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Oncology center close to getting its solar panels

Published: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

MORRIS – The Morris Regional Oncology Center has just two more steps to take before it could receive final approval from the city to make it a greener facility.

The center, located at 1600 W. U.S. 6, is going through the city’s planning process to receive permission to add solar panels to its property. Representatives were before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday, and are scheduled to go back before the Development Review Committee and then finally to the full City Council in November.

Joseph Kozicki, project manager for Solar Micronics, which is doing the solar panel project for the center, presented to the Morris City Council’s ZBA asking for variances for the project in order to fit solar panels as well as fencing in. The board approved those requests unanimously.

The city already has approved the center adding a carport – which will have solar panels on the roof – to its parking lot.

The oncology center now wants to add ground-mount solar panels in open space near the building and panels to the roof.

Making the center solar powered will save the center “100 percent of its electric bill,” Kozicki said previously. A fence will be put around the open space where the panels are being added to shield neighbors from the sight.

The center worked with the neighbors on the type of fencing to be constructed and have chosen a tan-colored vinyl fence, Kozicki said Wednesday.

The fence will be 6 feet in the back and 4 feet on the sides. The variances were for the front yard and side yard set backs of 15 feet.

The ground panels will be about 30 inches off the ground, he said.

“With the fence there is very little you will be able to see,” Kozicki told the board.

If the project moves forward, the center would have 720 solar panels, equaling 230 kilowatts of power. The center wants to have the panels in place by Dec. 31 to receive federal government funds offered as an incentive for solar panels.

When the project was presented before the DRC earlier this month, the committee requested a landscaping plan. City Planner Mike Hoffman said he was concerned with the oak trees that will have to be cut down for the project. The center agreed to replace the trees.

Kozicki said the center has met with the neighbors for what kind of trees they would like to see, and the parties agreed upon evergreens along with shrubbery. This will be located on the outside of the fence and has to be approved by the DRC.

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