Mahoning Commissioners Dim Plans for Solar Farm

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Mahoning County Board of Commissioners turned out the lights on a proposed $150 million solar farm in Green Township.

At their meeting Thursday morning, Commissioners David Ditzler, Carol Rimedio-Righetti and Anthony Traficanti voted unanimously to designate all of the unincorporated areas in the township “as restricted area for purposes of prohibiting the construction of any large solar facility or large economically significant wind farms,” according to the resolution that was approved.

“You and your colleagues really emphasized and reiterated that you know the community. You work hard on behalf of it and you do what’s in the best interest of the community,” Ditzler said to Green Township Trustee George Toy, who attended Thursday’s meeting. 

The resolution, which halts plans by Texas-based Alpin Sun to develop a solar farm on township land owned by Wayne Grier, followed two public hearings during which the majority of those present objected to permitting the development.

At a hearing conducted in the township, more than 400 people showed up, and “very few” of them were for it, Rimedio-Righetti said. A petition also was presented at the meeting, with more than 380 signatures of people opposed to the development.   

“You have to listen to the people that live in that area,” she said.

The main issues expressed by opponents were potential water contamination, children’s public safety and property values, Toy said.

“We felt that the company that was there was not a very ethical company,” he added. “We couldn’t find them on Dun and Bradstreet.”

The county has received letters from other communities seeking to have similar bans enacted, Rimedio-Righetti said. She acknowledged other communities might be in favor of such development, but she hasn’t heard from any so far.

“You have to listen to what the people want in Mahoning County,” she said.

A representative of Alpin Sun did not respond to a request for comment by time of publication.

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