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Local

Grundy County Board approves extension of solar farm permit

Map amendments, agreement with village of Diamond also get thumbs up from Grundy County Board

The members of the Grundy County Board voted to extend an agreement with Mazon Solar regarding a planned solar farm during their regular monthly meeting on Nov. 12.

The one-year extension of an ordinance allowing for a special-use permit for the farm included a list of 22 conditions to be met by Mazon Solar, LLC developed by Geronimo Energy.

The permit first was approved by the board in May 2018. The farm is located west of the Higgins and McArdle roads intersection in Wauponsee Township and is expected to produce between two and four megawatts of power.

“This is to extend the solar farm’s approval of their special use from last November, this is to extend it to 2020,” Land Use Director Heidi Miller said to the board. “Geronimo Energy will actually be constructing that solar farm, I’m assuming that it will start sometime in the spring.”

The solar farm will occupy about 18 acres of land. While the ordinance first was established in 2018, the Illinois Power Authority granted permission for construction of the solar farm in April 2019, and Mazon Solar sought an extension to that original ordinance

Some of the conditions listed in the extended agreement include:

• The landscape buffer and approved fencing shall be in place prior to final building permit approval and operation of the solar farm.

• Mazon Solar must become a member of the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavating (JULIE), to identify the location of any underground electrical lines, and will provide a list to JULIE and the county.

• Construction crews will have a pre-construction meeting with the fire district, highway department and land use department before construction begins.

• Mazon Solar must respond to complaints from anyone affected by construction within 48 hours.

The ordinance was recommended for approval by both the zoning board of appeals and the land use committee. The extension is in effect until Nov. 1, 2020, to allow for development of the solar farm.

Also during the meeting, the members of the Grundy County Board approved a handful of zoning map amendments.

In Mazon Township, the board approved an amendment for 18.6 acres of land to be converted from Agricultural to Agricultural-Residential. The owner plans to utilize the land, currently located on two parcels, to develop six single-family home lots.

“Rezoning is because there aren’t any building permits allowed at this point, and [the amendment] would allow for six lots,” Miller said.

Miller said the village of Mazon did not voice any opposition to the map amendment.

In Norman Township, the board approved the rezoning of an 8.8 acre parcel of land from Agricultural to Agricultural-Residential, to allow the owners to build on the site.

“They’d like to be able to have a single-family home construction,” Miller said, adding there is no flood plain on the property.

Both amendments were recommended to the full board for approval following consideration by the zoning board of appeals and the land use committee.

The County Board also signed off on an intergovernmental agreement with the village of Diamond to provide property inspection and enforcement services.

“We have done building inspections for Diamond in the past,” Miller said. “This agreement is very similar, we have specific fees involved with that and with this agreement we’re taking direction from Mayor Kernc, so when she calls us, we’ll actually go out there, our inspector will take photos, document it, and I will send the property maintenance instruction letters.”

Fees will total $45 per inspection, and $55 per letter and follow-up.

Any prosecution of violations will be handled by the Diamond village attorney.

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