Long Grove enacts temporary moratorium on alternative energy projects

  • Proposals for alternative energy projects like these solar panels in St. Charles are now on hold in Long Grove, after the village enacted a 90-day moratorium to allow time to clarify and update local regulations.

      Proposals for alternative energy projects like these solar panels in St. Charles are now on hold in Long Grove, after the village enacted a 90-day moratorium to allow time to clarify and update local regulations. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/1/2019 1:24 PM

Difficulties with a Buffalo Grove-based school district's solar panel project have prompted the village of Long Grove to place a temporary moratorium on alternative energy requests.

Long Grove board village board members last week agreed to enact the 90-day halt so the advisory plan commission/zoning board of appeals can collect public feedback and discuss what changes, if any, are needed to the local law governing alternative energy projects.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Issues to be addressed include size and scale of the alternative energy equipment and developments; the type and amount of screening that should be required; and the zoning districts where the projects should be automatically permitted or allowed as a special use.

Wind, solar and geothermal are among the alternative energy systems cited by the village

"One of the things at least the moratorium idea was based on was, let's take a fresh look," Long Grove Village Attorney Victor Filippini said.

Village trustees approved the 90-day moratorium after ending a lengthy process last week by granting a special-use permit to Kildeer Countryside Elementary District 96 to install ground-mounted solar panels on three acres of a 69-acre, two-school campus near Gilmer and Diamond Lake roads. The project is expected to cost $3 million.

Opponents from the Cobblestone subdivision and the prominent James McHugh Construction Co. family raised concerns about unsightly views of the district's nearby solar array. District 96 revised the plan at least four times, in part, by agreeing to use a higher-quality 8-foot privacy fence and additional landscaping.

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Long Grove Village President Bill Jacob said the halt makes sense in light of the difficulties that were encountered with the District 96 project. He said the moratorium won't affect any alternative energy requests already in the village's approval pipeline.

Trustee Bobbie O'Reilly said the village must be careful not to create too many restrictions in revising the ordinance. The village board will have final say on the matter, after the plan commission/zoning board of appeals completes its work.

"I don't want to tie somebody's hands that may want to do the right thing," O'Reilly said.

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