Greenfield council members voted at Tuesday’s meeting to send a letter of concern ahead of the Ohio Power Siting Board’s meeting on Aug. 12 to decide on a proposed solar farm in Ross County.
Representatives of National Grid Renewables, which is planning two solar farms near Greenfield, one in Fayette County and one in Ross County, attended a recent council meeting to address questions and concerns about the projects.
Some of the things they said they are voluntarily doing with their solar farms is planting native plants that thrive in indirect sunlight, planting vegetation screens, and using fencing that is more like what can be seen surrounding a pasture instead of chain link fencing seen around farms belonging to other companies.
Council’s letter, which will be completed by Greenfield Law Director Hannah Bivens and sent to the Ohio Power Siting Board, is to address the above concerns and that the company adheres to what it has said it will do.
Council chair Phil Clyburn noted that as a municipality, Greenfield has very little ability to do anything other than voice concern, but it is important that the village’s voice is heard. All council members agreed to the contents to be included in the letter for Bivens to draft. The only exception was council member Eric Borsini, who joined the meeting via video. As the Open Meetings Act modifications put into effect during the pandemic were only effective to July 1 of this year and have not been extended, Borsini was unable to vote on any matters that came before the council Tuesday.
For more information regarding the project and how the public can participate, go to opsb.ohio.gov. The Ross County project can be found in the “Pending Cases” tab. Once that page opens, scroll down to the “Ross County Solar” tab.
Other things voted on, and approved, by council members at the meeting included legislation that will allow the Ohio Department of Transportation to complete road work on North Washington Street and S.R. 41 north. The improvements are expected to take place next summer.
Additionally, an addition to the zoning code regarding solar panels was received, but will go through two more readings before being voted on. This legislation has nothing to do with solar farms, but rather deals with village residents placing solar panels on their properties. This is something that wasn’t considered when drafting the zoning updates that were approved earlier this year, but the need to address it arose when residents were inquiring about putting solar panels on their homes.
In his report, finance director Gary Lewis presented July’s preliminary numbers. They are: month-to-date revenue, $577,529; month-to-date expenses, $456,144; year-to-date revenue, $ 3.31 million; year-to-date expenses, $2.90 million; and a general fund balance as of July 31 of $486,484.
Council member Brenda Losey asked why this year’s year-to-date expenses were nearly $470,000 more than the same month last year. Lewis said while that is due to a number of variables, it is likely because this time last year the village put a lot of spending on hold because of the financial insecurities due to the pandemic.
On another matter, council member Amie Ernst said the Mitchell Park Youth Sports League will offer football and cheerleading for the fall season. For information and to register, go to the league’s Facebook page. The group also has a wiffle ball tournament coming up on Aug. 14. Information can be found on the league’s Facebook page.
As a reminder, surveys are posted periodically on the village’s Facebook page to garner feedback from the public. Additionally, there is a suggestion box located in the first floor lobby of the City Building where residents can offer suggestions, ideas, complaints, etc., and it can be done anonymously if desired. Citizens may also communicate by phone, through email, or by messages through the village’s Facebook page.
Greenfield Village Council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of the City Building. The meetings are also livestreamed on the village’s Facebook page. For information and updates, go to greenfieldohio.net or the Village of Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the village of Greenfield.