Judge rules Seneca Wind may use properties for pre-construction purposes

A judge has ruled a company that had proposed to develop a wind farm in Seneca County is allowed to use premises for pre-construction purposes, according to Seneca County Clerk of Courts records.

Judge Robert Pollex, who previously served in Wood County Common Pleas Court, issued his ruling in favor of Seneca Wind LLC, which had proposed to develop a wind farm of up to 212 megawatts in Seneca County’s Scipio, Reed, Venice, Eden and Bloom townships.

Seneca Wind had provided notice of withdrawing its application Aug. 9. Ohio Power Siting Board had granted the request Aug. 15.

Seneca Wind provided notice that it, or any of its affiliates, reserved the right to file another application for certificate of environmental compatibility and public need with the board, according to Ohio Public Utilities Commission.

The complaint that Pollex considered alleged that each defendant refused to allow Seneca Wind access to their properties and that Seneca Wind needed to access the properties to analyze, plan and construct the project and to provide key information to Ohio Power Siting Board as it considered the application.

The complaint was filed against Christopher Carry, Elizabeth Carry, Melissa Carry, Alice Jane Chappell, Marvin Hahler, Raymond Hahler, David Holmer, Doris Holmer, Danette Martin, Brandon Martin, Debra Martin, John Martin, Betty Oakleaf, Brad Oakleaf, Gary Oakleaf, Theresa Oakleaf, Eugene Price, Judith Price, Cory Swartzmiller, David Swartzmiller, Barbara Vogel, Donald Vogel, Dale Wagner, Shirley Wagner, Joseph Willman, Marilyn Willman, Mary Joan Willman, Thomas Willman, Bonnie Ziegler and Mark Ziegler.

According to court records, Joseph Willman, Marilyn Willman, Mary Joan Willman and Thomas Willman were dismissed from the case.

Attorney Kara Herrnstein of Bricker & Eckler Attorneys at Law had said each defendant had a lease granting Seneca Wind the right to access and use property for a wind farm project in return for payments. The project was in the construction phase, the leases had not expired and Seneca Wind had the right to act under the leases, she had said.

In his ruling, Pollex wrote that Seneca Wind was in substantial compliance with the terms of the agreement, which still was valid and enforceable.

He wrote Seneca Wind may engage in pre-construction activities.

“Under the terms of the lease the Defendants are not to interfere with the project nor prevent plaintiff from access to the property,” he wrote. “Plaintiff has the right to quiet use and enjoyment of the premises for preconstruction purposes without interference of any kind by the lessors (Defendants).”