W. Milledgeville Road solar farm denied map amendment

The map amendment would be required for a special use permit to build a solar farm usable

The Ogle County Board meets on the third floor of the historic Ogle County Courthouse in downtown Oregon, Illinois.

OREGON — Ogle County Board members’ unanimous denial of a zoning map amendment effectively squashed a request for a special use permit to build a solar farm.

USS Galena Trail Solar, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, requested 29.5 acres in the 13000 block of W. Milledgeville Road be changed from a R-2 single-family residential district to an Ag-1 agricultural district. The location is just outside the Polo city limits.

“This happens to be in a residential area, and I just really hope that you will vote ‘no’ on this,” board member Susie Corbitt said. “There’s been a large group of constituents from Polo who oppose this.”

Several Polo residents attended the Ogle County Board’s Aug. 16 meeting, including Polo Alderpersons Tommy Bardell and Randy Schoon. No one from Polo spoke during public comment, which took place after the vote on the map amendment was complete.

The special use permit was on the County Board’s agenda, and originally was set to be voted on at the same time as the requested map amendment. The permit was removed from the vote following a brief period of discussion regarding proper procedure.

“The map amendment has not occurred, so even if you approve the special use, you can’t use it,” State’s Attorney Mike Rock told board members. “If you vote to approve this special use permit, you are violating the zoning ordinance.”

Rock advised the vote be only on the map amendment, which is what the Ogle County Zoning Board of Appeals voted on during a July 28 public hearing regarding the request.

The ZBA voted 5-0 to deny the map amendment, according to meeting minutes, and the Ogle County Regional Planning Commission voted 4-0 to deny it. The Supervisor of Assessments and Planning & Zoning Committee agreed by 6-0 consensus to recommend denying the map amendment; the committee does not vote on whether to approve or deny zoning requests.

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner covers Ogle County for the Oregon Republican Reporter, Forreston Journal, Mt. Morris Times and Polo Tri-County Press. She has six-plus years of experience in journalism and has won numerous awards.