GREEN TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – The second hearing on solar farms in Mahoning County was held Monday night. The developer, landowner, Green Township trustees and the public made comments to county commissioners. Now, it’s in the commissioners’ hands to decide.
Roughly 300 people were inside Greenford Christian Church hearing comments for or against a solar-powered farm being proposed for Green Township. It would be put on landowner Wayne Grier’s property, developed by Alpin Sun.
Fred Null of Alpin Sun claims the project would be a benefit to the community.
“No traffic, no odor, no housing subdivision, no children added to the school district, no extraordinary burden on social services or first responders,” said Null.
They’ll have landscaping and buffers around the site, and the panels won’t be seen by the public.
Green Township Trustee Randy Chismar says most of what they’re promising to do is required by the Ohio Revised Code, but not everything.
“So I guess we’re just going to have to take the word of this foreign company that will never be back in Green Township,” said Chismar.
Grier says one part is landowner rights.
“If we strip land owners of their rights and farmers of their rights, what’s going to be next?” asked Grier.
And some agreed.
“This is a way to erode our property rights. Even if you don’t support solar, which I know a lot of people in this room do not, I know for a fact that every single person sitting in this room right now loves their rights,” said Nick Bundred with the Land and Liberty Coalition.
Others argued about the noise coming off the panels, potential health risks and the risk of panels catching fire.
“If something were to catch fire, our first responders can’t do anything but watch it burn. By approving this project, you’re saying you’re OK with having another East Palestine situation,” said Green Township resident Kimberly Bodak.
Alpin Sun says they would provide on-site training for firefighters.
The company also says it would bring more jobs to the area. They claim it could help YSU, Mercy Health and the city of Youngstown. It would also provide $26 million to South Range Schools and $2.5 million to Canfield Schools, which one person didn’t believe.
“This isn’t going to happen, does anybody believe we’re going to get this kind of money?” asked Green Township resident Thomas Lewis.
For now, the decision is up to the Mahoning County commissioners if the solar farm will happen.