Sen. Bill Reineke
Sen. Bill Reineke
A group of citizens concerned over new solar farm projects in Highland County will be meeting with public officials at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 4 at the
Lynchburg Area Joint Fire & Ambulance District at 8123 S.R. 135, Lynchburg.

An organizer of the group, Dave Gingrich, told The Highland County Press this week that Clinton County/Highland County Citizens Concerned About Solar Farms have invited State Sen. Bob Peterson, State Rep. Shane Wilkin and commissioners from Highland and Clinton counties.

Gingrich said the group is concerned with due process for property owners adjacent to the solar projects. He said at least 49 landowners or area residents were not properly notified of the solar project.

Other concerns include property devaluation; the heat island effect – the difference in ambient air temperature around the solar power plant compared to that of the surrounding landscape; PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) arrangements; and other tax liability issues.

Gingrich said he is seeking state lawmakers' support for House Bill 118.

As previously reported, bill sponsors are reconsidering twin proposals that would allow citizens to use the referendum process to reject proposed wind and solar energy developments in their communities.

State Sens. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) and Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) and State Reps. Craig Reidel (R-Defiance) and Dick Stein (R-Norwalk) previously announced they will redraft their proposal after completing three hearings a piece on S.B. 52 and H.B. 118.

In the hearings, opponents argued the bill would dampen the growing renewable energy industry in Ohio, be costly to project developers and cost jobs. Supporters claimed the bill protects property rights and gives property owners and local communities a necessary voice in the siting of large-scale wind and solar developments. An alternative proposal under consideration by the sponsors would create a process for communities that want wind and solar developments to signal their interest early while still allowing those that don’t want the development to use a referendum process. A substitute bill is expected soon.

The May 4 meeting is open to the public.

For more on the group, visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2814973892123712/?ref=share

For more on solar projects, visit:

https://highlandcountypress.com/Content/In-The-News/In-The-News/Article/National-Grid-Renewables-representatives-discuss-proposed-Dodson-Creek-Solar-Project-during-virtual-meeting/2/20/68363?s=1

https://highlandcountypress.com/Content/Opinions/Opinion/Article/Ohio-legislative-update-/4/22/68240?s=1

https://highlandcountypress.com/Content/In-The-News/Headlines/Article/House-to-consider-blocking-cities-from-banning-natural-gas/2/73/68389?s=1

House Bill 118

https://ohiohouse.gov/legislation/134/hb118