Around 30 people came to hear about the applications and plans
for where the lines will be located.
Guests representing the wind farm project were Stan Komperda and
from the American Wind Energy Management Corporation, Scott Koziar
and Dave Wagner from Apex Clean Energy, and Kyle Barry, an attorney
for the project.
The first application was to allow the construction and operation of
an underground electrical transmission collection line that will
connect to the previously approved wind farm project.
The second application was to allow the construction and operation
of an overhead 138 killovolt electrical transmission line, and
accompanying electrical project substation, that will connect the
wind farm project to Ameren's Fogarty Switchyard in (or over)
Agricultural, manufacturing 3, planned urban development, and
special district zoning districts.
ZBA chairman Doug Thompson said with some new areas added in that
are not in agricultural districts, variances are needed.
Explanation of applications
Barry said the "Gen tie" line, or transmission line, is the cord
necessary to plug the project into the electrical grid that will tie
in near old Route 66 at the Ameren Fogarty Switchyard.
Barry said there are about eighteen parcels the transmission line
will cross, and some are zoned special district. He said they are
"seeking a conditional use permit for the parcels in agricultural
zones and a variance for the parcels not zoned agriculturally
because of the hardship they impose on the applicant."
Barry said the underground collection lines will host buried
electrical cables which will tie one part of the line to another.
This line adds seven new parcels to the project footprint, all of
which are zoned agricultural. These parcels are just south of the
Komperda said the project will still cover 11,500 acres. He said the
transmission lines will cover a six mile route tying into Sugar
Creek Substation, which will be located just south of 1400th street
near Rocky Ford and be between one half and one acre. That
substation will have transformer lines with 138,000 volts, which is
the same voltage Ameren uses.
Barry said the substation is included in the conditional use portion
of the transmission line application.
Komperda said the lines will cross at the intersection of 1400th
street and 700th avenue, which is a "busy location" and follow along
a tree line. It will hop across I-55 going south near old route 66.
Komperda said there are no changes to the previous ordinance
conditions. He said, "we are staying at least 25 feet away from
neighboring property lines due to sway." Komperda said the poles
will be 60 feet high with three wires on each pole. The FAA rules
say they must be under 200 feet, so that condition is being met.
Komperda said they have looked at floodplain regulations as they
planned the locations. They will repair drainage tiles as needed.
Komperda said they have also done interference studies He said it is
not likely to impact electromagnetic transmissions or affect
telecommunications or digital transmissions.
Barry said they are following the requirements for a conditional use
permit for the parcels zoned agriculturally. He said for parcels
with more than one zoning classifications or not zoned
agriculturally, they are asking for a variance.
Barry said section 11.33 of the zoning ordinance states a variance
is needed if the use of land "imposes" some "practical difficulties
or particular hardship" on the applicant. He said the request meets
standards for a variance because existing rules impose a hardship on
the project that has not been created by the applicant or the owner.
Any electrical transmission lines connecting to the switchyard will
pass through special districts.
Komperda then showed photos of lines previously put up by Ameren in
areas near where transmission lines will go. He said they are
working on getting crossing permits from the Illinois Department of
Transportations, Union Pacific Railroad, and CILCO/Ameren for some
of the parcels.
Barry said each of those agencies require a separate permit. He said
use of the Gen Tie lines is consistent with existing uses of the
Komperda said the underground connection line they plan to construct
is no different from other underground cable spans within the
project footprint already permitted. This line will go from 450th
Avenue heading east, then north to 1400th street. The line will be
1.3 miles long and cross seven parcels owned by the same family. He
said they have already talked to the family.
Komperda said studies show no FCC impacts on microwave beam paths,
television or radio signals, and cell transmission. They will
mitigate any problems if necessary.
Komperda said they will draft agreements with counties and townships
where some of the lines will cross.
Barry then summed up the applications and requests and asked them to
allow them to plug in the project to existing utilities. He said the
Regional Planning Commission unanimously approved the applications
last night and asked the ZBA to approve them.
Questions from ZBA members
Members of the ZBA next had a few questions for the wind farm
Brett Farmer asked if all the poles would be 60 feet high.
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Komperda said the poles are generally 60 feet high and would be no higher than
ZBA member Derek Martin asked if they are steel poles.
Komperda said steel poles will be used.
ZBA Chairman Doug Thompson asked Zoning Officer Will D'Andrea about the area
zoned for planned urban development.
D'Andrea said it was zoned years ago and would allow someone to plan a
Komperda said they are talking to a landowner about permission to span a parcel.
Transmission lines already cross it.
Thompson asked for public comments and several people addressed concerns.
Doug Muck, who owns land covered in the project, said he has talked at length
with APEX and provided input into where they would be placing lines. He asked
about the digital cell and TV signals.
Komperda said digital signals are less susceptible to interference than analog
and any interference is negligible. He said farmers told him they have little
issue with signals.
Steve Goodman, who lives near one of the parcels, asked about how they plan on
accessing floodplain areas when there has been flooding.
Komperda said they use all terrain vehicles, though work may need to be delayed
when it is flooded. He said engineers have dealt with the floodplains before and
existing lines handle it.
Komperda said construction plans include soil testing which will show engineers
areas to avoid. He said they will have discussions with landowners and make sure
criteria are met.
Nick Hurley had questions about a line adjacent to his parcel. He wants it moved
to the east due to the possibility of damaging a tree line.
Komperda said there is an agricultural field and field line running back there
with good access. He said there would be a 25 foot setback from the boundary of
Hurley's property. Komperda said it would not damage the tree line.
Elton Hurley said the tree is large and feels it should be further away. He
asked whether the lines would be insulated and could be moved over.
Komperda said the lines are insulated. He said he would talk to the landowners
about moving the line, but they do not want it through their path.
Wagner said he could talk to the engineers about the concerns.
Steve Schreiner lives in the project footprint. Schreiner asked about the
25-foot-setback and whether it applies to special districts or those zoned M3.
He wants to make sure the conditions are the same because he was told there is
no required setback.
Komperda said it does apply to special districts and it is the setback they have
Kozair said the ordinance does not set the setback, but they would work with
ZBA votes to approve each application
Before voting, the ZBA briefly discussed and considered each application
separately to make sure they met conditional use standards.
Chairman Thompson reviewed the standards with the other members. The conditional
use ordinance says the conditional use will not be "substantially detrimental"
to public health or general welfare, "substantially injurious" to other
property, or "substantially impede" development of surrounding property. They
also want to ensure "... adequate utilities, access roads, drainage or necessary
facilities have been or will be provided, and measures "will be taken to provide
ingress and egress so designed as to minimize traffic congestion in the public
Collection and transmission lines
ZBA members then voted on each of the applications with Brett Farmer making a
motion for approval of the collection lines and Cheryl Baker making a motion for
approval of the transmission lines.
Both were unanimously approved by the six members present: Cheryl Baker, Judy
Graff, Brett Farmer, Doug Thompson, Derek Martin and Scott Noltensmeier. Rick
Sheley was absent.
For the variances, the ZBA had to ensure it would not alter the central
character of the locality.
Cheryl Baker asked about some of the properties in the special district.
D'Andrea said the landowners have signed off to allow work to be done.
Scott Noltensmeier motioned for approval of the variances and they were also
The matter will go before the Logan County Board next. The board meets in
Workshop on Thursday, November 10 and votes in Regular session on Tuesday,