DANVILLE – After being denied, a special-use permit to allow for a solar energy system at Aqua Illinois’ water treatment plant off West Fairchild Street will return for Danville City Council action next week.

The council voted 5-7 against the permit last month. This followed a 4-1 vote recommending approval of the permit from the Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission.

Ward 7 Alderman Steve Foster, who voted against the permit, requested it be brought back for another vote.

“I’m willing to re-address it,” he said.

Ward 4 Alderwoman Sharon McMahon agreed, saying she had a different picture in her mind of what was going in there, prior to walking the site.

Neighbors are against the permit partially due to lowering property values and the aesthetics of seeing the estimated 7,000 solar panels on land northeast of Aqua’s water treatment plant. It’d be a 20-year lease agreement with Aqua, and can be extended. If approved, Sol Systems representatives have said construction could occur by the end of the year.

Aqua Illinois Area Manager Bob Ervin said they’ve made changes to the project in working with the neighbors, such as moving it more to the south and west, increasing setbacks and other buffers.

He asked aldermen to reconsider their vote, saying the project is good for water customers. He said the project is expected to save Aqua about $100,000 a year, meaning a longer time before they’d seek a rate increase.

In other business the council will consider acting on a residency requirement for city employees allowing them to live within 5 miles of the city, with them paying the city portion of property taxes as if their home was inside city limits.

Also Tuesday, council members will consider:

• Rejecting the $6.2 million contract with Cross Construction of Urbana for the northwest sanitary sewer reconstruction project due to lack of Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan funding. The project could occur next year.

• Authorizing a budget amendment in the Tax Increment Financing Fund budget to reimburse Matt Long $7,000, a 20 percent reimbursement of the overall cost, for a roof replacement at 136 N. Vermilion St.

• Authorizing establishment and distribution of corporate membership package funds. A business corporate membership cost of $1,000 means $700 to Harrison Park Golf Course, $200 to the Danville Tennis Center and $100 to the municipal pool. Of the $500 corporate family membership, $300 goes to the golf course, $100 to the tennis center and $100 to the pool.

Ward 2 Alderman Rick Strebing asked if having a non-city entity, the tennis center, being a part of this would be causing any problems.

"This has been a wonderful thing," Public Works Director Carl Carpenter said about this being the first year for the corporate membership packages, and saying maybe ice skating and some other activities could be added in the future.

• Authorizing lease of golf carts for Harrison Park Golf Course. The city would trade in 30 2014 golf carts. They are failing with their batteries and causing delays and negatively impacting golfers, the resolution states.

Textron (E-Z-Go) would pay off a $24,000 balloon payment and negate the last payment to them and bring in the new 30 carts with a continued lease. The new five year lease payments would be: $13,000, $16,500, $20,500, $24,500 and $27.090.

“They’ve served their purpose very well. This is a good investment on the city’s part,” Carpenter said.

• Authorizing vacation of an east-west alleyway near 918 N. Walnut St. for Troy and Linda Shults. Some people asked why this came back so soon after it was denied last year. The council voted 6-6 against it in November 2018. City officials said there is no time frame restriction in bringing it back. The Shults say they are living now next to the alley and want to cut back on those walking through there. A neighbor still has concerns about traveling through that area with her vehicle with her garage there, and says more people will be put out than before with more people living near there now.

• Approving vacation of a grass alleyway for REG Danville, LLC.

Coming Up

The Danville City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Robert E. Jones Municipal Building, 17 W. Main St.