Ogle County ZBA postpones meeting on Constellation’s rezoning request

Constellation is seeking to rezone 658.8 acres near Byron nuclear plant to I-1 Industrial

Constellation is seeking zoning changes for property it owns around the perimeter of the Byron Clean Energy Center. The nuclear power plant is located along German Church Road between Oregon and Byron in Ogle County. The plant's cooling towers can be seen in this photo taken Tuesday, July 9, 2024.

OREGON – A meeting to hear a request to rezone 658.8 acres of land around the Byron Generating Station was postponed Tuesday night to allow for the completion of further documentation.

In a meeting that lasted less than five minutes, Ogle County Zoning Board of Appeals members unanimously voted to grant Constellation Energy Generation – which owns the land and nuclear station – a continuance to July 25.

“We want to make sure that our application is complete and the Ogle County Soil and Water Conservation District has sufficient time to prepare the reports for the property,” said Ryan Tozer, Constellation’s local government affairs manager. “Constellation’s goal is to be a transparent partner with Ogle County during the rezoning process. We look forward to providing a full presentation on July 25 with the rest of our team.”

Constellation is asking that 17 land parcels in Rockvale and Marion townships be rezoned from AG-1 Agricultural to I-1 Industrial; half of one parcel is zoned R-2 Single-Family Residential. The company also is asking that data centers be added as a special use in I-1 Industrial districts.

Constellation is seeking zoning changes for property it owns around the perimeter of the Byron Clean Energy Center. The nuclear power plant is located along German Church Road between Oregon and Byron in Ogle County. The plants cooling towers can be seen in the background in this photo taken Tuesday, July 9, 2024.

“We didn’t have enough time to meet the Open Meetings Act to do a cancellation [of the ZBA], so we had to hold the meeting, open it, and then they entertained the continuation,” Ogle County Planning and Zoning Director Mark Miller said after the meeting.

The July 9 meeting was a special ZBA meeting, Miller said. He said it was scheduled to take place as soon as possible while still meeting requirements for legal notices at the request of Ogle County Board Chairman John Finfrock.

“He wanted this not delayed,” Miller said.

The ZBA is one of three bodies that considers zoning petitions before the Ogle County Board makes a final decision. The other two bodies are the Ogle County Regional Planning Commission and the Supervisor of Assessments and Planning and Zoning Committee.

On June 27, the RPC voted 3-2 to recommend that the Ogle County Board deny Constellation’s petition.

The Ogle County ZBA is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. July 25 in the third-floor boardroom of the Old Ogle County Courthouse, 105 S. Fifth St., Oregon.

Both the RPC and ZBA recommendations will be reviewed by the Supervisor of Assessments and Planning and Zoning Committee and then sent to the full County Board for a final decision.

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner reports on Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties for Shaw Media out of the Dixon office. Previously, she worked for the Record-Eagle in Traverse City, Michigan, and the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.