Ogle County Board: Petition work underway for potential changes to Byron Nuclear Plant property

Rochelle Mayor Bearrows makes presentation to board


OREGON — At its monthly meeting Tuesday, the Ogle County Board heard an update from Board Member Dan Janes (R-Stillman Valley, District 5) regarding ongoing petition work by Constellation, the owner of the Byron Nuclear Plant, to change the zoning classification of some of its property.

Janes said Constellation wants to change all of its agricultural-zoned land to industrial zoning due to some "very positive things that could happen up and around the nuclear plant.” The County Board is working through the process as quickly as possible and it could be seen for approval at the County Board's July 16 meeting.

"This would give [Constellation] the opportunity to look into some very demanding customers to help their industry," Janes said. "I cannot share all of the information. This would probably have a very positive impact on our county's equalized assessed value (EAV). It could have the opportunity to be as big as big can get in Ogle County. We need to do this so we're first on the list."

The ground that would see zoning changes is mostly on top of the quarry that the nuclear plant is built on. The several hundred acres are owned by Constellation. 


The board heard a presentation from Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows regarding a number of projects his city has going on. 

Bearrows first discussed a potential housing incentive program to combat the housing shortage in the Rochelle area that would involve the taxing bodies in the city. The program would incentivize homeowners to build houses and open up currently-occupied homes for sale.

The four-year program involves a tax rebate. Participants would pay 20 percent of their tax bill the first year, 40 percent the second year, 60 percent the third year, 80 percent the fourth year, and the full tax bill the fifth year.

"We hope to get every taxing body involved in the City of Rochelle," Bearrows said. "But we'd like to see it also expanded out into the county. Housing is a real problem.” 

Bearrows also discussed a potential Dement Road extension project in Rochelle that would improve truck traffic and access in the city. The $15 million project was recently approved for a $5 million grant next year.

The City of Rochelle and the Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District recently opened a fire training facility in Rochelle that they hope to expand to operate as a regional training facility for law enforcement and other agencies. The city recently applied for a nearly $1 million grant for the next potential phase of the facility.

"This will benefit the region," Bearrows said. "It's a regional facility for the region. As one area does good, we all do good. I will try to come back every so often to give the board more updates on what we're working on.”


The board unanimously approved an energy project proposal from Alpha Incentive to get rebates on the county's utility bills to improve facilities to save on energy.