Bill Text: IL HB4135 | 2023-2024 | 103rd General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Amends the Counties Code. Provides that a county may require a commercial solar energy facility to be sited 500 feet (rather than 50 feet) to the nearest point on the property line of a nonparticipating property and 500 feet (rather than 150 feet) from the nearest point on the outside wall of an occupied community building or dwelling on nonparticipating properties.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2024-02-07 - Placed on Calendar 2nd Reading - Short Debate [HB4135 Detail]

Download: Illinois-2023-HB4135-Introduced.html


103RD GENERAL ASSEMBLY
State of Illinois
2023 and 2024
HB4135

Introduced , by Rep. Anthony DeLuca

SYNOPSIS AS INTRODUCED:
55 ILCS 5/5-12020

Amends the Counties Code. Provides that a county may require a commercial solar energy facility to be sited 500 feet (rather than 50 feet) to the nearest point on the property line of a nonparticipating property and 500 feet (rather than 150 feet) from the nearest point on the outside wall of an occupied community building or dwelling on nonparticipating properties.
LRB103 34278 AWJ 64104 b

A BILL FOR

HB4135LRB103 34278 AWJ 64104 b
1 AN ACT concerning local government.
2 Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4 Section 5. The Counties Code is amended by changing
5Section 5-12020 as follows:
6 (55 ILCS 5/5-12020)
7 Sec. 5-12020. Commercial wind energy facilities and
8commercial solar energy facilities.
9 (a) As used in this Section:
10 "Commercial solar energy facility" means a "commercial
11solar energy system" as defined in Section 10-720 of the
12Property Tax Code. "Commercial solar energy facility" does not
13mean a utility-scale solar energy facility being constructed
14at a site that was eligible to participate in a procurement
15event conducted by the Illinois Power Agency pursuant to
16subsection (c-5) of Section 1-75 of the Illinois Power Agency
17Act.
18 "Commercial wind energy facility" means a wind energy
19conversion facility of equal or greater than 500 kilowatts in
20total nameplate generating capacity. "Commercial wind energy
21facility" includes a wind energy conversion facility seeking
22an extension of a permit to construct granted by a county or
23municipality before the effective date of this amendatory Act

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1of the 102nd General Assembly.
2 "Facility owner" means (i) a person with a direct
3ownership interest in a commercial wind energy facility or a
4commercial solar energy facility, or both, regardless of
5whether the person is involved in acquiring the necessary
6rights, permits, and approvals or otherwise planning for the
7construction and operation of the facility, and (ii) at the
8time the facility is being developed, a person who is acting as
9a developer of the facility by acquiring the necessary rights,
10permits, and approvals or by planning for the construction and
11operation of the facility, regardless of whether the person
12will own or operate the facility.
13 "Nonparticipating property" means real property that is
14not a participating property.
15 "Nonparticipating residence" means a residence that is
16located on nonparticipating property and that is existing and
17occupied on the date that an application for a permit to
18develop the commercial wind energy facility or the commercial
19solar energy facility is filed with the county.
20 "Occupied community building" means any one or more of the
21following buildings that is existing and occupied on the date
22that the application for a permit to develop the commercial
23wind energy facility or the commercial solar energy facility
24is filed with the county: a school, place of worship, day care
25facility, public library, or community center.
26 "Participating property" means real property that is the

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1subject of a written agreement between a facility owner and
2the owner of the real property that provides the facility
3owner an easement, option, lease, or license to use the real
4property for the purpose of constructing a commercial wind
5energy facility, a commercial solar energy facility, or
6supporting facilities. "Participating property" also includes
7real property that is owned by a facility owner for the purpose
8of constructing a commercial wind energy facility, a
9commercial solar energy facility, or supporting facilities.
10 "Participating residence" means a residence that is
11located on participating property and that is existing and
12occupied on the date that an application for a permit to
13develop the commercial wind energy facility or the commercial
14solar energy facility is filed with the county.
15 "Protected lands" means real property that is:
16 (1) subject to a permanent conservation right
17 consistent with the Real Property Conservation Rights Act;
18 or
19 (2) registered or designated as a nature preserve,
20 buffer, or land and water reserve under the Illinois
21 Natural Areas Preservation Act.
22 "Supporting facilities" means the transmission lines,
23substations, access roads, meteorological towers, storage
24containers, and equipment associated with the generation and
25storage of electricity by the commercial wind energy facility
26or commercial solar energy facility.

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1 "Wind tower" includes the wind turbine tower, nacelle, and
2blades.
3 (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law or whether
4the county has formed a zoning commission and adopted formal
5zoning under Section 5-12007, a county may establish standards
6for commercial wind energy facilities, commercial solar energy
7facilities, or both. The standards may include all of the
8requirements specified in this Section but may not include
9requirements for commercial wind energy facilities or
10commercial solar energy facilities that are more restrictive
11than specified in this Section. A county may also regulate the
12siting of commercial wind energy facilities with standards
13that are not more restrictive than the requirements specified
14in this Section in unincorporated areas of the county that are
15outside the zoning jurisdiction of a municipality and that are
16outside the 1.5-mile radius surrounding the zoning
17jurisdiction of a municipality.
18 (c) If a county has elected to establish standards under
19subsection (b), before the county grants siting approval or a
20special use permit for a commercial wind energy facility or a
21commercial solar energy facility, or modification of an
22approved siting or special use permit, the county board of the
23county in which the facility is to be sited or the zoning board
24of appeals for the county shall hold at least one public
25hearing. The public hearing shall be conducted in accordance
26with the Open Meetings Act and shall be held not more than 45

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1days after the filing of the application for the facility. The
2county shall allow interested parties to a special use permit
3an opportunity to present evidence and to cross-examine
4witnesses at the hearing, but the county may impose reasonable
5restrictions on the public hearing, including reasonable time
6limitations on the presentation of evidence and the
7cross-examination of witnesses. The county shall also allow
8public comment at the public hearing in accordance with the
9Open Meetings Act. The county shall make its siting and
10permitting decisions not more than 30 days after the
11conclusion of the public hearing. Notice of the hearing shall
12be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the
13county. A facility owner must enter into an agricultural
14impact mitigation agreement with the Department of Agriculture
15prior to the date of the required public hearing. A commercial
16wind energy facility owner seeking an extension of a permit
17granted by a county prior to July 24, 2015 (the effective date
18of Public Act 99-132) must enter into an agricultural impact
19mitigation agreement with the Department of Agriculture prior
20to a decision by the county to grant the permit extension.
21Counties may allow test wind towers or test solar energy
22systems to be sited without formal approval by the county
23board.
24 (d) A county with an existing zoning ordinance in conflict
25with this Section shall amend that zoning ordinance to be in
26compliance with this Section within 120 days after the

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1effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General
2Assembly.
3 (e) A county may require:
4 (1) a wind tower of a commercial wind energy facility
5 to be sited as follows, with setback distances measured
6 from the center of the base of the wind tower:
7Setback Description Setback Distance
8Occupied Community 2.1 times the maximum blade tip
9Buildings height of the wind tower to the
10 nearest point on the outside
11 wall of the structure
12Participating Residences 1.1 times the maximum blade tip
13 height of the wind tower to the
14 nearest point on the outside
15 wall of the structure
16Nonparticipating Residences 2.1 times the maximum blade tip
17 height of the wind tower to the
18 nearest point on the outside
19 wall of the structure
20Boundary Lines of None
21Participating Property

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1Boundary Lines of 1.1 times the maximum blade tip
2Nonparticipating Property height of the wind tower to the
3 nearest point on the property
4 line of the nonparticipating
5 property
6Public Road Rights-of-Way 1.1 times the maximum blade tip
7 height of the wind tower
8 to the center point of the
9 public road right-of-way
10Overhead Communication and 1.1 times the maximum blade tip
11Electric Transmission height of the wind tower to the
12and Distribution Facilities nearest edge of the property
13(Not Including Overhead line, easement, or right of way
14Utility Service Lines to containing the overhead line
15Individual Houses or
16Outbuildings)
17Overhead Utility Service None
18Lines to Individual
19Houses or Outbuildings
20Fish and Wildlife Areas 2.1 times the maximum blade
21and Illinois Nature tip height of the wind tower

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1Preserve Commission to the nearest point on the
2Protected Lands property line of the fish and
3 wildlife area or protected
4 land
5 This Section does not exempt or excuse compliance with
6 electric facility clearances approved or required by the
7 National Electrical Code, The National Electrical Safety
8 Code, Illinois Commerce Commission, Federal Energy
9 Regulatory Commission, and their designees or successors.
10 (2) a wind tower of a commercial wind energy facility
11 to be sited so that industry standard computer modeling
12 indicates that any occupied community building or
13 nonparticipating residence will not experience more than
14 30 hours per year of shadow flicker under planned
15 operating conditions;
16 (3) a commercial solar energy facility to be sited as
17 follows, with setback distances measured from the nearest
18 edge of any component of the facility:
19Setback Description Setback Distance
20Occupied Community 500 150 feet from the nearest
21Buildings and Dwellings on point on the outside wall
22Nonparticipating Properties of the structure

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1Boundary Lines of None
2Participating Property
3Public Road Rights-of-Way 50 feet from the nearest
4 edge
5Boundary Lines of 500 50 feet to the nearest
6Nonparticipating Property point on the property
7 line of the nonparticipating
8 property
9 (4) a commercial solar energy facility to be sited so
10 that the facility's perimeter is enclosed by fencing
11 having a height of at least 6 feet and no more than 25
12 feet; and
13 (5) a commercial solar energy facility to be sited so
14 that no component of a solar panel has a height of more
15 than 20 feet above ground when the solar energy facility's
16 arrays are at full tilt.
17 The requirements set forth in this subsection (e) may be
18waived subject to the written consent of the owner of each
19affected nonparticipating property.
20 (f) A county may not set a sound limitation for wind towers
21in commercial wind energy facilities or any components in
22commercial solar energy facility that is more restrictive than
23the sound limitations established by the Illinois Pollution

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1Control Board under 35 Ill. Adm. Code Parts 900, 901, and 910.
2 (g) A county may not place any restriction on the
3installation or use of a commercial wind energy facility or a
4commercial solar energy facility unless it adopts an ordinance
5that complies with this Section. A county may not establish
6siting standards for supporting facilities that preclude
7development of commercial wind energy facilities or commercial
8solar energy facilities.
9 A request for siting approval or a special use permit for a
10commercial wind energy facility or a commercial solar energy
11facility, or modification of an approved siting or special use
12permit, shall be approved if the request is in compliance with
13the standards and conditions imposed in this Act, the zoning
14ordinance adopted consistent with this Code, and the
15conditions imposed under State and federal statutes and
16regulations.
17 (h) A county may not adopt zoning regulations that
18disallow, permanently or temporarily, commercial wind energy
19facilities or commercial solar energy facilities from being
20developed or operated in any district zoned to allow
21agricultural or industrial uses.
22 (i) A county may not require permit application fees for a
23commercial wind energy facility or commercial solar energy
24facility that are unreasonable. All application fees imposed
25by the county shall be consistent with fees for projects in the
26county with similar capital value and cost.

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1 (j) Except as otherwise provided in this Section, a county
2shall not require standards for construction, decommissioning,
3or deconstruction of a commercial wind energy facility or
4commercial solar energy facility or related financial
5assurances that are more restrictive than those included in
6the Department of Agriculture's standard wind farm
7agricultural impact mitigation agreement, template 81818, or
8standard solar agricultural impact mitigation agreement,
9version 8.19.19, as applicable and in effect on December 31,
102022. The amount of any decommissioning payment shall be
11limited to the cost identified in the decommissioning or
12deconstruction plan, as required by those agricultural impact
13mitigation agreements, minus the salvage value of the project.
14 (k) A county may not condition approval of a commercial
15wind energy facility or commercial solar energy facility on a
16property value guarantee and may not require a facility owner
17to pay into a neighboring property devaluation escrow account.
18 (l) A county may require certain vegetative screening
19surrounding a commercial wind energy facility or commercial
20solar energy facility but may not require earthen berms or
21similar structures.
22 (m) A county may set blade tip height limitations for wind
23towers in commercial wind energy facilities but may not set a
24blade tip height limitation that is more restrictive than the
25height allowed under a Determination of No Hazard to Air
26Navigation by the Federal Aviation Administration under 14 CFR

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1Part 77.
2 (n) A county may require that a commercial wind energy
3facility owner or commercial solar energy facility owner
4provide:
5 (1) the results and recommendations from consultation
6 with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that are
7 obtained through the Ecological Compliance Assessment Tool
8 (EcoCAT) or a comparable successor tool; and
9 (2) the results of the United States Fish and Wildlife
10 Service's Information for Planning and Consulting
11 environmental review or a comparable successor tool that
12 is consistent with (i) the "U.S. Fish and Wildlife
13 Service's Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines" and (ii) any
14 applicable United States Fish and Wildlife Service solar
15 wildlife guidelines that have been subject to public
16 review.
17 (o) A county may require a commercial wind energy facility
18or commercial solar energy facility to adhere to the
19recommendations provided by the Illinois Department of Natural
20Resources in an EcoCAT natural resource review report under 17
21Ill. Admin. Code Part 1075.
22 (p) A county may require a facility owner to:
23 (1) demonstrate avoidance of protected lands as
24 identified by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources
25 and the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission; or
26 (2) consider the recommendations of the Illinois

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1 Department of Natural Resources for setbacks from
2 protected lands, including areas identified by the
3 Illinois Nature Preserve Commission.
4 (q) A county may require that a facility owner provide
5evidence of consultation with the Illinois State Historic
6Preservation Office to assess potential impacts on
7State-registered historic sites under the Illinois State
8Agency Historic Resources Preservation Act.
9 (r) To maximize community benefits, including, but not
10limited to, reduced stormwater runoff, flooding, and erosion
11at the ground mounted solar energy system, improved soil
12health, and increased foraging habitat for game birds,
13songbirds, and pollinators, a county may (1) require a
14commercial solar energy facility owner to plant, establish,
15and maintain for the life of the facility vegetative ground
16cover, consistent with the goals of the Pollinator-Friendly
17Solar Site Act and (2) require the submittal of a vegetation
18management plan in the application to construct and operate a
19commercial solar energy facility in the county.
20 No later than 90 days after the effective date of this
21amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly, the Illinois
22Department of Natural Resources shall develop guidelines for
23vegetation management plans that may be required under this
24subsection for commercial solar energy facilities. The
25guidelines must include guidance for short-term and long-term
26property management practices that provide and maintain native

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1and non-invasive naturalized perennial vegetation to protect
2the health and well-being of pollinators.
3 (s) If a facility owner enters into a road use agreement
4with the Illinois Department of Transportation, a road
5district, or other unit of local government relating to a
6commercial wind energy facility or a commercial solar energy
7facility, the road use agreement shall require the facility
8owner to be responsible for (i) the reasonable cost of
9improving roads used by the facility owner to construct the
10commercial wind energy facility or the commercial solar energy
11facility and (ii) the reasonable cost of repairing roads used
12by the facility owner during construction of the commercial
13wind energy facility or the commercial solar energy facility
14so that those roads are in a condition that is safe for the
15driving public after the completion of the facility's
16construction. Roadways improved in preparation for and during
17the construction of the commercial wind energy facility or
18commercial solar energy facility shall be repaired and
19restored to the improved condition at the reasonable cost of
20the developer if the roadways have degraded or were damaged as
21a result of construction-related activities.
22 The road use agreement shall not require the facility
23owner to pay costs, fees, or charges for road work that is not
24specifically and uniquely attributable to the construction of
25the commercial wind energy facility or the commercial solar
26energy facility. Road-related fees, permit fees, or other

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1charges imposed by the Illinois Department of Transportation,
2a road district, or other unit of local government under a road
3use agreement with the facility owner shall be reasonably
4related to the cost of administration of the road use
5agreement.
6 (t) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a facility
7owner with siting approval from a county to construct a
8commercial wind energy facility or a commercial solar energy
9facility is authorized to cross or impact a drainage system,
10including, but not limited to, drainage tiles, open drainage
11districts, culverts, and water gathering vaults, owned or
12under the control of a drainage district under the Illinois
13Drainage Code without obtaining prior agreement or approval
14from the drainage district, except that the facility owner
15shall repair or pay for the repair of all damage to the
16drainage system caused by the construction of the commercial
17wind energy facility or the commercial solar energy facility
18within a reasonable time after construction of the commercial
19wind energy facility or the commercial solar energy facility
20is complete.
21 (u) The amendments to this Section adopted in Public Act
22102-1123 do not apply to: (1) an application for siting
23approval or for a special use permit for a commercial wind
24energy facility or commercial solar energy facility if the
25application was submitted to a unit of local government before
26the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General

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1Assembly; (2) a commercial wind energy facility or a
2commercial solar energy facility if the facility owner has
3submitted an agricultural impact mitigation agreement to the
4Department of Agriculture before the effective date of this
5amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly; or (3) a
6commercial wind energy or commercial solar energy development
7on property that is located within an enterprise zone
8certified under the Illinois Enterprise Zone Act, that was
9classified as industrial by the appropriate zoning authority
10on or before January 27, 2023, and that is located within 4
11miles of the intersection of Interstate 88 and Interstate 39.
12(Source: P.A. 102-1123, eff. 1-27-23; 103-81, eff. 6-9-23.)
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