LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – Little by little, Columbiana County is saying no to large-scale alternative energy projects.
Commissioners added seven more townships to the list of unincorporated areas banning commercial-size solar panel arrays or wind turbines on farmland.
“I don’t know that we as a board have encouraged any of those townships. They have come to us,” said Columbiana County Commissioner Mike Halleck.
The move to ban the construction of large arrays began earlier this year after a Canadian energy company proposed one in Franklin Township.
When Commissioners held a public hearing, they heard from a room full of neighbors, many of them saying they didn’t want it in their backyards. That project is now before the Ohio Power Siting Board, but commissioners say it hit a snag.
“The permit fee hasn’t been paid yet, so until the permit fee is paid, they won’t move forward with it,” said Columbiana County Commissioner Tim Weigle.
There are 18 townships in the county. his latest vote covers seven where trustees had requested the bans. They join four others approved early last month, and commissioners say three more have made their own requests.
The board’s actions are only affecting solar arrays that produce 50 megawatts of electricity or more, but commissioners believe their actions so far are sending a message.
“I think that has an impact on it, on their decision to keep forward or not,” Weigle said.
For now, commissioners have not yet scheduled another public hearing for those remaining townships requesting bans as they wait to see if others ask to join the list.