DeKalb city amends rules to accommodate new 49-acre solar farm across from DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport

Petition receives city backing to allow a new solar farm across from the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport.

Bill French of SunVest Solar LLC gives a presentation at the Aug. 15, 2022 meeting of the DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission. SunVest Solar is seeking a special use permit from the city to allow a solar farm across from the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport in DeKalb.

DeKALB – A Wisconsin-based solar company has been cleared to build a solar farm across from the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport, and city officials took action Monday night to amend existing rules to accommodate the proposal.

SunVest Solar LLC, based in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, was seeking a special use permit from the city to build on an approximate 49-acre site along the north side of Pleasant Street across from the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport. The request went before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission last week, and the DeKalb City Council approved the petition Monday night in a 7-0 vote. Seventh Ward Alderman Anthony Faivre was absent.

As part of SunVest Solar’s request, the city was looking to update the unified development ordinance of the municipal code to reflect that solar farms are allowed.

The city already had regulations with respect to solar panels installed at businesses and homes where residential may be the primary use of a site.

The city didn’t have any rules on the books for solar farms that produce energy specifically for off-site usage where it is also the primary use of a property. City Planner Dan Olson stressed that the solar farm would not be operated where it’s going to negatively impact property values around the project site.

Bill French, regional director of product development for SunVest Solar, previously said he believes he’s addressed concerns raised about the solar farm.

Olson previously said the city is looking to be proactive rather than reactive to future development opportunities for solar farms.

“There may be others that come into the city,” Olson said during an Aug. 15 planning and zoning commission meeting. “Most are in larger areas in the county, but a few perhaps come into the city.”

The city previously approved an operating lease agreement with SunVest Solar in December 2021, according to city documents.

The operating lease agreement between the city and SunVest Solar is effective for 25 years from the date of construction completion, according to city documents.

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