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Local News

City accused of holding up county solar project

A solar field is planned for installation to the west of the Kendall County jail in Yorkville. The county hopes the solar energy will help offset energy costs at the jail as well as the adjacent courthouse and Health Department building.
A solar field is planned for installation to the west of the Kendall County jail in Yorkville. The county hopes the solar energy will help offset energy costs at the jail as well as the adjacent courthouse and Health Department building.

A Kendall County Board member has accused Yorkville’s mayor of holding up a planned solar field that would help power the county jail, courthouse and Health Department building, but Mayor Gary Golinski said Tuesday that he first wants to see how another proposed solar project fares before the city council.

The county approved a project in March that would involve installing solar panels on a 7.4-acre parcel just west of the county jail in Yorkville. GRNE Solar of Chicago would be installing the field and needs a special use permit for such a project from the city before work can begin.

At the March board meeting, Chris Childress of Progressive Energy Group told board members the county could see savings of at least $162,000 in energy costs annually through the life of the agreement, totaling about $4 million.

County Board member Robert “HD” Davidson, who chairs the board’s Planning, Building, and Zoning (PBZ) Committee and its Facilities Management Committee, thinks that Golinski is purposely delaying the project because the county declined to support the city’s downtown TIF district.

“The way I understand it, the mayor’s upset because we turned down the TIF district,” Davidson said. “He’s got it now sitting on his desk. That’s what everybody’s telling me.”

Davidson, who served as Yorkville’s mayor for two terms from 1983 to 1991, said Golinski should call him and talk to him “if he’s got a problem.”

“It’s a three-ring circus,” Davidson said. “Somebody oughta tell the man, this ain’t Chicago. I was mayor, I know the rules.”

BAP Power Corporation is asking the city for a special use permit to install approximately 7,000 solar panels at a maximum seven-foot height on about 10 acres of land just east of the Route 71 and Route 126 intersection.

However, the company is planning to resubmit its proposal with changes after members of the City Council’s Economic Development Committee objected to the proposal, citing its proximity to nearby homes.

Golinksi said Tuesday evening that officials wanted to see how the BAP project fared before reviewing another solar project in the city.

“We were just kind of waiting and seeing what the council thinks of this before we move another one forward,” he said. “HD can say what he wants.”

Golinski said most aldermen are currently not in favor of the solar project next to the jail and would not survive a vote.

“I’m actually doing them a favor,” Golinski said. “The way I was polling the council, it would’ve gotten shot down. I was doing them a favor by waiting and seeing how this other one does.”

“I mean if they want me to send it through, I’ll send it through right away but don’t be surprised if it gets shot down.”

Golinski said the county solar field could end up at a City Council meeting sometime in August.

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