Whitney Hill and Sugar Creek road
use agreements ready
Sugar Creek to aid Fifth Street redevelopment
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[April 13, 2019]
At the Logan County Board Workshop on Thursday, April 11, the board
heard updates on the road use agreements for both the Whitney Hill
and Sugar Creek Wind Farm Projects. Attorney Sheryl Churney, who
provided legal counsel for the agreement, shared some of the details
of the agreement with the board.
Board member Chuck Ruben said the board had a few concerns over the
last road use agreement for HillTopper since they did not have
enough penalties in the agreement to provide enforcement for fixing
problems, and he asked if this agreement addressed that.
Churney said this road use agreement is similar to the HillTopper
road use agreement, which provided the model for both new
agreements, but they have definitely learned from some experiences
at the HillTopper project. She said in each county in the state of
Illinois that has a wind farm, they learn something once they do the
In the road use agreement for both Whitney Hill and Sugar Creek,
Churney said they have added fines for any traffic control
deficiencies. This provision relates to how traffic is handled on
site. The company is obligated to let someone know when there is a
problem with the road which needs to be fixed and depending on the
severity, they have anywhere from a half-hour to twelve hours to
address the issue. If the problem is not addressed, a fine of $2,500
can be assessed.
Ruben asked if the County Highway Engineer would make that
Churney said either the County Highway Engineer or consultants that
are helping oversee the project would make the determination.
Steel-tracked equipment was doing particular damage to roads near
HillTopper, so Churney said these agreements now have a provision
about protecting the roads when steel-tracked equipment is going to
be crossing the road.
Churney said something else that came up that the County Board has
included in the conditional use permits has to do with nighttime
construction activities. The road agreement says that overweight and
oversized vehicles cannot use the roads after daylight hours, which
creates confusion about what can be done after daylight hours.
Both agreements would allow construction vehicles that are not
overweight or oversized to use the local roads between sunset and
sunrise if the vehicles are being used for the pouring of the tower
foundation, erection of tower sections, placement of nacelles and
blades on a tower, performing maintenance inspections, preparing for
next day construction activity, or repairing equipment. Churney said
this language reflects what is in the conditional use permit.
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Board member Bob Sanders said it sounds like the company can do about anything
they want during those hours and feels the agreement does not restrict much.
Ruben said when discussing the conditional use permit, some of the activities
cannot be controlled anyway, so the thought is to get the trucks in, get the
work done, and get them out.
Churney said the financial compensation will be the same for Whitney Hill as it
was with HillTopper.
Additional provisions in the Sugar Creek Road Use Agreement
Churney said the Sugar Creek compensation is different because one of the roads
in the footprint of the Sugar Creek Wind Farm project is Fifth Street Road.
One goal of the county is to realign and improve that road, and Churney said the
county will take over jurisdiction of the road from West Lincoln Township and
Churney said money has been a problem [with the county being able to construct
the Fifth Street Road project]. However, working collaboratively to reach the
goal of realigning and improving the road, and allowing the developer to use the
road for their construction, is what was discussed; there is not much point in
making pre-construction improvements to the road.
The preference is that the county would save the developer the money needed for
making pre-construction road improvements. If the developer provides that money
to go into the county’s pot, at the end of the project, the developer can help
accomplish the long-term goal the county has had.
Churney said the developer has agreed to these terms, which is why the financial
terms for Sugar Creek’s road use agreement are a little different. It is a
private and public partnership that would accomplish the goals of both entities.
Logan County Highway Engineer Bret Aukamp said once the wind farm construction
is done, the county would hire a contractor to construct the Fifth Street Road
When the wind farm construction is complete, Aukamp said the developer will no
longer need to use the existing Fifth Street Road. At that point, the County can
build the new roadway, which would be wider than the existing road.
At the Regular Board meeting on Tuesday, Road and Bridge Committee Chairman Bob
Farmer will bring forward motions for approval of both road use agreements.