DeKalb County residents to voice solar project concerns at meeting
SYCAMORE – Colleen Stephan said she and her husband, Chuck, have been paying close attention to solar energy projects coming down the DeKalb County pike that could be popping up near their house on Airport Road in Sycamore.
Stephan, 60, of Sycamore said property values in the rural neighborhood are her main concern with the projects. She said that she has neighbors who would have two separate but adjacent 2-megawatt solar farms be too close to their backyards.
Stephan said that she’s a proponent for solar energy, but she believes there are better places for those projects that are not next to homes.
“Having this right smack in the middle of just a beautiful area, it’s horrendous,” Stephan said.
Including the two projects in Sycamore, there are 20 solar energy projects that will be up for consideration at the DeKalb County Planning and Zoning Committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the DeKalb County Legislative Center Gathertorium, 200 N. Main St.
All of the solar energy projects that are up for special use permit approval since the county passed a solar ordinance effective April 1 are community solar farms. Solar company representatives have said each 2-megawatt project could power between 300 and 400 homes that currently are serviced by ComEd.
Stephan said she has seen workers in her neighborhood that look as though they’re taking photos at the proposed site – which is at the southwest corner of Route 64 and Larson Road in Sycamore – near her neighborhood.
“To us, it kind of seems like it already may be in the works without any public feedback,” Stephan said.
DeKalb County hearing officer Dale Clark recommended county approval for the Sycamore projects after holding a public hearing for the related project Nov. 29 and a continued hearing Dec. 3, according to county documents.
Clark said in his recommendation the proposed special use projects would be in compliance with the county ordinance, would not be unreasonably detrimental to the value of other property in the neighborhood and would most likely not produce bothersome odors, glares or unreasonable noise. He said he believes the visual effects would be minimal with the proposed fencing and planted vegetation and would not alter the characteristics of the surrounding land.
Derek Hiland, community development director for DeKalb County, had said last month there are almost 40 projects at different stages of approval in the county. He had said he anticipates that total number surpassing 40 by the beginning of next year, but he had said he still only anticipates about six projects getting state approval through the Illinois solar energy lottery program.
Hiland did not immediately return an additional request for comment Wednesday from Daily Chronicle.