Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Ohio
A proposed wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds faces one more hurdle before it can be approved by the city. After being approved unanimously by both the Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission, the turbine is now before City Council.
"Wind is coming whether you want it or not," Ohio Power Siting Board Executive Director Kim Wissman said at one point in the more-than-two-hour-long meeting with concerned citizens and wind turbine leaseholders. She said that while some companies have abandoned a project in the early stages, she does not recall a time in her 30 years with the Siting Board that the arm of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has turned down a project. "I'm not sure the board has outright rejected an application, but we have required certain modifications," Ms. Wissman said.
Tom Patton wants to harness the wind. The Avon Lake resident wants to put a wind turbine about 50 meters out into Lake Erie - something that Patton said hasn't been done elsewhere in the Great Lakes. He's in a holding pattern though, he said, as he has to wait for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to review the project. His understanding of the problem is that the ODNR doesn't have any rules or regulations regarding wind turbines in the lake, and they don't know when they might have them, Patton said. He already has the approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
For the second time in recent months, the Jefferson Township Board of Zoning Appeals has approved a request to build a meteorological tower to measure wind data. The four members present at Tuesday's meeting voted unanimously to allow Roger Brown to install a 197-foot-tall lattice tower on the property he owns along State Route 540. ... In justifying the conditional use, they said the project could be classified as a public service facility that includes various energy-generating structures but does not specifically mention wind turbines or meteorological towers.
For years, there's been lots of talk about building the towering, green-energy wind turbines in lots of places: along the Lake Erie shoreline, in Morrow or Logan counties, maybe even in Hardin County. But while all those locations have been debated, EverPower Renewables has negotiated leases with at least 100 property owners, mostly in eastern Champaign County, for land for the turbines. Now, the New York-based wind-energy developer plans to file two applications with the Ohio Power Siting Board for what, if approved and built, will dwarf Ohio's only other wind farm, a four-turbine project in Bowling Green.
At least two companies are interested in offshore wind development in New York's Great Lakes waters - BQ Energy, which developed Lackawanna's Steel Winds, and AWS Truewind. "I don't think it's inevitable, but I think it's very likely," said Bruce Bailey, AWS Truewind's president. There are significant obstacles and unknowns. ...Installing wind turbines in water can be at least twice as expensive because of the cost of mobilizing marine crews, the specialized nature of the installation equipment and the turbines and the need to move the power onshore, experts say. And that doesn't factor in what would be necessary to deal with the ice that often covers the eastern end of Lake Erie in winter.
Wind turbine regulations, which are being proposed as more people look into alternative energy sources, are on their way to the Miami County commissioners. If approved by the commission, the regulations reviewed and recommended for approval last week by the county Planning Commission would be added to county zoning regulations. Those regulations are used in townships that don't have separate zoning codes. Jacob Hoover, county planning and zoning director, said current zoning has no rules for the wind turbine generators.
Council met with interim city manager Edward Somppi to discuss an offer from SGR Site Associates, of Willoughby, which is interested in buying at least 159 acres of the East Conneaut Industrial Park to develop in a wind farm using turbine generators. The closed meeting also included State Rep. Deborah Newcomb of Conneaut and Joseph Mayernick, executive director of Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County. After the executive session ended, Somppi told Council President James Jones that council should set a public information meeting on the company's proposal. Before adjourning the special council meeting, Jones agreed to set the public meeting, but no date was announced.
For the first time since talk of wind turbine development began in West Central Ohio several years ago, residents of Logan and Champaign counties got to see a close visual representation of the controversial structures. The designs, which included a map showing 78 proposed turbine locations - 15 in Logan County and the remainder in Champaign - and several photos superimposed with scale wind turbines, gave the 100-plus residents who milled through Everpower Renewables' open house Tuesday at Triad High School a view of the proposed project. ...
All the hand-wringing and fighting between area township officials and residents over wind turbine zoning, including a recent discussion about a moratorium, may well have been an exercise in futility if an amendment attached to the Legislature's annual spending bill gets expected approval in coming days. The amendment, which was introduced by Cincinnati area State Sen. Bill Seitz, would turn responsibility for guiding any wind farm development to the Ohio Power Siting Board, which currently only oversees developments that exceed 50 megawatt generation capacity. It would lower the minimum to 5 megawatts ...
The debate continues on the U.S. side of Lake Erie over what the new energy mix should look like. In Canada, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's administration has shown a strong preference for hydroelectric power and wind power. ...But Gail Krantzberg, a former Canadian chair of the International Joint Commission who's now director of McMaster University's Center for Engineering and Public Policy, said the McGuinty administration may have to buy dirty energy produced by coal-fired power plants in the Ohio Valley if it can't find enough viable ways to make up the difference. Wind, by its nature, can only be a supplemental source of power because it takes steady breezes to spin the turbine blades.
But the scope of wind energy development in Ohio is far from certain, Shanahan said. What developers say and do are sometimes two different things, and a lot of details still need to be hashed out. For one, projects exceeding 50 megawatts will have to be approved by the Ohio Siting Board, which has experience with a single power plant, but not with 70 to 100 turbines spread over a wide geographic area. Turbines must be well-spaced to ensure, among other things, that they don't steal wind from each other. And the electrical cables from each turbine must be tied into a nearby transmission line. ...There are also local zoning issues.
A group of Jefferson Township residents have filed an appeal against the township zoning appeals board's decision to allow a meteorological tower on the property of Ralph and Rick Amerine. The board of zoning appeals decided the issue April 30, but cited no clear reason why they believed Mr. Amerine and his representative, Roger Brown, should be allowed to construct the wind measurement towers.
At the conclusion of a somewhat heated 90- minute hearing, the Jefferson Township Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously approved a variance request by Ralph and Rick Amerine to install a 200-foot tower that collects wind data along Township Road 127. The towers are a preliminary step before siting of wind turbines can occur in the township. A similar request by State Route 540 property owner Roger Brown was postponed for two weeks so BZA members can talk with the Logan County Prosecutor's Office to decide if they need to notify property owners whose land does not touch the parcel in question but abuts other parcels owned by Mr. Brown. ...Their decision came after several residents cited concerns, specifically that some residents around the two properties had not received notification; the proponents had not adequately demonstrated a need to install towers; applications were incomplete and existing court rulings state approving such variances is beyond a zoning appeals board's authority.
Union Neighbors United wants to influence local politicians to focus on zoning regulations for alternative energy sources. Julie Johnson, a member of the group, stressed that they are in favor of alternative energy in general. Members even attended the recent seminar hosted by individuals from C.A.R.E., she said. Johnson said the group simply want local officials to be careful when creating zoning regulations for alternative energy sources. Zoning has been the focus of the group, she said. Organizers in Union Neighbors United were able to place a referendum on November's ballot challenging the townships's zoning regulations. C.A.R.E. and Union Neighbors United plan to continue focusing attention on their issues as similar proposals move forward in the county.
So maybe, some local officials say, before the towering turbines consume Ohio's landscape, guidelines will be established to help decide where they should go. "It feels like we've been down this road before," said Morrow County Commissioner Richard Miller. His board recently approved zoning guidelines for wind turbines, which can be up to 400 feet tall. He said Morrow County planners researched regulations in other states to come up with a blueprint. Miller likened the growing debate over placement of the turbines to the cellular-tower issues in the late 1980s and early '90s. Then, local officials across Ohio found themselves in the middle of disputes between property owners and wondering what they could do to control where the cell towers could go, he said. Some disputes ended up in court. Miller said windmills should be handled differently.
Wind-energy companies have set their sights on Ohio's high ground, so Morrow County commissioners are trying to stay ahead of the game by working out regulations for wind farms before a major controversy blows into town. As more townships and counties consider possible wind-energy developments, state legislators might have to take up the matter in the interest of consistent statewide rules. Officials in Logan and Champaign counties proposed wind-farm rules only after developers had proposed deals to local landowners, and would-be sellers and unhappy neighbors had formed opposing camps. The new rules quickly were challenged by a referendum petition in Logan County by opponents who don't think the rules are restrictive enough. The referendum was ruled off Tuesday's ballot because of a procedural error, but the acrimony isn't likely to fade.
As wind turbines become a more popular way to generate electricity for homes and businesses, at least one township in Wood County plans to adopt zoning rules that would regulate their use. The Wood County Planning Commission is scheduled to review amendments to the Milton Township Zoning Resolution tomorrow that would limit the turbines' height, color, and location. It would require a home or business owner to get a permit before installing one and submit an engineering report, site drawing, evidence of a clear fall zone, a maintenance schedule, a dismantling plan, and a list of all public and private airports in the area.
An issue that has been drawing controversy - the development of wind energy in Logan County - will not be decided by voters in Tuesday's election. ...Reames said calling them "farms" is deceptive. "We're not farming anything here," she said. "When you're talking about a 400- or 500-foot machine, you're talking industry." Among opponents' concerns, she said, is safety and allowing the community to have input, which she said they do not have. "These are not even a safe distance from home," she said. "Wind turbine accidents happen around the world."
County commissioners voted unanimously to approve zoning-code changes to regulate where wind turbines, a source of renewable energy, can be built. ... The zoning changes were prompted by interest from outside developers who want to build turbines in Congress and North Bloomfield townships, where zoning is controlled by the county. ...Commissioner Olen Jackson said he and his fellow commissioners support renewable-energy development but wanted to make sure they got the zoning issues sorted out properly because of their experience with the proposed construction- and demolition-debris landfill.