Champaign County Zoning Board recommends approval of solar farm rules

Champaign County Zoning Board recommends approval of solar farm rules

The Champaign County Zoning Board of Appeals has recommended approval of the rules for solar farms in the rural part of the county.

Director of Planning and Zoning for the county John Hall says that the board Thursday night voted 4-2, with Marilyn Lee and Jim Randol voting no. The rules will now go before the Environment and Land Use Committee next Thursday night.

That committee won't vote on the recommendation from the zoning board until Aug. 9th, where it could then be sent on to the full county board.

Hall says that a decommissioning plan was approved Thursday night as a part of the rules, which provides financial assurance, if and when the panels ever need to be taken down.

Some of the other rules include that the solar farms must be a certain distance away from a home, or from a community's city limits, a noise study must be done, and that there must be a road use agreement to cover the costs of damage to rural roads during construction.

Hall says at this time there are seven pending applications for the solar farm with three of them near Sidney, three near Saint Joseph and one northwest of Rantoul.

He says one of the farms near Sidney would be 1,200 acres.

Residents have expressed concerns about noise, reduced property values and diminished views.

Developers have said that there would be new money for communities bordering the farms, either from taxes or workers coming to town to spend money.

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