Lake County Fair Association representatives came to the Grayslake village board this week seeking permission to construct solar panels on part of the fairgrounds' main exhibit hall's roof -- after the work had been completed.
While the Grayslake village board informally agreed to allow the solar panels, Trustee Shawn Vogel made it clear the fairgrounds must receive proper permission before starting on any future projects. The village board eventually will hold a formal, binding vote on the panels.
"I'm surprised, with the amount of collaboration that we have with the fairgrounds, that these panels got installed prior to seeking approval," Vogel said.
Members of Grayslake's plan commission/zoning board of appeals gave the solar panel proposal a favorable recommendation to the village board. However, the village board always has the final say on issues.
Terry Black, of Northbrook-based Renewable Energy Alternatives, said he expects carbon dioxide emissions to be reduced at the fairgrounds building with the solar panels. He said the small number of solar panels serve as a model of sorts at the main exhibit hall.
"It's a starting point for them to start looking at renewable (energy) and to be able to present it to the wider community, from a standpoint of a 'green' aspect," Black said.
Meanwhile, questions arose at Tuesday night's meeting over a special-use permit the fair association needs for construction of permanent signs at the entry at Peterson and Midlothian roads. The fair has had a temporary sign since moving to the site in 2009.
Under an original agreement with the fair association, Mayor Rhett Taylor said, the organization is supposed to include the village of Grayslake's name in the permanent markers.
However, that would change in the fair's request to build three signs mounted between two columns. One sign would have the fair name without any mention of Grayslake, another would be an electronic message board and the third would note Austin's Fuel Arena.
All six village board trustees and Taylor agreed the request should be approved only if the Grayslake name is inserted in the sign package. The fair association board is expected to discuss the village's demand.
"The modern approach that we're taking to development and special-use permits and improvements to the community is, that for name recognition, that we brand ourselves and our partners," Vogel said.