Fox Metro Looks To Expand Solar Field In Montgomery

By: Judy Pochel – Aurora Beacon-News

Fox Metro Water Reclamation District is asking for a special use permit from the village of Montgomery to extend a solar field over ground that has been determined to be contaminated next to the Fox River at 800 S. River St.

Fox Metro already has a solar field at the site, but the company wants to expand it. Montgomery Senior Planner Tony Farruggia told Montgomery Planning and Zoning Commission members at a meeting last week that the property is deemed as a “brownfield” site “that remains contaminated and therefore is unsuited for a majority of development possibilities.”

The expansion of the solar field, however, “would allow for the development of portions of the property without significant impact to either the surrounding area or the contaminated portions of the property,” according to a village staff report to the commission.

The proposed solar panels would be located between existing panels and the river. A large asphalt surface on the southern portion of the property is required to remain undisturbed due to site contamination from the previous industrial use, village officials said.

Fox Metro has indicated to the village that some trees along the river would have to be removed to allow adequate sunlight to hit the proposed new solar panels, but has expressed the intent to keep removals to a minimum, officials said.

An access road loops around the northern half of the property, village officials said. The access road was supposed to be improved, but this work has not been completed, according to the officials. Village staff is recommending that the improvement of the access road be made a condition of approval of the special use.

Karen Clementi, district manager with Fox Metro, said she didn’t object to any conditions raised by the village, except the requirement to improve the access road. She said her company wanted to wait and see where an at-grade crossing would be installed over the railroad tracks to the west first.

The special use request will be on the agenda at the Montgomery Village Board meeting Monday night.