We know we should never underestimate the drive of the wind industry to get every bit of special treatment they can, whether it be federal taxpayer subsidy, local property tax abatement, renewable energy mandates or free use of land. This time it is the free use of neighboring properties. Big wind asserts they are unable to build wind farms in Ohio due to existing setbacks that respect the property lines of landowners. As is well known, the wind developers can pay the neighbor to obtain a waiver of setback. But it seems that the wind industry would prefer to steal it and they have found two willing accomplices in their proposed heist. Rep. Tony Burkley of Paulding County and Rep. Tim Brown of Bowling Green. These State Representatives today introduced House Bill 190 (attached) to allow the County Commissioners to override state law.
Current siting regulations, established last year under HB 483, require a setback of 1,125 feet from the tip of a turbine’s blades to the nearest property line. In practice, that requires setbacks of about 1,300 feet from each turbine’s base. The current law makes an exception for existing facilities and ones that had already gotten permits.(Iberdrola, for instance, currently has 10 projects approved under the old setback.) For those projects, the Ohio Power Siting Board measured the 1,125-foot setback to the outer wall of the “nearest, habitable, residential structure” on neighboring property. Otherwise, property line setbacks had been roughly 550 feet. What HB 190 proposes to do is allow the County Commissioners to override current property protections and provide for a setback of 1.1 times the turbine height to the tip of the blade from the property line and 1,125 feet from a habitable structure. Essentially, HB 190 would enable the County Commissioners to expose their constituents to harms, devalue property and potentially jeopardize the landowner/homeowner’s access to insurance or mortgage financing.
We will bring you more information as we obtain it. In the meantime, everyone should make a point to ensure their representative does not sign on as a co-sponsor. Let you elected officials – including your county commissioners and township trustees know that you will vigorously work to end their public service career if they support this bill. Encourage your township trustees and county commissioners to voice their opposition to the Ohio Township Association and the County Commissioner’s Association. Why on earth would a local elected official want to take an action to cover for a wind developer that can’t or won’t pay for a waiver?
The current system is fair. Burkley and Brown should be called out in local letters to editor and demonstrations should take place when they appear publically….
HOUSE BILL 190
To permit counties to adopt resolutions establishing an alternative setback for wind farms and to extend by five years the deadlines for obtaining the qualified energy project tax exemption.
Sec. 4906.211 .
(A) Notwithstanding sections 4906.20 and 4906.201 of the Revised Code, the board of county commissioners of a county may adopt, for either one specific wind farm proposed to be located within the county or for any future wind farms proposed to be located within the county, a resolution establishing a minimum setback requirement described under division (B) of this section for the wind turbines of the wind farm or farms.
(B) The minimum setback shall be both of the following:
(1) Equal to a horizontal distance, from the turbine’s base to the property line of the wind farm property, equal to one and one-tenth times the total height of the turbine structure as measured from its base to the tip of its highest blade;
(2) At least one thousand one hundred twenty-five feet in horizontal distance from the tip of the turbine’s nearest blade at ninety degrees to the exterior of the nearest, habitable, residential structure, if any, located on adjacent property at the time that the certification application is filed under section 4906.06 or 4906.20 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 4906.212 . Before adopting a resolution under section 4906.211 of the Revised Code, the board of county commissioners may consult with the power siting board. Any costs related to the consultation shall be paid by the person seeking to construct the wind farm for which the consultation is being made.
Sec. 4906.213 .
(A) Subject to division (B) of this section, a board of county commissioners that adopts a resolution under section 4906.211 of the Revised Code may adopt a resolution revoking the prior resolution at any time .
(B) Before a resolution has been revoked, a person seeking to construct a wind farm to which the resolution applies may file notice of the intent to construct the wind farm with the board of county commissioners. If the board revokes the resolution after the notice is filed but before the wind farm has been constructed, the resolution that was revoked shall remain applicable to the wind farm for which the notice was filed, and the revocation, if the revoked resolution had applied generally to all future wind farms within the county, shall apply only prospectively from the time of the revocation.
Sec. 4906.214 . The power siting board may increase the setback for any specific wind turbine of a wind farm that is subject to the setback requirements adopted pursuant to a resolution adopted under section 4906.211 of the Revised Code, in order to preserve the health, safety, and welfare of neighboring property owners.
Sec. 4906.215 . Nothing in sections 4906.21 to 4906.214 of the Revised Code contravenes the power siting board’s ultimate authority to issue certificates under this chapter for the construction of wind farms.2