Lee County ZBA recommends approval of 5-megawatt solar facility adjacent to Kilgore Road

The proposed site layout plan for Pulse Solar II in Palmyra Township just outside Dixon city limits.

DIXON – The Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals is recommending that a special-use permit for a 5-megawatt commercial solar energy facility in Palmyra Township be granted.

On Wednesday, ZBA members unanimously voted to recommend that the Lee County Board approve Ironwood Projects’s petition to build on property adjacent to 464 Kilgore Road, Dixon.

Ironwood Projects is a Louisiana-based company doing business in Illinois as Pulse Solar II LLC.

“The prospect of providing Lee County with a long-term source of clean, sustainable energy is an exciting one, as is the opportunity to generate income for our landowner, offer ComEd customers the chance to subscribe to power at or below market rates, and increase the local tax base,” Ironwood Projects wrote in its special-use permit application.

Pulse Solar II is proposed to cover 41.8 acres of a 57.8-acre lot and is expected to generate enough energy to power about 1,100 single-family homes annually, according to the permit application.

About $4 million will be put into the local economy through spending on goods and services, labor, fuel and lodging, dining and other consumer resources, according to the permit.

Ironwood Projects expects 24 local jobs to be created during construction, which is projected to take three to four months.

“The chosen location for Pulse Solar II LLC was determined based on several factors, including proximity to relevant electrical and road infrastructure, slope and direction of the land, interest from the landowner, and the current zoning district and surrounding uses,” Ironwood Projects wrote. “The proposed project will have minimal impact on surrounding properties, which are predominantly zoned Ag-1 for agricultural uses.”

The ZBA’s vote this week came after two public hearing dates – April 3 and 4 – during which almost five hours of sworn testimony and public comment were heard. The full content of the meetings can be viewed on Lee County’s YouTube channel.

Palmyra Township submitted written objections to the project before the hearings. During the hearing, multiple local residents – many from the subdivision near the proposed location – spoke against the project; none spoke in favor of it.

Ironwood Projects’s petition and the ZBA’s recommendation will be on the Lee County Board’s April meeting agenda. County Board members will vote whether to approve or deny the special-use permit request.

The Lee County Board meets at 6 p.m. April 18 in the third-floor boardroom of the Old Lee County Courthouse, 112 E. Second St., Dixon. Interested parties also can attend via Zoom.

For a more in-depth explanation on how zoning and the zoning ordinance process works, see Shaw Local News Network’s story on the Lee County zoning process.

Have a Question about this article?
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.