Renergy wins appeal in Bath. Twp. biodigester zoning case

Some residents are not pleased about the smells and semitrailer traffic at Pitstick Farms, 1146 Herr Road, Bath Twp. Richard Wilson/Staff

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Some residents are not pleased about the smells and semitrailer traffic at Pitstick Farms, 1146 Herr Road, Bath Twp. Richard Wilson/Staff

The Ohio Second District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Renergy Friday afternoon, upholding the Greene County ruling that the company’s Dovetail biodigester operation in Bath Twp. is a public utility, exempt from township zoning regulations.

The decision to uphold the ruling cites three main points, the first being sections of the Ohio Revised Code that confers “no power on any board of township trustees or board of zoning appeals” to regulate public utilities. The decision also states that Greene County was correct in not remanding the case back to the township’s Board of Zoning Appeals, and in ordering the board to grant Dovetail’s request for an exemption to expand the facility.

Bio-energy company Renergy operates the Dovetail biodigester in Bath Twp., an anaerobic biodigester facility at 1156 Herr Road in Bath Twp. outside Fairborn. Anaerobic digesters are enclosed facilities in which manure and food waste is stored to produce fertilizer and methane gas, which is used to power neighboring homes.

Some residents have protested the smell allegedly coming from the biodigester since it was built in 2014.

The Bath Twp. Board of Zoning Appeals ruled in March 2020 that the Dovetail was not an operation for an agricultural zoning, but an industrial zoning. The company appealed the BZA ruling and Greene County Common Pleas Judge Michael Buckwalter sided with Renergy in May 2021.

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