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(A) Ground mount solar energy systems that are the primary use of the lot, designed for providing energy to off-site uses or export to the wholesale market require a special use in the Agriculture Districts the Conservation District and Industrial Districts and shall comply with §§ 157.435 through 157.447.
(B) The following information shall also be submitted as part of the application:
(1) Existing conditions. A site plan with existing conditions showing the following:
(a) Existing property lines and property lines extending 100 feet from the exterior boundaries including the names of adjacent property owners and the current use of those properties;
(b) Existing public and private roads, showing widths of the road and any associated easements;
(c) Location and size of any abandoned wells and sewage treatment systems;
(d) Existing buildings and impervious surfaces;
(e) A contour map showing topography at two-foot intervals. A contour map of surrounding properties may also be required;
(f) Existing vegetation (list type and percent of coverage: such as, cropland/plowed fields, grassland, wooded areas and the like);
(g) Any delineated wetland boundaries;
(h) A copy of the current FEMA FIRM maps that shows the subject property including the one hundred year floor elevation and any regulated flood protection elevation, if available;
(i) Surface water drainage patterns; and
(j) The location of any subsurface drainage tiles.
(2) Proposed conditions. A site plan of proposed conditions showing the following:
(a) Location and spacing of the solar panels;
(b) Location of access roads;
(c) Location of underground or overhead electric lines connecting the solar farm to a building, substation or other electric load; and
(d) New electrical equipment other than at the existing building or substation that is to be the connection point for the solar farm.
(3) Fencing and weed/grass control.
(a) The applicant shall submit an acceptable pollinator friendly plan for property inside and outside the fenced area for the entire property. The operating company or successor during the operation of the solar farm shall adhere to the pollinator friendly plan.
(b) Perimeter fencing having a maximum height of eight feet shall be installed around the boundary of the solar farm. The fence shall contain appropriate warning signage that is posted such that it is clearly visible on the site.
(c) The applicant shall maintain the fence and adhere to the pollinator friendly plan. If the operating company does not adhere to the proposed plan, a fine of $500 per week will be assessed until the operating company or successor complies with the pollinator friendly plan and fencing requirements.
(4) Manufactures specifications. The manufacturer’s specifications and recommended installation methods for all major equipment, including solar panels, mounting systems and foundations for poles and racks.
(5) Connection and interconnection.
(a) A description of the method of connecting the solar array to a building or substation.
(b) Utility interconnection details and a copy of written notification to the utility company requesting the proposed interconnection.
(6) Setbacks. A minimum of 50 feet must be maintained on all property liens. Solar panels shall be kept at least 100 feet from a principal residential dwelling that is not part the special use permit.
(7) Aviation protection. For solar energy systems located within 500 feet of an airport or within approach zones of an airport, the applicant shall complete and provide the results of the solar glaze hazard analysis tool (SGHAT) for the airport traffic control tower cab and final approach paths, consistent with the Interim Policy, FAA Review of Solar Energy Projects on Federal Obligated Airports, or most recent version adopted by the FAA.
(8) Fire protection. A fire protection plan for the construction and the operation of the facility, and emergency access to the site.
(9) Endangered species and wetlands. Solar farm developers shall be required to initiate a natural resource review consultation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) through the Department’s online EcoCat Program. Areas reviewed through this process will be endangered species and wetlands. The cost of the EcoCat consultation shall be borne by the developer.
(10) Road use agreements. All routes on either a county or township road that will be used for the construction and maintenance purposes shall be identified on the site plan. All routes for either egress or ingress need to be shown. The routing shall be approved subject to the approval of the County Highway Engineer in coordination with the Township Road Commissioners. The solar farm developer shall complete and provide a preconstruction baseline survey to determine existing road conditions for assessing potential future damage due to development related traffic. The development shall provide a road repair plan to ameliorate any and all damage, installation or replacement of roads that might be required by the developer. The developer shall provide a letter of credit or surety bond in an amount and form approved by the highway/road officials when warranted.
(11) Decommissioning of the solar farm. The developer shall provide a decommissioning plan for the anticipated service life of the facility or in the event the facility is abandoned or had reached its life expectancy. If the solar farm is out of service or not producing electrical energy for a period of 12 months, it will be deemed nonoperational and decommissioning and removal of that facility will need to commence according to the decommissioning plan as provided and approved. A cost estimate for the decommissioning of the facility shall be prepared by a professional engineer or contractor who has expertise in the removal of the solar farm. The decommissioning cost estimate shall explicitly detail the cost before considering any projected salvage value of the out of service solar farm. The decommissioning cost shall be made by a cash, surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit before construction commences. Further, a restoration plan shall be provided for the site with the application. The decommissioning plan shall have the following provided:
(a) Removal of the following within six months:
1. All solar collectors and components, aboveground improvements and outside storage.
2. Foundations, pads and underground electrical wires and reclaim site to a depth of four feet below the surface of the ground.
3. Hazardous material from the property and dispose in accordance with federal and state law.
(b) The decommissioning plan shall also recite an agreement between the applicant and the county that:
1. The financial resources for decommissioning shall be in the form of a surety bond, or shall be deposited in an escrow account with an escrow agent acceptable to the Community Development Administrator.
2. A written escrow agreement will be prepared, establishing upon what conditions the funds will be disbursed.
3. The county shall have access to the escrow account funds for the expressed purpose of completing decommissioning if decommissioning is not completed by the applicant within six months of the end of project life or facility abandonment.
4. The county is granted the right of entry onto the site, pursuant to reasonable notice, to effect or complete decommissioning.
5. The county is granted the right to seek injunctive relief to effect or complete decommissioning, as well as the county’s right to seek reimbursement from applicant or applicant successor for decommissioning costs in excess of the amount deposited in escrow and to file a lien against any real estate owned by applicant or applicant’s successor, or in which they have an interest, for the amount of the excess, and to take all steps allowed by law to enforce said lien.
6. Financial provisions shall not be so onerous as to make wind power projects unfeasible.
(Ord. LU-17-03, passed 5-31-2017; Res. LU-18-05, passed 4-25-2018; Res. LU-18-21, passed 11-14-2018) Penalty, see § 156.99