Solar farm debate heats up


Commissioners hear comments for and against energy projects

By Jacob Clary - jclary@aimmediamidwest.com



Opponents of a solar farm in Highland County protest its establishment Wednesday at the corner of West Main Street and Governor Foraker Place in Hillsboro.

Opponents of a solar farm in Highland County protest its establishment Wednesday at the corner of West Main Street and Governor Foraker Place in Hillsboro.


Jacob Clary | The Times-Gazette

Opponents of a solar farm leave the Wednesday morning meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners while supporters of the solar farm finish speaking their piece.


Jacob Clary | The Times-Gazette

Solar farms were the discussion of the day Wednesday at the Highland County Board of Commissioners meeting, held in the basement of the county administration building rather than as usual in the commissioners’ offices, due to large crowds both in favor of and opposition to the farms.

A supporter of the solar farms who identified himself as Trig said the focus of coming to the meeting was to show that there is support for solar farms from people in Highland County. He said he is with Southern Ohio for Solar Farms and that the organization meets with people around the community that might not want to put signs in their yard. He said that the farms would bring a “lot of good funding” to the county and that even though he doesn’t own farmland, he will be surrounded by the project.

“I’m right in the middle of it and I don’t have a problem with it going in,” he said. “If it doesn’t stop and go in here in Palomino, it’s going to go somewhere else. We’d like to see you guys reap the benefits and the community reap the benefits… We just wanted to make sure we were backing you guys with whatever decision you make. We’re not here to debate with our competition or anything like that. We just wanted to let you know that there’s many people for this, not just against it.”

An opponent of the solar farm that identified herself as Becky said here group there because they wanted more than the time allotted to discuss the solar farms. She asked for an evening meeting to be formed where both sides could be allotted a “few hours” to say what they need to because she said, “we’ve not been represented.”

Another opponent to the solar farms who identified himself as Trevor said the commissioners have not met with their constituents “from the beginning” and that they have not protected people that would be surrounded by the solar farms.

“We are a community and we’re going to have to heal from this because we are a broken community right now, and please do not take this personally, we are not fighting the landowners, we are not fighting personal persons, we’re not fighting the individuals,” said one person opposed to the solar farms that did not identify themself. “We are fighting the projects. Highland County has enough projects. You’ve got enough money from the projects. It’s time to stop this before we lose our county. Farmland is too precious and we’re doing our part. Highland County has done their part for solar. We don’t need anymore.”

Following the request to announce a public meeting to discuss the solar farms commissioner David Daniels said the board can look and schedule one if they believe it’s necessary. However, he also said that these kinds of meetings need to have timetables established, as well as rooms and properties secured.

“Those things have to happen,” Daniels said. “We have work to do on our end as well to support that kind of an activity. I’m not saying that we wouldn’t do it. I’m saying that we need to look at when we can do it, where we can do it, how we can do it, and what the format should be.”

In other news, Jeff Duncan, the board president, said work continues on the roof at the Hi-TEC Center where a total roof rehab is being done. Duncan also said a contractor started replacing the roof on Tuesday at the Highland County Airport.

There were also six resolutions approved by the board of commissioners. They are as follows:

* Res No. 21-151 is an authorization for additional appropriation from unanticipated revenue to S-67, Spay-Neuter Program, in the amount of $2,500.

* Res No. 21-152 is an authorization for a reimbursement of funds from CSEA to Public Assistance in the amount of $8,435.44 for the July 2021 child support shared cost distribution.

* Res No. 21-153 is an authorization for a budget modification within jail diversion in the amount of $1,503.41.

* Res No. 21-154 is an authorization for a budget modification within prosecutorial diversion fiscal year 2020 in the amount of $5,000.

* Res No. 21-155 is an authorization for a budget modification within prosecutorial diversion fiscal year 2020 in the amount of $2,283.

* Res No. 21-156 is an authorization for an appropriation decrease within operating expense in the amount of $1,997.37.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

Opponents of a solar farm in Highland County protest its establishment Wednesday at the corner of West Main Street and Governor Foraker Place in Hillsboro.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2021/08/web1_DSC_0381.jpgOpponents of a solar farm in Highland County protest its establishment Wednesday at the corner of West Main Street and Governor Foraker Place in Hillsboro. Jacob Clary | The Times-Gazette

Opponents of a solar farm leave the Wednesday morning meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners while supporters of the solar farm finish speaking their piece.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2021/08/web1_DSC_0387.jpgOpponents of a solar farm leave the Wednesday morning meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners while supporters of the solar farm finish speaking their piece. Jacob Clary | The Times-Gazette
Commissioners hear comments for and against energy projects

By Jacob Clary

jclary@aimmediamidwest.com