representing the wind farm project were Kyle Barry, attorney for the
project; Stan Komperda of American Wind Energy; and Dave Wagner of
Regional Planning Commission members present were commission
Chairman Bill Graff, Vice Chairman Blair Hoerbert, Bob Farmer, Fred
Finchum, Jim Fuhrer, Jeff Hoinacki, Marty Neitzel, Scott
Schaffenacker, Dave Schonauer, Jim Vipond and Becky Werth. Logan
County Zoning Officer Will D'Andrea and County Highway Engineer Bret
Aukamp were also present.
In September, the Regional Planning Commission recommended that the
Zoning Board of Appeals approve of the amended wind farm permit. The
ZBA approved the amendments to a previous conditional use permit for
the project, but asked for revised plans on how all the towers would
be able to connect.
Tonight, the applications for the connections will be presented to
the Zoning Board of Appeals. At Wednesday's meeting, the Regional
Planning Commission heard plans for the lines and decided whether to
recommend the ZBA approve the applications.
Barry, Komperda, and Wagner showed commission members maps of the
proposed locations for the lines and briefly explained areas
collection lines and transmission lines will cross.
Barry said the first application is for the underground collection
line, which are cables that are buried and will connect one side of
the wind farm to the other side. It affects about seven parcels.
Barry said for that application, they are seeking a conditional use
Barry said the second application is for the "Gen-tie line." It is
the transmission line, which is the cord that will connect the wind
farm to Ameren's Fogerty switchyard near Route 66. Barry said for
that application they are "seeking a conditional use permit for the
parcels in agricultural zones and a variance for the parcels zoned
Special District or Manufacturing (M3)."
Komperda said the underground collection lines are no different from
the lines inside the already permitted project connecting wind
turbines. He said with some of the other lines "that carry the
combined power from those machines to the substation, we just needed
this shorter route that is outside the original footprint of the
Komperda said the route "is about a 1.6 mile run. It will be
underground and the landowners will be farming right over the top of
it." He said they have to satisfy all the same requirements as far
as any drain tile repairs and making sure there is still drainage.
Komperda said the line will enter off of 450th Avenue, head east for
about three quarters of a mile, head north another three quarters of
a mile, and cross 1400th street onto some of their landowners'
lands. It will then combine with some other underground lines and
head over to the substation.
Komperda said the Gen-Tie line will come down towards the southeast
corner of the project in the Rocky Ford area. He said a landowner
there has granted some land for a substation. The power will go into
a substation and they will put it into a transformer that will go
from 34.5 to 138,000 volts.
Komperda said the lines will be put on single poles, and will be on
land zoned agricultural, Special District, and the M3 District that
may be mined in the future.
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Komperda said transmission lines will cross Salt Creek and run due east until
they get across I-55. The lines will then head south along the Business 55
corridor near where the Route 66 and Business 55 interchange is being redone.
They will then hop across the railroad and the Ameren line there and head south
towards the new Fogarty Substation Ameren built.
Komperda said they need to get to the northwest corner of the substation, which
is the interconnection portion of the substation. With that the project will be
plugged into the grid.
Komperda said since lines will cross I-55, they have already been in discussions
with the Illinois Department of Transportation and will get all the necessary
Aukamp had a question about the area that has been zoned M3 and is a potentially
quarry area. He asked if there is "any concern with the above ground
transmission lines and any conflicts with potential quarry operations." Aukamp
also asked about if the blasting of the quarry might negatively affect it.
Komperda said they have talked to the landowners and the lines will be "as close
as possible to the boundary of the property with enough of a setback that they
will be able to get in a mine." He said they would have to leave some unmined
land due to the neighboring parcel anyway. Komperda said the Mines and Minerals
people at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources assured him the blasting
is not like it used to be years ago.
Aukamp asked about locations going through wooded areas and wetlands and whether
they had addressed possible issues in these areas.
Komperda said they are talking to IDNR about any timber removal that would need
to be done during a November to May time frame because of "critter concerns"
during the migratory season. Komperda said as long as that issue is addressed,
IDNR is fine with the work.
Komperda said they will stay out of agricultural land as much as possible and
stay along timber strips on the edges of the fields. He said most of the lines
will be in an area that already has electrical infrastructure similar to Ameren
in the distribution and high voltage side. They will follow the same protocols
Barry said existing power lines already cross many of the parcels these lines
will cross. The poles will avoid low lying flood plains.
The Regional Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of both
A public hearing will be held tonight, Thursday, November 3, at 7:30 p.m. at
West Lincoln-Broadwell School with the Zoning Board of Appeals voting whether to
approve the applications for the collection lines, substation, and transmission