Woodville Twp: Zoning for solar arrays under consideration

Larry Limpf

News Editor

A public meeting to hear comments on a proposed amendment to the Woodville Township zoning resolution that will adopt criteria for installing solar arrays is scheduled for April 26 in the township fire station, 321 E. Main St.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Following the hearing, the zoning commission will consider the issues raised by residents and then make a recommendation to the township board of trustees. The board will then hold a second meeting to hear further public comment before making a final determination.
Under the proposed changes to the zoning resolution, medium and large solar energy facilities will require a special use permit. A medium solar system is defined as one covering less than five acres while large systems are defined as at least five acres or more.
A small solar system is defined as one that is attached to a building and doesn’t require a permit unless it changes the footprint of the supporting structure.
The resolution amendment covers solar facilities under 50 megawatts and those that don’t fall under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Power Siting Board.
Structures affiliated with a solar operation, including solar panels, will be subject to setback requirements. A setback of at least 150 feet from neighboring parcel boundaries is required as well as 300 feet from neighboring residences. Solar modules will also be subject to a 150-foot setback from the edge of any township, county, or state road.
A minimum lot size of five acres is included in the proposed amendment as is a maximum height of 20 feet for all structures affiliated with a solar operation, including the solar panels.
Applications for a special use permit must include a noxious weed control plan, a drainage management plan, and pollinator impact study.
Applicants will also be required to submit site plans that show:
-Solar panel and structure locations
-Power lines below and above ground
-Roadways within the property and access points
-Adjacent property owners
-A stormwater plan
-Security fence location
A study of potential glint and glare issues is also required with the application.
When a solar array operator decides the facility has reached the end of its useful life or it has been abandoned, the operator must remove it within 150 days.
Brad Rife, chairman of the zoning commission, said the proposed additions to the zoning resolution were drafted after the commission received recommendations from state agencies.
“Some of it too follows Ballville Township, which has done a lot of work on solar and what we have is very similar to what they have,” he said. “We’re just trying to get something on the books before we get a huge solar field somewhere and everybody is mad about it. We’re trying to get some regulations that will work and be fair to everybody.”
The proposals also require federal permits be included with the application to the township.
“The biggest thing I think with a solar field is getting your hook-up to the energy grid. And that’s where you have to get many of the permits,” Rife said.
Information about the proposed zoning resolution is available at the Woodville Public Library, 101 E. Main St. and at the office of the township fiscal officer in the fire station. To make an appointment call Lori Kepus, 419-849-2492.


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