To the Editor:
“Why do you hate solar? Solar is good!”
That’s the question that a group of citizens has constantly been asked. Their crime?
Simply insisting that a proposed solar complex meet the exact same criteria that every other Conditional Use request must meet. Yes, solar is good - but it still needs to play by the same rules. Everyone plays by the same rules.
Now, the McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is on the brink of making a decision that will have potentially disastrous consequences for land use planning throughout McHenry County.
In order to allow this solar complex to be sited in a residential area, the ZBA is contemplating making the decision to call the McHenry County Comprehensive Land Use Plan - and the Comprehensive Plans of three area municipalities - suggestions that don’t meet the definition of “future planning.”
All of this to get around the criteria that the solar complex must meet under section 5.4.E.2 of the McHenry County Unified Development Ordinance: “That the site shall be so situated that the proposed use is compatible with the existing or planned future development of the area.”
ZBA members are so personally enamoured of the idea of a solar complex, that they’re throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
What’s the problem? Solar is good!
Yes, solar is good, but unfortunately, this precedent-setting decision would be bad.
It would eliminate the ZBA’s ability to ever reference the Comprehensive Land Use Plan in future decisions. What about all of that careful planning that the county and municipalities have done to manage growth? What about all of the planning to develop greenways and natural areas throughout the county?
Those are just suggestions, and the ZBA will be on the record as being completely willing to ignore those suggestions.
The corporate attorney for the next StuffMart that wants to build in McHenry County will love tossing that precedent back at the ZBA.
Everyone plays by the same rules - every sword cuts both ways. The ZBA needs to think carefully about what’s really best for McHenry County.