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Residents get say on Scioto Ridge Wind Farm proposal

KENTON — Michael and Diana Shepherd wanted peace and quiet when they bought their home along a rural road in Taylor Creek Township in southern Hardin County.

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ABOVE: Betsy Reames of rural Belle Center speaks on tax credits that are driving wind farm development during the Wednesday evening Ohio Power Siting Board hearing on the Scioto Ridge Wind Farm project proposed by Everpower in northern Logan and southern Hardin counties. BELOW: Michael Shepherd, left, talks about the six wind turbines proposed within 3,000 feet of his Taylor Creek Township home in Hardin County. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)

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So they were alarmed when they learned recently their home of 13 years will be within 3,000 feet of six wind turbines if the Scioto Ridge Wind Farm project proposed by Everpower Renewables goes through as planned.

“Can you imagine having six of these 50-story-tall wind turbines surrounding your home?” he asked Wednesday evening during a public hearing about the project hosted by the Ohio Power Siting Board.

“This isn’t a couple of hog barns or a dairy barn going up, it is an industrial complex. This is going to change the landscape of these two counties forever.”

Everpower has proposed a project to construct a 300-megawatt wind farm that could include up to 175 wind turbines. It would be located in Richland and Rushcreek townships in northern Logan County and Roundhead, McDonald, Lynn and Taylor Creek townships in southern Hardin County.

The Shepherds were among dozens of landowners and activists who filled Veterans Hall at the Hardin County Courthouse to voice their opinions on the potential impact of the planned development.

Their concerns included noise issues, potential physical dangers, the economic viability of the project, impact on wildlife, expected declines in property values among other general quality of life issues.

Other business representatives and landowners with leases to build turbines on their property also spoke out in favor of the development.

In favor of the wind development, Hardin County Economic Development Director John Hohn said the proposal would be a boon for local industrial development as well as bringing in an estimated $2.7 million in annual payments in lieu of taxes.

“This has many benefits,” he said. “It’s clean renewable electric energy for thousands of residences and businesses and they would pay millions in taxes to the schools. But most importantly, it would create needed construction and maintenance jobs and be a catalyst for other economic development opportunities in our county.”

The next step for the project is a public evidentiary hearing at 10 a.m. Jan. 22 at the offices of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, 180 E. Broad St., Columbus. The board will vote on the submitted plan within several months, but that decision could face several legal challenges before becoming final.

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