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Solar farm applicant seeking an exception

October 3, 2018

OREGON – One of the solar farm applicants whose plans were put on hold in August is asking the Ogle County Board to reconsider its 6-month moratorium.

Dan Terhark of rural Polo, who requested a special-use permit to put a solar farm on 52.68 acres he owns at 8248 N. Kishwaukee Road in Stillman Valley, is asking the board to consider solar farm requests on an individual basis, rather than applying a blanket moratorium to all of them.

Terhark’s request was one of three in the Stillman Valley area that already have been through the committee process but were put on hold when the moratorium was approved.

Planning & Zoning Committee Chairman Dan Janes recommended the moratorium Aug. 21 because, he said, the county has no zoning ordinances to govern solar farms and needs time to draw them up.

A large group of rural Stillman Valley residents oppose the solar farms, mainly because of how close they are to rural subdivisions.

The 26 acres where he wants to locate solar panels has only one close residential neighbor, who has solar panels himself and is not opposed to his plan, Terhark told the board at its Sept. 25 meeting.

“It’s on top of a hill next to a gravel pit,” he said.

The land is not very fertile, he said, and even the farmer who rents the land agrees a solar farm is a good use for it, he said, adding that the Regional Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Planning & Zoning Committee – the three committees that consider zoning requests – all recommended his be approved.

The county board makes the final decision.

The board may modify the moratorium, Chairman Kim Gouker said later that night.

He appointed a nine-member ad hoc committee, made up of five county board members and four others, to draw up regulations for solar farms. It’s first meeting is Thursday.

Once the regulations are drawn up, they will go to the three committees for their recommendations to the county board.

The ad hoc committee

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} Nine people have been appointed to draw up proposed solar farm regulations for Ogle County.

They are board members Dan Janes of Stillman Valley (also Planning & Zoning Committee chairman), John Finfrock of Mount Morris, Marcia Heuer of Oregon, Lee Meyers of Byron, and Rick Fritz of Monroe Center, and citizens Stan Asp, of Mount Morris, Keith Poole of Polo, and Scott Christensen and Ron Steenken, both of Stillman Valley.

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