Proposed amendment would limit utility-scale solar in Greene County

A proposed amendment to the land use plan outlines Greene County’s approach to utility-scale solar and wind infrastructure.

A proposed amendment to Greene County’s land use plan would provide limited support for utility-scale renewable energy development.

Under the amendment, utility-scale projects will be limited to two percent of land area for each township, cannot be located within the view of cultural, scenic byways, historic corridors, or current or proposed bike trails. The amendment also prohibits utility-scale development from occurring in any existing or planned urban development, and bars development within a mile of the Little Miami Scenic River or within wetlands.

The amendment seeks to strike a balance between promoting renewable energy and protecting natural resources and farmland.

“Renewable energy itself is not an issue with most Americans nor with residents of Greene County,” the amendment reads. “One of the main concerns with utility scale solar and wind projects is the size of these facilities. Further, Greene County places great emphasis on protecting and growing its tourism economic base that relies on exceptional natural, scenic, recreational, and cultural resources.”

The amendment places no limits aside from existing laws on landowners, businesses, or municipalities that want to install renewable energy systems on their property.

Any proposed utility-scale renewable energy projects in unincorporated areas must be reviewed by the RPCC and the township government, and require a Roadway Use Agreement. The plan also recommends establishing special districts for solar and wind energy under the guidance of Senate Bill 52, which requires renewable energy projects to be approved by local government.

Last month, the Greene County Commission filed a notice of intervention with the Ohio Power Siting Board for the proposed Kingwood Solar farm near John Bryan State Park.

The Greene County commissioners must vote to adopt the amendment Thursday.

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