The Sandwich City Council is voicing its opposition to a solar farm being proposed on Pratt Road in Sandwich Township.
At their meeting Monday, City Council members voted unanimously on a resolution opposing the project. Amp Solar Development is seeking DeKalb County Board approval of its proposed five-megawatt solar farm on 31.2 acres of the 76.28-acre property at the northeast corner of Pratt and West Sandwich roads.
The property is zoned for agriculture and solar farms, which are a special use in that district. A public hearing on the plans will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday in the DeKalb County Community Outreach Building, Five Seasons Room, 2500 N. Annie Glidden Road, DeKalb.
According to the resolution, the proposal does not comply with the city’s 30-year comprehensive plan for the land. In reading the resolution, Sandwich Mayor Todd Latham noted the comprehensive plan provides direction “for future land use, community growth, economic opportunity and expansion of city roads and infrastructure.”
“The city of Sandwich has found itself landlocked between two neighboring communities,” according to the resolution. “In order to grow, the community will need to expand housing, business and commercial areas beyond the current city limits. Future land use has defined certain areas for development, including the future extension of Main Street in three phases. … The city of Sandwich and the City Council respectfully request that DeKalb County reject the proposed solar field project and respect the plans that have been developed within a mile and a half radius of the city of Sandwich and described in the existing Comprehensive Plan.”
“The city of Sandwich and the City Council respectfully request that DeKalb County reject the proposed solar field project and respect the plans that have been developed within a mile and a half radius of the city of Sandwich and described in the existing Comprehensive Plan.”— Sandwich City Council resolution, adopted May 1, 2023
Latham said he plans to make comments during the public hearing. He noted the city is not against all solar energy projects.
Last year, the City Council gave the green light to the construction of a 708-panel solar field on the city-owned wastewater treatment facility property, located on East Church Street just south of Route 34. Electricity generated by the solar field will help to power the wastewater treatment facility, reducing the city’s ComEd bill.
According to a memo from Amp Solar Development, ASD is developing community solar projects in conjunction with the Illinois Power Agency’s Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan, which allows developers to develop, permit, own and operate solar projects with the ability to sell the solar electricity directly to utility customers.
The solar facilities will connect to Commonwealth Edison’s distribution grid, which delivers the power to the customers. ASD bills the customers who are subscribed to the project for the electricity they purchase, according to the memo.
During the City Council meeting, the Rev. David Kaul, of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Sandwich, also voiced his opposition to the project. The church is located adjacent to the project.
Kaul told the City Council that church officials are concerned the project will decrease the church’s property value.
“The impact also will be hitting you very hard,” Kaul said in addressing city officials. “Pratt Road, in your development program, is all for commercial, all along that road. And then behind the buildings, houses. It’s an awesome plan and it will generate tax dollars for you.”