COLUMBUS — The final hearing for a proposed solar farm in the county will go on as scheduled.
David Hicks, an administrative law judge with the Ohio Power Siting Board, on Thursday denied a request to delay the adjudicatory hearing for Kingwood Solar set for March 7. Kingwood plans to construct a 175 megawatt solar powered electric generating facility. The proposed farm would be located on approximately 1,500 acres between Yellow Springs and Cedarville, most of which is currently in agricultural use.
As part of the approval process, a series of public hearings were held, with the final one scheduled for March. On Feb. 15, attorneys for Kingwood Solar and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation requested that the siting board convert the final hearing into a status conference to allow the parties involved to provide a settlement update and discuss a new procedural schedule.
According to the motion, “The Applicant believes the discussions have been productive and further discussions have been scheduled with the parties. While a prior continuance has been granted, a second extension could result in a narrowing of the issues in this proceeding (for example, presenting an agreement on certificate conditions). The second extension will also allow the Applicant the opportunity to continue to work with all parties on their issues and concerns. Additionally, the second extension will allow the Applicant to focus on settlement rather than focusing on preparing for hearing.”
On Feb. 16, Xenia Township, Miami Township, Cedarville Township, and Citizens for Greene Acres filed a memorandum in opposition to the joint motion.
“The Townships and CGA state that they have reviewed proposed stipulations from Kingwood and that nothing presented in settlement discussions effectively counters the widespread opposition expressed by local residents to their elected representatives,” according to siting board documents. “They believe that it is unlikely that the Townships, CGA, and Kingwood will be able to reach any agreement that will alter the negative view of the Facility held by the Townships’ residents and the members of CGA.”
Hicks agreed, writing that a second suspension of the schedule would “unnecessarily prolong the proceedings.”
In denying the request, Hicks also ordered that the remaining procedural deadlines: Feb. 23 for the filing of expert and factual testimony by Kingwood; Feb. 28 for the filing of expert and factual testimony by staff and intervenors; and March 4 for the filing of a stipulation and supporting testimony remain in place.
The overall plan has reportedly been modified and scaled back according to media reports. However a call to the phone number on the Kingwood Solar website made earlier in the week was not returned as of press time.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.