Lordstown Mayor: Power Plant Project Still Alive

LORDSTOWN, Ohio -- Mayor Arno Hill insists a proposed $800 million natural-gas fuel plant in the village isn’t dead -- he just needs to find a new location.

The village planning commission voted 4-1 Monday night against a required zoning change for the proposed 57-acre site where Clean Energy Future LLC hoped to build the plant (READ STORY). The site is situated among several high-voltage power lines, which the company said made it an ideal location for the plant.

Monday’s vote followed two public hearings on the zoning change.

“I had no idea how [zoning commission members] were going to go. I was hoping it would have gone at least 3-2 rather than 4-1,” Hill said. “A certain group” of Lordstown residents if they could “plow the industrial land under they probably would,” he remarked.

“I wouldn’t say that’s the majority,” they mayor added. “Most of the people would have no problem if I could get a site that’s right and that’s my goal.”

Hill said he spoke with company officials following the vote and “they’re not ready to go anywhere,” he reported. The village has plenty of industrial land but he needs to find property that has the necessary amenities and access to the power grid.

The company could file an amended petition and only seek to switch 14 to 16 acres but Hill doubted it would. “I think we’re going to look for some existing industrial land and see what we can do,” the mayor said.

Hill also noted that the zoning vote was just a recommendation, and that it still needs to go to Village Council. Council has to advertise for a public hearing and any ordinance would need to have three readings in 30 days. “So it probably won’t be finally decided until the end of September,” he said.

“Do I think we’re going to be able to save this plant? Yes, I do,” he predicted. “If I get it put on the correct property, there won’t be any issues. I’m working on that right now.”

Company officials could not be reached for comment.

Copyright 2014 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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