are railing against large-scale wind turbines for green energy say the same concept applies to wind farms.
EverPower Renewables Project Manager Mike Speerschneider answered questions of Wayne Township citizens at a meeting Wednesday night, addressing wind turbines and the possibility of turbines in Wayne Township. Speerschneider touched on issues concerning electricity, road damage, local labor and the health of citizens living near the turbines. He said the turbines will not generate a decrease in the cost of electricity for Wayne Township because there is "no way to definitively say what it's (turbines) going to do to the electric."
The Union Township Zoning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to reject the wind turbine zoning recommendations made by the Union Neighbors United group, which was submitted at the last zoning commission meeting. However, the buck doesn't necessarily stop there. The zoning commission now must forward the resolution to the Union Township Trustees with a recommendation to reject it. It's up to the trustees from there.
URBANA - The Union Township zoning board unanimously voted Tuesday to make a recommendation to the trustees rejecting a proposed wind turbine zoning resolution. Executive Director Jenny Snapp of the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission - LUC - called the proposal "too restrictive" in height and setback requirements. Champaign County Prosecutor Nick Selvaggio said it gave unauthorized power to governing bodies not listed in state law. The proposal, submitted to the township zoning board by Union Township residents, regulates wind towers to a minimum of 2,600 feet from a building and property line. Plus, it restricts the turbine height up to 360 feet.
Nearly 30 more wind turbines could be in store for Wood County. American Municipal Power-Ohio recently announced a joint partnership with JW Great Lakes Wind LLC for the development of up to 49.9 megawatts of wind-powered electricity on a proposed site northwest of the existing four turbines at the Wood County landfill.
MUTUAL - The Union Township Board of Zoning Appeals voted in favor, 3-1, of allowing a wind test tower belonging to Everpower Renewables to be placed on Ault Road, during its meeting Monday night. According to board member Fred Meyers, one board member removed himself from the discussion and vote for personal reasons. Meyers said the structure will be 190 feet tall and have three wind measurement devices that will send information to Everpower Renewables.
A regional planning commission denied Union Twp.'s wind turbine zoning resolution Thursday, calling the proposal "too restrictive." The Logan-Union-Champaign (LUC) Regional Planning Commission's zoning and subdivision committee said the setback and tower height regulations are too strict.
How comforting to learn that your County Board considers you an enemy. To learn it feels that it must protect itself from you. To learn that when it extends its arms it is to embrace outsiders whose only interest is to make a profit from your misery. To learn that "home seller" protection and "non-participating landowners" protection really means "County Board" protection.
A national study of wind energy points out what advocates of a Lake Erie wind farm have emphasized - the lack of policies and guidelines at all levels of government adds complexity and time to wind projects.
A new federal proposal to help electricity flow more freely could help the energy-choked East Coast. But it could also infuriate landowners, who have traditionally gotten their way in fights against utilities in Delaware. U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman last week named Delaware as part of his proposed eastern National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor. It would run from New York to Virginia, and west to Ohio. A second corridor would run through California, Arizona and Nevada.
Ohio has greater-than-expected potential for wind power, according to a new federal study. The latest modeling shows that a number of areas in Ohio have sufficient wind at heights of 100 meters to support commercial turbines that would produce clean electricity, said Dennis Elliot of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
As controversy continues to swirl around proposals to erect wind turbines in the county, a committee was formed recently to review and draft zoning proposals to regulate them. Officials from the Logan County Prosecutor's Office and the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission named a 10-member committee to determine what information should be included in any zoning regulations enacted by the townships in Logan County, Prosecutor Gerald Heaton said Thursday. By state law, the prosecutor is the legal counsel for the townships, and currently, he said, there are no regulations in place concerning wind turbines. "The whole purpose of this group is to get information," the prosecutor said, "sufficient information so the townships can make an educated determination as to what they want to include in their zoning."
In a 4-1 vote Wednesday, the Union Township zoning board abandoned its initial proposal for wind turbine regulations. Instead, they adopted zoning guidelines suggested by 10 township residents, as opposed to submitting a zoning proposal modeled after one in Logan County to the regional planning commission. The board has worked since January to draft preliminary regulations for the placement and construction of wind turbines. The document states that a turbine can be placed 1,000 feet from a residence and 500 feet from a roadway. The new proposal suggests a wind turbine should set 2,100 to 2,600 feet from any property line and not exceed 300 feet in height from its base to the tip of the blade.
Wind energy opponents would like to see strict regulations while land owners hoping to earn up to $6,000 annually for housing a turbine say they prefer more liberal ordinances. As a result, Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission has taken steps to bring the two sides together to discuss zoning issues and reach a consensus, said Jenny Snapp, commission's executive director. In addition, Champaign and Logan counties recently adopted ordinances - and are working on others - that will regulate where turbines can be placed. The ordinances are the first of their kind in Ohio.
Brown's lawyer, David Watkins, represents three landowners and is negotiating with two companies that he says will pay at least $8,500 each year plus a share of their profits for every turbine they can put on Logan County land. Brown says he knows of 22 property owners with a collective 2,000 acres interested in such a deal. Another group of landowners, however, opposes the plans and says the green-energy benefits of wind energy don't outweigh the negatives of noise and aesthetics. Mike Stolly lives in Jefferson Township, not far from Brown's farm. He said since word spread this winter that power companies were serious about moving in, "It's like we're in mourning. People are devastated that this will ruin our countryside." In the heat of the debate, boards of township trustees are scrambling to decide how, or whether, to change zoning laws to control placement of the turbines. "It's like the adult entertainment business. You cannot prohibit it, but you can regulate it," said Jenny Snapp, director of the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission.
The Union Twp. Zoning Commission has drafted preliminary zoning regulations for proposed wind turbines. Everpower Renewables, a New York-based developer of wind energy projects, has met with the zoning commission and township landowners to propose constructing at least 10 wind turbines on the east side of Champaign County. Each turbine can produce 2 to 3 megawatts of energy, which could power about 8,000 homes annually, the company said. Zoning commission members said they do not have authority to approve the project, but had to create guidelines for possible construction. The commission modeled its regulations on Monroe Twp. in Logan County, which has spent a year preparing for the installation of wind-energy towers. Discussion March 14 focused on the required distance between the 400-foot wind turbine and a residence. Initially, the draft stated a turbine would have a 500- foot buffer, but Linda Gordon, a homeowner, said that was too close, and urged that it be at least 2,000 feet away. "It's like looking at a Twin Tower," Gordon said. "Every time I look out my picture window, I'll have to see that thing humming outside my property." Commission members said that distance would not only prevent farmers with only 80 acres of land from placing a turbine on their property, but make it impossible to construct them within the township. The commission reached a consensus on having the turbines set 1,000 feet away from a residence and 500 feet from a roadway. Everpower representative Michael Speerschneider said this could ease some concerns because the height could be imposing in some residential areas. The commission will hold a public hearing on the draft regulations at 7 p.m. April 18 in the Union Twp. Building.
More than $1 million could be spent in the coming months pursuing offshore wind power in Lake Erie, even though the region just lost out on a bid to have East Toledo host the nation's first testing laboratory for offshore wind turbine blades. A $250,000 wildlife study, funded by a grant the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority obtained from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), recently began along the western Lake Erie shoreline. The goal of that study is to get the region's clean energy and wildlife proponents on the same page over the risks posed to birds and bats. The next phase would involve putting two or three wind turbines along the western Lake Erie shoreline as early as the summer of 2008 to see just how lethal the devices might be. Sites have not been selected, but they likely would be between Toledo and Lorain, Ohio.
The Union Township Zoning Commission has drafted preliminary zoning regulations for proposed wind turbines. Everpower Renewables, a New York-based developer of wind energy projects, has met with the zoning commission and township landowners to propose constructing at least 10 wind turbines on the east side of Champaign County.
Proponents call wind power an environmentally advantageous energy source. Opponents in Logan County, where giant turbines may be placed, disagree. The state’s only wind farm, as seen in 2004, is near Bowling Green. Logan County is home to the highest point in Ohio, so maybe it was just a matter of time before someone realized it is windy there. And maybe it was just a matter of time before someone decided to build giant turbines to convert that wind to energy. At least one power company says it aims to put up at least 20 turbines there. That many turbines would dwarf the only wind farm in Ohio, and some local landowners are saying, "Go away." The critics say wind farms aren’t green enough and don’t really help reduce reliance on other forms of power.