Yorkville City Council approves county solar field fencing changes

YORKVILLE – Requested changes to a solar energy project near the Kendall County jail have been officially approved by the United City of Yorkville this week.

The Yorkville City Council voted, 8-0, to approve a revised special use permit request for a solar energy project from GRNE Solar that would change fencing materials for the perimeter of the project during the council's Tuesday, Feb. 11 meeting.

There were no additional comments from aldermen, other city officials or representatives from GRNE Solar prior to the vote during the Tuesday meeting.

The project comes after the Yorkville planning and zoning commission voted, 5-0, to approve a revised special use permit from GRNE Solar that would change fencing materials for the site during the commission's Jan. 8 meeting. Commissioners Deborah Horaz and Donald Marcum were absent from that meeting.

The City Council previously approved a special use permit for the project by GRNE Solar in December 2018. However, representatives from the solar energy company had said, continuing to use vinyl as the required fencing material for the site would have meant additional expense to county taxpayers because of high vinyl fence prices and the county wanted to use stained wood instead.

Another change to the original special use permit included landscaping adjustments on the west side of the site, which would mean slightly less screening on that side than before and using plants near the site that would’ve been knocked down to make way for the solar panel arrays that could be salvageable to use for landscaping. Solar energy company representatives had said there wouldn't be any changes to the screening on the south side of the site that backs up to homes from the Blackberry Woods subdivision.

Kendall County Administrator Scott Koeppel said after the City Council vote the county will maintain the fencing, especially considering the change in material. He said the hope is for construction for the project will begin this coming spring.

"We're really excited to get that going," Koeppel said.