County board approves solar power ordinance - Republic-Times | News

County board approves solar power ordinance

By on February 7, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Dorothy Mueller, back, received a certificate of appreciation for her 48 years of service as the recording secretary for the Monroe County Zoning Board of Appeals, presented by, from left, Monroe County Commissioners Vicki Koerber, Bob Elmore and Delbert Wittenauer. (Alan Dooley photo)

The Monroe County Board of Commissioners approved a comprehensive solar power ordinance at their Monday session. The rule applies to both individuals with small solar arrays and companies operating large photovoltaic systems. Developments of all sizes will require prior special use permits before installation can begin. 

In developing the multi-page document, ordinances from several other counties were reviewed and the best, most up-to- date elements of each were incorporated into the county’s version. 

The commissioners praised Carlyle Miller, chairman of the Monroe County Planning Commission, for his diligence in analyzing other applicable ordinances and outlining them for possible inclusion in the final draft.

For individual owners, systems are limited to a rated capacity of under 25 kilowatts. The ordinance also defines such factors as property setbacks. 

Larger systems, such as solar fields, will have to meet additional requirements including ensuring roads are capable of safely conveying equipment, and financial assurances for the removal of equipment and restoration of the location to its original condition if the facility shuts down.

Additionally, all installations must be defined to area emergency services in advance to ensure the safety of responders who might be endangered by power from the systems.

The final draft of the ordinance, which was approved unanimously, was prepared by Monroe County State’s Attorney Chris Hitzemann to ensure compliance with applicable state laws. Individuals or companies considering installing solar power electricity generating systems are directed to contact zoning director Mike Fausz at 618-939-8681, ext. 259 with questions.

The commissioners also approved the following zoning ordinance changes: 

Allowing digital signs to change content at 15-second intervals, although no scrolling messages or graphics are allowed; requirements for the use of steel shipping containers as storage facilities; regulations to properly anchor any building of 100 square feet or more; a requirement for buildings larger than 400 square feet to have a footing and foundation, or to be of pole construction; a requirement for special use permits in names of Limited Liability Corporations, trusts or similar entities to be renewed annually or when transferred; and the removal of the now-defunct Gateway Connector from the county’s official road use map.

The county board also approved County Engineer Aaron Metzger’s request to change and post the following speed limits on Palmer Road: from Quarry Road to just south of Southport Drive, 40 mph; from just south of Southport Drive to DD Road, 35 mph. The revised limits will apply as soon as the new signs are installed.

The board recognized students in the Monroe County CEO program. Students from all four schools — Waterloo, Columbia, Gibault and Valmeyer — participate in the program, which exposes future entrepreneurs to the business world, helping them develop ideas for their own start-up businesses through specialized instructions and mentorships with local businesspersons. 

The students were visiting the courthouse to learn how businesses and governments interrelate.

The board honored the Gibault Catholic High School boys soccer team for its second place finish at the Class 2A IHSA state tournament.

The commissioners also recognized and thanked Dorothy Mueller for 48 years of service as the recording secretary for the Monroe County Zoning Board of Appeals. Mueller was the first to serve in this capacity, and to date is the only person doing this task. Mueller described the early years, when board meetings could last as long as four hours, running until almost midnight.

Finally, the board unanimously approved Marketicity’s Gary Most’s recommendation of SiteGround as the host of the county’s new web site. SiteGround can provide up to 20 gigabytes of storage and security scanning, including protection against hacking and other destructive acts, for $584 annually. Most said he expects the new site to go public during the week of Feb. 19. 

Due to President’s Day, the next regular county board meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 20. Sessions are open to the public and an agenda is posted before the meeting at monroecountyil.org/index.aspx?NID=221


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Alan Dooley

Alan is a photojournalist -- he both shoots pictures and writes for the R-T. A 31-year Navy vet, he has lived worldwide, but with his wife Sherry, calls a rambling house south of Waterloo home. Alan counts astronomy as a hobby and is fascinated by just about everything scientific.