Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Ohio
The Logan County Wind Power Committee continues to make progress in its efforts to draw up recommendations for township wind turbine zoning ordinances. But it may not be fast enough for some residents who want to make sure the towering structures do not begin going up on nearby properties without assurances they are safe. “This is the first time they have had an in-depth discussion on any real issues,” Jefferson Township resident Linda Mazurek said after the committee discussed noise issues Wednesday morning. “But I don’t know that we are a lot further along than we were six months ago. It’s been long enough to get recommendations and keep this going.” The committee was formed last spring by county and township officials, the Logan- Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission and representatives of wind power companies. They had hoped to have guidelines for wind turbines in place by early this year, Logan County Engineer Scott Coleman said.
Union Township trustees will have two issues to vote on at the Jan. 17 public hearing concerning wind turbine proposals. The meeting will be at 7 p.m in the Champaign County Community Center. Union Township Trustee President Doug Hurst said there will be no limit to the number of people who can speak, but each speaker will be limited to five minutes. According to Champaign County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Scott Schockling, the first issue is to vote on the Union Township Zoning Commission's recommendation to accept wind turbine regulations crafted by the zoning commission. The second issue is to vote on the zoning commission's recommendation to reject wind turbine regulations crafted by Union Neighbors United.
The battle over wind energy is heating up again in western Ohio. A decision by the Logan County Board of Elections on Friday cleared the way for a referendum on a township zoning amendment that sets guidelines for wind turbines. Landowners say the regulations, approved in the fall by the Jefferson Township zoning board and township trustees, are too lenient. They gathered enough signatures to put the issue before voters on the March 4 ballot. But late last month, attorneys representing the landowners who plan to erect the wind turbines --- towering structures that harness the power of the wind to produce energy --- filed a protest based on procedural errors with the petition.
Jefferson Township voters may get a say on how they feel about the township’s current wind turbine zoning ordinance if a Friday decision of the Logan County Election Board withstands any other legal challenges. Following a three-hour public hearing, Election Board Chairwoman Ann Beck read a two-page written decision in which the board rejected a challenge by township landowners to the issue being placed on the March 4 ballot. “I think they found the only way they could,” township resident and wind turbine opponent Keith Nason said. “Now the voters will get to have their say as they should.”
Jefferson Township voters may not get to decide whether they like the new wind turbine zoning ordinance after a group of pro-wind landowners challenged a petition to place the issue on the March ballot. Lawyers on Wednesday filed a ninepage motion asking the Logan County Board of Elections to nullify a petition containing the names of hundreds of voters because of errors in how it was submitted. Residents circulated the petition following the township trustees' failure on Sept. 19 to override a zoning resolution proposed by the wind proponents. Susan Reames, who lives on County Road 5 and helped circulate the petitions, said she believes there needs to be more community input into the final ordinance.
Comments of support and opposition were voiced Monday night about two proposed wind turbine zoning amendments — one of which was recommended for acceptance and the other for rejection. The Union Township Zoning Commission recommended that township trustees accept a proposal it drafted and reject a proposal submitted by Union Neighbors United, a group of residents concerned about wind energy development zoning issues. "If we put something on the books today it's not an end, it's a start," commission member Steve Bricher said. "Sitting here today, we have no guidelines for (wind turbine) placement."
Inconsistency with regulating wind turbines doesn't end with zoning. The county Building Department requires construction plans certified by an Ohio engineer before it issues a permit; Canton doesn't. The county's requirement could add another $5,000 in expenses because most wind turbines are shipped from outside Ohio or the country and do not contain plans certified by an Ohio engineer. "I don't want to stop anybody from building what they want, but it's my obligation under law to enforce the requirements of the code," said Stark Building Official Ed Stetz. He said wind turbines exceed residential standards so they must be regulated by the Ohio commercial building codes that require a professional designer's seal.
More proposals for wind turbine zoning regulations within Union Twp. were discussed Wednesday night. ...The commission decided to wait to vote on the proposal until a completed draft has been compiled and until the Wind Turbine Study Group - a new group created by the county prosecutor's office to examine the affects of wind energy development in the county - has had a chance to meet and submit suggestions.
The Champaign County Commissioners voted to support state and local wind energy projects Tuesday. The commissioners unanimously passed a resolution backing renewable energy development in the state and urging Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to set a requirement for 20 percent of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025.
According to a release sent Monday afternoon from the UNU, "Spokesperson Julia Johnson explained that the zoning amendment was withdrawn in order to support and encourage a more deliberate and coordinated assessment of wind turbine regulation in Champaign County." Johnson also said, "Townships in Champaign County are approaching this issue in a disjointed way. Since the time we submitted our zoning amendment, members of the Ohio Wind Working Group and the zoning and a subdivision committee of the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission have emphasized the need for a county or regional dialog on wind power regulation."
The Logan-Union-Champaign Region Planning Commission - based in East Liberty - reviewed the proposal, which had been passed on from the Union Township Zoning Commission last week for review. The LUC recommended the township zoning commission deny the proposal by Union Neighbors United - the group of township residents opposed to the turbines without more regulations.
After the meeting, when asked why the commission was discussing a more permissive proposal than it looked at originally, Runyan explained, "There are two very opposing sides to this; those that want no turbines whatsoever and others that want them because they get compensated very well. We can't please everyone, we just want something that will work for the community." However, Runyan did point out that none of the issues that were decided on by the commission were set in stone. "We are trying to get some general guidelines that we can live with."
The four giant windmills just outside of Bowling Green might be in for some company. In conjunction with JW Great Lakes Wind and American Municipal Power-Ohio, a joint-action group for municipal utilities, the city is investigating the idea of adding onto the state's only utility-size wind farm.
Cuyahoga Coounty commissioners say a German company with lots of experience in wind-energy development is the best candidate to do a year-long feasibility study of erecting wind turbines on Lake Erie and building an affiliated wind-research center. Commissioners selected a team led by Juwi International from among three proposals to do the $800,000 study. An energy-development task force appointed by the commission has proposed building five to ten turbines on the lake, the first such freshwater wind development in the world. More importantly, a research and development center, to be run by Case Western Reserve University, could be the centerpiece of a wind-industry cluster that would generate jobs for the region. Case would run the research center as part of its newly formed Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation.
Bowling Green already has four wind turbines generating electricity - and has had them since 2003. Dozens more may be on the way, reports News 11's Dick Berry. The tall, twirling turbines are easy to spot along US 6 near the Wood County landfill. If everything falls into place, rows and rows of wind turbines could be in place by 2009. And Bowling Green could become "Blowing Green." Bowling Green and the company responsible for building the original four turbines are looking at adding another 33.
MUTUAL - Residents wanting restrictions on turbine construction will have to make another proposal after the Union Twp. trustees rejected a proposal Tuesday. Trustees Howard Peters and Jim Virts voted in sync with previous votes of the Union Twp. Zoning Commission and the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission earlier this year, both of which also rejected the same proposal for required setback distance for being "too restrictive."....... The proposal, originally submitted to the township zoning commission by Union Neighbors United, suggested regulating wind turbines to a minimum of 2,600 feet from a residence or property line, Virts said. It also restricted the tower height to 360 feet.
A recommendation to accept a citizen-initiated wind turbine zoning amendment carried Monday with Rushcreek Township Trustee Marlyn Kelly voting contrary to his fellow trustees. Mr. Kelly opposed a motion by Gary Downing to reject the Rushcreek Township Zoning Commission recommendation to adopt the amendment. "Gary's (Downing) looking for a yes vote?" Mr. Kelly asked. "Well then, I vote no. "We've got five people who voted 5-0 in support of the amendment and I respect their vote." The vote came after two hours of public comment. About 60 people attended the meeting.
Jefferson Township Trustees put off a vote Saturday regarding the fate of a citizen- initiated zoning amendment that would restrict the placement of wind turbines on private land. Trustee Tim Tillman said there is some room for modifying the proposed amendment and he wanted more time. "We're learning more every day," he said, "so I move that we table a vote until our regularly scheduled meeting on June 26."
The Rushcreek Township Zoning Commission recommended approval of a zoning amendment developed by a group opposed to wind turbines. The commission's recommendation, which was backed with a 5-0 vote, now goes before the Rushcreek Township Trustees who can vote to accept the recommendation, reject it or modify. Any vote to reject or modify the citizen-initiated zoning amendment will require a unanimous vote of the trustees.
The Union Township Board of Zoning Appeals voted 4-1 to allow a variance for a wind measuring tower on 2049 Talbott Road during the meeting Tuesday night. Board members Fred Myers, Jami Hackworth, Frank Vawter and Mike Schafer voted to permit the variance. Board member Charles Sanders voted against.