WILLIAMSPORT – Williamsport Council met this week in opposition to a letter that the Williamsport Mayor wrote in favor of the Chipmunk solar project that has been proposed within Deercreek township.
In November of 2021 John Elliot Mayor of Williampost sent a letter to Pickaway County Commissioners in favor of the project:
“Dear Pickaway County Commissioners, As the Mayor of the Village of Williamsport, I am writing to share my support for the Chipmunk Solar project being developed by Geenex Solar and EDF Renewables. The folks from both Geenex and EDF Renewables have met with me and my staff multiple times to share information, answer our questions on solar, and talk about the benefits that the Chipmunk Solar project will bring to our community. They continue to ask how they can collaborate with us and have already demonstrated their support of our community with the upcoming Village’s Tree Lighting Ceremony. A project like Chipmunk Solar means many things for Pickaway County, including Solar facilities that will increase revenues for our community. Property taxes paid by solar farms generate significant revenue for the county and communities they are built in, helping fund schools, services, and other public works all without the need for county services in return. They can also attract new economic development to the area. Solar provides an opportunity for our local farmers and their families to diversify their income and save their land for future generations. It also creates new income opportunities for local businesses, including those in construction, hotels, and restaurants like Pettit’s which will benefit from several years of increased business thanks to the nearby construction. Solar can be a win for the residents of Pickaway County on the benefits of Chipmunk Solar and its importance to our community’s future. Sincerely, John Elliott, Mayor.”
Locals in town including Chris Weaver who lives across from part of the possible site say that the solar farm would change the way of life for him and his family that has lived in the area for over 30 years.
“We would live across the street from constant construction that would be very loud, they drive poles into the ground over twelve feet hundreds of them and I’ve witnessed how they do it at Yellow Bud and that would be difficult to live with. We are also concerned with the fact that they have limited studies on how this affects nature and things like our rural satellite internet connections.”
Weaver said that he’s visited several solar farms and meetings researching the pros and cons of the locations and said this isn’t what you think it is.
“They make noise, they buzz loudly, they are not silent like most people think, I would have to move from the home I planned to live the rest of my life in and pass down to my children when I am gone. It would ruin what I’ve built. This doesn’t create jobs, they bring people in for the construction and they leave. I’m not a Right or a Left person politically I’m a common sense person and for me, I oppose it on many levels.”
Weaver says he’s spoken to many officials and brought his concerns to Council, the mayor, and even Pickaway Commissioners.
“I’m not someone who usually tells others what to do on their own property, but when it affects the population around the property and my right to live peacefully then I have to say something.”
Weaver was at the May 16th council meeting when the Williamsport Council passed a resolution in defiance of the Mayor’s letter to the Commissioners.
“Council Members moved to adopt the following: WHEREAS, the Village of Williamsport has held public meetings to discuss the Chipmunk Solar and heard from a large group of residents in objection to the project. WHEREAS, Village of Williamsport’s comprehensive land package allows for residential growth. WHEREAS the Village of Williamsport believes the Chipmunk Solar project within the Village of Williamsport is not in the best interest of the residents of the village, and; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: SECTION I. That the Village of Williamsport hereby opposes the Chipmunk Solar project within the Village of Williamsport.”
Currently, on the Ohio Power Siting Board, the Chipmunk project is pending, the proposed project is an up to 400 megawatt solar-powered electric generating facility located in Deer Creek, Jackson, and Monroe townships and the village of Williamsport in Pickaway County. The location of the proposed Chipmunk Solar Project is being evaluated within approximately 3,684 acres. More on the project here: https://opsb.ohio.gov/cases/21-0960-el-bgn#:~:text=Chipmunk%20Solar%20LLC%20has%20proposed,evaluated%20within%20approximately%203%2C684%20acres.