logo
Article

County rejects solar project application; Payment-in-lieu-of-taxes request voted down

Urbana Daily Citizen|October 15, 2022
OhioTaxes & SubsidiesPhotovoltaic Solar

Champaign County commissioners have voted down a request to grant a payment-in-lieu of- taxes (PILOT) request from developers of a utility-scale solar project proposed for Adams Township in the far northwestern corner of Champaign County.


Champaign County commissioners have voted down a request to grant a payment-in-lieu of- taxes (PILOT) request from developers of a utility-scale solar project proposed for Adams Township in the far northwestern corner of Champaign County.
 
Clearview Solar I, LLC, through its parent company Open Road Renewables, had applied for PILOT consideration through a process with the Ohio Department of Development.
 
On Thursday, Champaign County commissioners received the application through the state process and rejected it by a vote of 2-1.
 
Commissioners Bob Corbett and Tim Cassady voted against the PILOT.
 
Commissioner Steve Hess, who resides on the county’s west side, voted in favor of the PILOT.
 
Graham Local Schools had expressed to county commissioners the school district’s desire for a PILOT to be approved.
 
Instead of standard traditional taxation, a PILOT sets a fixed annual amount for affected taxation districts to receive.
 
This annual amount remains in place for a set period spanning decades.
 
Clearview officials have said in the past they would build the solar project whether or not the county commissioners approved the PILOT.
... more [truncated due to possible copyright]
     
Champaign County commissioners have voted down a request to grant a payment-in-lieu of- taxes (PILOT) request from developers of a utility-scale solar project proposed for Adams Township in the far northwestern corner of Champaign County.
 
Clearview Solar I, LLC, through its parent company Open Road Renewables, had applied for PILOT consideration through a process with the Ohio Department of Development.
 
On Thursday, Champaign County commissioners received the application through the state process and rejected it by a vote of 2-1.
 
Commissioners Bob Corbett and Tim Cassady voted against the PILOT.
 
Commissioner Steve Hess, who resides on the county’s west side, voted in favor of the PILOT.
 
Graham Local Schools had expressed to county commissioners the school district’s desire for a PILOT to be approved.
 
Instead of standard traditional taxation, a PILOT sets a fixed annual amount for affected taxation districts to receive.
 
This annual amount remains in place for a set period spanning decades.
 
Clearview officials have said in the past they would build the solar project whether or not the county commissioners approved the PILOT.
 
However, Clearview officials have said in past discussions they would not anticipate hiring locally for the construction process without PILOT approval.
 
The proposed project would be a 144-megawatt alternating utility-scale solar facility spanning more than 1,000 acres utilizing photovoltaic solar panels mounted on a single-axis tracking system utilizing a foundation of driven steel pilings.
 
According to the PILOT application filed with the state of Ohio, the estimated construction start date is March of 2023 and the estimated completion date is December of 2024. The official address for the project is 12335 Logan-Champaign Road, Quincy. The proposed site has a maximum height of 15 feet and an estimated ground coverage ratio of 31%.
 
The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) approved a certificate to construct Clearview in autumn of 2021. Public informational meetings were held via web/phone in October 2020 and an online public hearing was held in June of 2021 prior to the OPSB’s approval of the project.
 
The project’s developers, based in Ontario, Canada, only recently applied for PILOT.
 
Throughout the past 15 years, there has been robust local discussion about various utility-scale renewable energy projects, previously involving two proposed companion wind installations (Buckeye Wind I and II) and most recently the unrelated Clearview solar project. One of the key points of discussion has been whether it is in local governments’ best interests to accept set payments in- lieu-of-taxation in the event a state-certificated project is approved and developers apply for a PILOT.
 
Although the state of Ohio certificated the proposed two phase Buckeye Wind utility-scale project with more than 100 total turbines on the east side of Champaign County nearly 10 years ago, no PILOT application was ever received by the county and the project’s developers ultimately opted not to build it after scaling it down by half after facing fierce and sustained legal resistance by property owners in the project area.
 
Clearview is the first utility scale renewable energy project to apply for a PILOT in Champaign County. It is the only utility-scale renewable energy project currently approved for pending construction in Champaign County by the OPSB.
 
Since Clearview’s approval, a new state law has granted local officials the authority to limit new utility-scale renewable energy projects within their specified boundaries.
 
Clearview is not affected by this limitation because it was approved prior to the new law taking effect. Champaign County is currently in the process of adopting a comprehensive map of areas restricting such future project development after seeking feedback from individual municipalities and townships.
 
According to application information from the Ohio Department of Development, local leaseholders in the Clearview project footprint are land owners in the far northwest area of Champaign County near Quincy. The application lists leaseholders on Logan-Champaign Road, Snapptown Road, North State Route 235, Champaign-Logan-Shelby Road and North Elm Tree Road.
 
The taxation districts affected by the Clearview project include: Graham Local Schools; St. Paris Public Library; Adams Township; Champaign County general fund as well as countywide service areas including mental health, senior citizens, public safety communications, children services and the health district; Logan-Champaign Mental Health District and Ohio Hi-Point Joint Vocational School District.
 
At the time of the application to the OPSB in December of 2020, Clearview officials estimated the project would “contribute over $1 million annually to Graham Local Schools, Adams Township and Champaign County.”
 
It was not clear whether that amount was a taxation estimate or a PILOT estimate, but the numbers are similar to data provided by Clearview in a document that estimated potential PILOT payments.
 
The estimated amount also does not include payments from Clearview to leaseholders in the project area. Those amounts are shielded from public disclosure by private lease agreements.
 
The official resolution from the commissioners to reject the PILOT for Clearview is scheduled to be signed and submitted to the state within the next week.
 
Comments from commissioners
 
County Commissioner Tim Cassady issued the following statement after Thursday’s vote: “Since taking office I have spent a lot of time researching, speaking with other county commissioners, auditors, and the Department of Development as well as meeting with the developers of this project.  These efforts have led me to the opinion that the best decision for our county is for this project to be taxed traditionally therefore each of the jurisdictions receive their operating revenues in the amounts and manner intended.”
 
County Commissioner Bob Corbett issued the following statement: “I have done enough research over the years to form the opinion that traditional taxation is the best way to go for the county. I have considered inflation factors which aren’t included in the PILOT numbers, which make a significant difference. I have considered the school districts and think it is unfair to other schools that don’t have this additional funding source advantage. The sustainable longevity of these projects is also a major question for me.   A great deal can change in a span of 40 years with anything and especially in the renewable energy arena. All of these things factored into my decision.”
 
County Commissioner Steve Hess was offered an opportunity to comment, but had not replied to the Urbana Daily Citizen by press time on Friday evening.

Content truncated due to possible copyright. Use source link for full article.


Source:https://www.urbanacitizen.com/

Share this post
Follow Us
RSS:XMLAtomJSON
Donate
Stay Updated

We respect your privacy and never share your contact information. | LEGAL NOTICES

Contact Us

WindAction.org
Lisa Linowes, Executive Director
phone: 603.838.6588

Email contact

General Copyright Statement: Most of the sourced material posted to WindAction.org is posted according to the Fair Use doctrine of copyright law for non-commercial news reporting, education and discussion purposes. Some articles we only show excerpts, and provide links to the original published material. Any article will be removed by request from copyright owner, please send takedown requests to: info@windaction.org

© 2022 INDUSTRIAL WIND ACTION GROUP CORP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WEBSITE GENEROUSLY DONATED BY PARKERHILL TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION