McLean County Board Chairman John McIntyre has delayed plans to have government committees resume meeting in person through the end of the current term in November.
The County Board on Tuesday also approved a special-use permit for what would be the county’s first cannabis growing operation and a permit extension for a solar farm that may never see the light of day.
McIntyre scrapped a proposal to have the County Board committees resume meeting at the County Board Room at the McLean County Government Center starting in August. The pandemic has forced the county to make all of its public meetings virtual since March.
Several County Board members raised concerns about the health risks of meeting in person in the midst of the pandemic.
“After much thought and deliberation, and consultation with many of you, I just decided it was in the best interest of all of us, for the safety, health and wellness of our current members, employees, the public,” McIntyre said.
The board approved 19-0.
Six members of the public submitted comments to the County Board urging them to continue the virtual committee meetings. The county previously only streamed the monthly County Board meeting, but has since started steaming live videos of all committee meetings on its Facebook and YouTube pages.
McIntyre has said that has added to the county’s video streaming costs.
McIntyre had planned to keep the full County Board meetings virtual because they would be harder to maintain social distancing. The County Board has 20 members, while other elected officials and other administrators also attend.
The public can attend the meetings in person at the County Board room, where they can view a live feed.
The county also plans to explore ways to conduct closed session virtual meetings for matters such as personnel.
The County Board approved a special-use permit for a cannabis craft grower facility east of Saybrook. John Wern of Saybrook filed the request for the High Times Cannabis Company. He’s seeking to build the marijuana growing operation on a six-acre property of farmland he owns.
McLean County Building and Zoning Director Phil Dick said Wern is in the process of seeking a state license for the operation. The county’s Zoning Board of Appeals signed off on the request earlier this month.
The state has delayed issuing any new cannabis licenses because of the pandemic.
Solar project on hold
The County Board also approved extending a special-use permit for a proposed solar farm that’s been years in the making and may never happen.
Cypress Creek Renewables, headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, is seeking renewable energy credits to make the 2-megawatt Breezewood Solar project in Bloomington Township more financially viable, according to a company representative.
The company won the incentives in 2019 for its Moraine Solar project in Downs and plans to begin construction later this year.
Cypress Creek Renewables is also seeking renewable energy credits for its Towanda Solar project in Dale Township southwest of Bloomington.
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