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OPSB reschedules adjudicatory hearing for proposed Lake Erie wind farm

The following is provided as information without bias. Wind Farms are beyond the scope of the Ohio Lakefront group mission. The Ohio Lakefront Group has no position at this time

COLUMBUS, OHIO (Aug. 1, 2018) – The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) today rescheduled the adjudicatory hearing regarding Icebreaker Windpower, Inc.’s application to construct a wind-powered electric generation facility in Lake Erie. The purpose of the adjudicatory hearing is to allow formal parties to the case to present pre-filed testimony and evidence, and to cross examine other parties’ witnesses.

The adjudicatory hearing, previously set to begin on Aug. 6, 2018, is now scheduled as follows:

Sept. 24, 2018, at 10 a.m.
180 East Broad Street
Hearing Room 11-A
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3793

The OPSB rescheduled the adjudicatory hearing in response to a motion filed by Icebreaker Windpower to revise the procedural schedule in the case.

Icebreaker Windpower proposes to construct six wind turbines in Lake Erie approximately 8 to 10 miles off the shore of Cleveland. Each turbine would have a nameplate capacity rating of 3.45 megawatts (MW), resulting in a combined generating capacity of 20.7 MW. The project would include an approximately 12-mile long submerged cable to transmit the electricity generated by the turbines to Cleveland Public Power’s onshore Lake Road substation.

The OPSB held local public hearings in Cleveland on Nov. 8, 2017 and July 19, 2018. On July 3, 2018, the OPSB technical staff published its report of investigation, recommending that the OPSB approve construction of the facility subject to 34 conditions. The staff report is only a recommendation, and the final decision regarding the proposed facility remains pending before the OPSB. The OPSB has not scheduled a date for the final decision.

Additional information regarding the proposed facility is available on the OPSB website at www.OPSB.ohio.gov in case number 16-1871-EL-BGN.

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The Ohio Power Siting Board reviews applications for the construction of major utility facilities in Ohio. Together with Ohio’s elected officials, citizen stakeholders, and the energy industry, the Board strives to build a strong and competitive foundation for Ohio’s future.

 

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Representatives John Rogers and Ron Young Introduce Bi-partison Legislation to Mitigate Lake Erie Erosion Financing

State Reps. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) and Ron Young (R-Leroy Township) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would give property owners along a coastline an additional option to assist in mitigating coastal erosion or financing other needed improvements.

The bill, House Bill (HB) 709, would enable residents with shoreline property an opportunity to initiate by petition for the creation of a shoreline improvement project financed by a special improvement district (SID). This process requires participation by 75 percent of the property owners of the proposed district, or 60 percent of the front footage. Once a petition has been circulated and signed by the needed number of property owners, it would then be subject to the approval of a municipality’s or township’s governing body. Property owners located within the district would then be subject to a levy for the repayment of funds necessary for the shoreline improvement project.

All shoreline improvement projects would be required to comply with current zoning, environmental and coastal management laws.

“The damage caused by erosion this year to properties along Lake Erie’s shoreline has been unusually severe. This, combined with the ongoing threat of continued damage, represents a significant cost to individual homeowners, their neighborhoods and lake-side communities,” said Rogers. “Our legislation gives property owners an additional tool to help them shore up their home fronts and investments that are at serious risk.”

Young, whose district includes the shoreline communities of Mentor, Painesville Township, Madison and Perry, has been supporting efforts to curb shoreline erosion for a number of years. He has won significant amounts state funding for shoreline protection related projects in Mentor, Perry, Madison, Willoughby and other portions of Lake County.

“For many Lake County citizens their largest and most treasured possession is their home. This legislation gives our people a chance to band together to save their property,” Young said. “Break walls and other shoreline protection systems are very expensive and often require high levels of government funding, approval and scrutiny. For these reasons, government entities usually fund these projects. Allowing citizens to voluntarily band together and structure a long-term funding stream (up to 30 years) to create a much needed shoreline protection system is long past due. It’s also important to note that 100 percent of all funds levied will be allocated to the project.”

Rogers, whose district includes the shoreline communities of Willowick, Lakeline, Timberlake, Eastlake, Mentor-on-the-Lake, Mentor and Fairport Harbor, in addition to the riverside communities of Painesville and Grand River, recently hosted a town hall event together with State Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) along with representatives from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss options for residents whose homes and properties are at risk from the damage caused by erosion.

“A shoreline improvement district would allow neighbors to attack an erosion issue in unison financially as opposed to a piecemeal approach that might otherwise be cost prohibitive,” said Rogers.

HB 709 bill is awaiting referral to a House committee for its initial hearings.

 

The Senate has a similar Bill, SB 51.

 

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ODNR and Coastal Management hold Meeting in Eastlake to address Shore Erosion

The following is excerpted and annotated from the Lake County News Herald on line report on the meeting.

It was standing room only as over 75 people filled the board room at the Northern Career Institute in Eastlake for a town hall meeting June 14 on erosion damage caused by the near record high water level of Lake Erie.
The water level is currently 22 inches above the long-term normal for May, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And the 573.56 feet above sea level is less than an inch from Lake Erie’s record set in June 1986.
Attendees at the meeting heard what options the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Office of Coastal Management had to offer on how they could protect existing lakefront properties and prevent further damage.
Scudder D. Mackey, chief of ODNR Office of Coastal Management, and Deborah Beck, assistant chief of the Office of Coastal Management gave a powerpoint presentation during the meeting in which they discussed water levels, shoreline types, cause and effects of erosion, erosion control solutions, temporary shore structure permits and available assistance. (we will post these as soon as they are available)
Mackey pointed out that many property owners may already have shoreline protections that were installed back in the 1970s and 1980s in response to earlier high water events.
“The average lifespan of these structures may be 30 years, 40 years or 50 years depending on how well these structures were built,” Mackey said. “The point is, is that many of those structures that are there now are deteriorating. During the low water levels we didn’t pay too much attention to those structures because we didn’t have erosion, we had nice beaches.”
Beck cited some of the causes of erosion as wind, waves and surface water runoff and the effects include bluff slumping, sliding, toe erosion rain, rill and gully erosion and ground water seepage and outflow.
According to Beck, beaches are the most effective preventive against erosion. (However, most beaches have beed eroded or flooded by the high water)
Other options she presented included revetments which would be large angular rocks on the slopes of the bluffs and sea walls which are vertical structures made of concrete or steel where the land and water interface.
Beck also advised property owners that if they had vegetation on their bluff to leave it because it would (help) provide protection against erosion
Normally, to add any of these measures, shoreline property owners would need to apply for a shore structure permit which involves inspection of land and design plans by an engineer to ensure structures are structurally sound.
Due to the high water and property owners needing to get protection put in place before more property is lost, the ODNR has recently started issuing temporary shore structure permits, which takes one to two weeks to obtain versus the usual three to six months and only requires sketches and pictures.

 (This measure was established at the urging of the Ohio Lakefront Group.)
The temporary permits are intended to allow for emergency construction of new shore erosion control measures or to repair unpermitted structures. They are only good for two years and property owners will be required to then apply for a permanent shore structure permit.
A temporary permit does not require a special engineer to design the project where the permanent permit does require one.
According to Beck, ODNR will come out to meet with homeowners to discuss what can be done to protect their property from erosion.
To apply for the temporary shore structure permits property owners can visit coastal.ohiodnr.gov/tssp

 (To download the permit for printing, click the green block near the top of the page)

They will need to complete the one-page application and provide a site location map which can be pulled from Google Maps, a project sketch showing an overhead view of the planned project and a side view sketch of the planned project which can be hand drawn.

Beck also discussed the available assistance to property owners located in a designated erosion area and those include free technical assistance and a coastal erosion area loan program.
The technical assistance involves someone coming out from ODNR to inspect the damage and see what solutions are available that would fix or prevent further damage.
“The Coastal Loan Program is administered by the county. If you live in Lake County it’s administered by the Planning Commission,” Beck said. “Those are low-interest loans. They will cover the design and construction of erosion measures for properties located in a designated erosion area.” (Commissioner Dan Troy advised that there is really no money for these loans and he only knows of one loan since 2005.)
For those unsure if their property is in a designated erosion area they can contact ODNR Coastal Management Office at coastal@dnr.state.oh.us or 419-626-7980.
Loan information and application can be found at coastal.dnr.oh.us.gov/erosionloans
Beck also suggested that to keep cost down multiple property owners located next to each other could go in together for a structure that runs the length of the adjacent properties.
Beck also discussed the Coastal Management Grants. The competitive grants can be applied for by local, county and regional governments for the purpose of coastal planning, restoration, public access, research and water quality improvements projects. (These grants are for public land.)
Following the presentation, state Rep. John Rogers, D-Mentor-on-the-Lake, discussed a bill being presented by state Sen. John Eklund, R-Munson Township, which if passed would add Lake Erie shoreline improvement projects to a list of public improvements that could possibly be financed by a special improvement district, and would allow state owned public trust land to be included in a SID created for shoreline improvement purposes. (This bill is unlikely to be passed this year, as the focus will be on the upcoming election.)
State Sen. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, feels that many people probably aren’t happy with the options and answers provided at the meeting and more than likely will have to plan a follow-up meeting.

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2018 Ohio Lakefront Group Annual Meeting

The 2018 Annual Meeting was held at the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake. There was an excellent showing of members and guests, as well as new members.

Chairman Greg Baeppler opened the meeting with the Pledge to the flag. He then reviewed the purpose of the Ohio Lakefront Group.

He reviewed a By-Lws change which would change the term of officers from one year to a staggered 3 year term.

He then moved to the election of officers for the 2018-2019 term. The slate of officers was the same as the previous year as proposed. He called for nominations for the floor. Hearing none he called for a unanimous  vote to accept the slate as proposed. The slate was accepted as proposed.

Having no further business, the formal business meeting was adjourned.

Greg introduced President Tony Yankel who gave a report on the lawsuit, its outcome and the distribution of $6.1 million to lease holders, landholders on the lake, attorneys fees, and the OLG award of  legal fees to OLG.

He further reviewed the ongoing discussions with ODNR to fully comply with the spirit of the lawsuit settlement. He announced that ODNR would issue no cost temporary permits for repair of shoreline structures damaged during the recent high water and storms as recommended by OLG. OLG is working to have these temporary permits become permanent without further cost or actions by landowners.

He further told of ongoing work of OLG with ODNR to further comply with the settlement as well as other actions that are currently under SB 51 in the Senate. While it is not likely that the bill will pass this year, due to the focus of the legislature on the upcoming election, this may be a good start for legislation down the line, which may help pay for landowner improvements along the lakeshore

To view the PPT presentation, click this link: 2018-Annual-Meeting-Tony-3-1. To scroll through, use the down arrow or return key.

He then introduced Dr. Charles Herdendorf, Professor Emeritus of Ohio State University, and head of the Stone Labs in Lake Erie for 20 years. Dr. Herdendorf discussed the various processes in Lake Erie including erosion, avulsion, and accretion. He emphasized that avulsion (a sudden event on the Lake that causes serious damage to walls, jetties, and other shoreline protection measures) causes at least 80% of the damage along the shoreline. By Ohio Law, land lost by avulsion can be filled back to its original point.

Tony then introduced 4 shoreline contractors who attended the meeting. Each spoke a few minutes and were available for consultation after the meeting.

He also introduced David Stang who represents an organization opposed the the proposed wind mills in Lake Erie. OLG has no stand on this issue at this time. Mr Stang gave a short talk about his concerns.

Tony then introduced Sandy Bihn, Executive Director of the Lake Erie Foundation and Executive Director of Northeast Ohio. She spoke about the protection of Lake Erie and the waters going into it.

After questions, the general meeting was closed.

Please e-mail us if you think the meeting was good, bad, worthwhile, glad you came. Also any thoughts on what we could do better or different as well as suggestions for subject matter. ohiolakefrontgroup@att.net

Some pictures from the meeting:

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