County: No solar, wind farms in Green

Commissioners pass township’s ban

Green Township Trustee George Toy is seen in the audience at Thursday’s Mahoning County commissioner meeting. The commissioners approved a ban on large solar facilities and large, “economically significant wind farms” in the unincorporated areas of Green Township.

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning County commissioners Thursday approved a resolution banning large solar facilities and large “economically significant wind farms” in unincorporated areas of Green Township.

The commissioners approved the measure 3-0.

Before the vote, Audrey Tillis, county administrator, said the public input at the Oct. 30 public hearing at Greenford Christian Church, 11767 Lisbon Road in Green Township, “was overwhelmingly in support of banning it.”

She said the commissioners were there that night “to listen to the public.” She said “over 800 signatures” of people in favor of the ban were presented to the commissioners.

Green Township Trustee George Toy told the commissioners Thursday the statements of the people who spoke at the Oct. 30 hearing indicated they “did not want it in Green Township. That’s what the residents want.”

Commissioner David Ditzler told Toy he gives Toy and the other trustees “a ton of credit and respect. It doesn’t matter how big or small the communities are and how big or small the townships are. Normally the elected officials in the small townships do a lot more work than the big townships do.”

Commissioner Anthony Traficanti said there was a lot of public input on this issue, “And we heard them loud and clear. I want to thank you for standing up for your township and those residents.”

Wayne Greier of Green Washingtonville Road in Green Township spoke at the hearing in Green Township and an earlier one at the county commissioners meeting room in the basement of the county courthouse.

He and his wife, Sara, have been in talks with the Texas company Alpin Sun for about three years about the company leasing 675 acres of the Greier’s 975-acre farm to build a $150 million solar power-generating farm.

The installation would generate up to 150 megawatts of electricity, and it represents a $150 million investment that would create 150 jobs during construction, according to an Alpin Sun information sheet.

The installation would provide “buffer zones of green space and planting trees and other vegetation between the solar panels and public view where needed for screening and to provide habitat for local wildlife,” the sheet states.

The Green Township trustees approved a resolution in May asking for the ban, which is allowed under Ohio’s Senate Bill 52, approved by the General Assembly in October 2021.

The Alpin Sun project would have been located in Green and Beaver townships, according to a letter from Alpin Sun received by the Mahoning County commissioners Sept. 18.

Greier said by telephone Thursday the project is “done” now that the commissioners approved the ban. He said the project proposed for his property is not “grandfathered in because we did not have the environmental studies done.”

He said the power line company that was asked to do the study got too busy to complete it in time. “There needed to be impact studies done to get grandfathered in under S.B. 52,” Greier said.

He is disappointed that the county commissioners did not give him more time to get the studies done so that better information could have been provided on where the solar panels would have been located on his property.

Greier said he spoke first at the meeting in Green Towship and was not given an opportunity to rebut the “misconceptions that were told at the meeting. There was so much fear and anger at that meeting. It didn’t matter what we said.”

He said misinformation was given about how close the panels might be to a house. “We didn’t get the chance to present the facts because the studies are not done yet,” he said. He called the commissioners decision “a big hit for land owners.”

He added that it suggests that some day people might tell him he can’t use manure on his property because of the smell. “Are they going to tell us what crops we have to plant on our property?”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today