Fulton County Board Committee Minutes
Fulton County Board Office, 257 West Lincoln Street, Lewistown, IL 61542
Committee: Community Development, Zoning & 200th Anniversary
Meeting Place: 257 W Lincoln, Lewistown, IL
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Date: Feb. 7, 2023
Call in information: 1-425-436-6307
Access code: 835427
1. Call to Order
Laura Kessel (present/xxxxxx)
BJ McCullum (xxxxxxx/absent)
Ryan Sloan (present/xxxxxx)
Lauren Southwood (present/xxxxxx)
David Widger (present/xxxxxx)
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS: Jared Heller
ELECTED & APPOINTED OFFICIALS: Janice Emmons – Planning and Zoning Director,
STAFF: Cindy Simpson – Fulton County Board Administrative Assistant
Guests: Kelly Inns- Director of Development Leeward Renewable Energy, Ellen Foley – Development Associate Leeward Energy, Anthony Neves – Public Outreach Associate Leeward Energy, Bill Phillips – Graham & Hyde Architects
2. Roll Call
Roll call was taken, quorum was present
3. Call for Additions/Deletions to and Approval of the Agenda
Member Southwood moved to approve the agenda with a second from Member Widger. Motion carried by roll call vote (4-0).
4. Approval of Previous Minutes – January 3, 2023 and January 30, 2023
Member Sloan moved to approve the minutes from January 3, 2023 and January 30, 2023 with a second from Member Widger. Motion carried by roll call vote (4-0).
5. Announcements, Communications and Correspondence
Janice Emmons Zoning Director discussed the county wind and solar zoning restrictions related to HB4412 that was approved by the General Assembly in January 2023. The new law requires counties to amend their zoning ordinance to match the State of Illinois regarding setbacks and other language.
6. Public Comments – None
7. Claims/Financial Report
Member Sloan moved to approve the claims with a second from Member Widger. Motion carried by roll call vote (4-0).
8. Zoning Office Report
Janice Emmons, Zoning Officer, reported the Zoning office received $4,035.00 for the month of January 2023. Eight new construction permits have been received and eight initial construction inspections were completed. There were 28 final construction inspections completed. There were approximately 16 consultations concerning exempt splits in accordance with the plat act and twelve plat act affidavits signed, and 120 consultations were conducted by phone concerning zoning matters. Thirteen follow up consultations concerning renewal of conditional use permits and special home occupation permits were completed. There are two conditional use permits outstanding.
No complaints were received by the Zoning office.
Leeward Energy submitted a petition for zoning action. The petition concerns receiving a conditional use permit and a variance for a utility scale solar project in South Fulton. A public hearing will be held at the Fulton County Farm Bureau Building in Lewistown, IL on March 1, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.
9. New Business
a. Discussion/Action: Presentation by Anthony Neve on South Fulton Solar Project
Member Kessel changed to have the solar project present first.
Kelly Inns, Director of Development with Leeward Energy, discussed Leeward Energy filed for a conditional use permit with the Zoning office Board of Appeals.
Kelly discussed Leeward Energy is a developer and operator of renewable energy projects. Currently Leeward has 24 operating facilities for wind and two solar projects in operation and 3 additional under construction.
Kelly stated the closest wind project under construction is in Ohio. Leeward Energy is based in Dallas, Texas, and Kelly and Ellen are based out of the Chicago, IL office. Kelly discussed there are four wind projects currently operating in Illinois with approximately 20,000 megawatts projects throughout the Midwest under development. There is an 800 Megawatt project currently in DeKalb County.
The solar project in Fulton County is 350 Megawatts with a 175-battery project, and is located between Table Grove and Ipava, IL and there are currently 3800 acres under lease. Kelly stated 3500 of the acres for the solar project are on reclaimed strip mine ground. Included in the project is a short transmission line to connect to the Ameren substation. The current stage of the project is in the permitting phase. The conditional use permit application was submitted to the Fulton County Zoning office. Leeward is hoping to continue the development and start construction on the solar project by 2025.
The approval for the connection from Ameren will take the most time to receive. Throughout the process, environmental studies and soil samples will be done. The Solar project will run for approximately 30 years and may or may not extend.
This is a sizeable project and will cost Leeward Energy approximately $700 million to build in Fulton County. Leeward is responsible for paying the property tax to Fulton County. The project is estimated to pay over $70 million in property tax revenue to Fulton County. The financial benefits include the VIT Unit 2 School District of approximately $45 million for the next 30 years and Fulton County would receive 15% and the remaining amount of tax money to the township.
The project will create approximately 1085 jobs over the next 22 to 24 months. The jobs are short-term jobs during construction. Once the project is operational, there is no emissions and no noise.
Member Kessel stated Fulton County appreciates the interest and the sharing of the information to the committee.
b. Discussion/Action: Presentation Basic Subdivision Plat Approval
Zoning Officer Emmons presented a basic overview of the subdivision plat approval process for Fulton County.
The subdivision plat was adopted by Fulton County in 2012/2013. The subdivision Plat states when a landowner subdivides the property into two or more parts, the division cannot be less than 5.0 acres or a subdivision plat is required.
Fulton County has approximately 30,000 parcels in the county.
Exception to a subdivision Plat are: Tracts of 5 acres or more in size with no new streets or easements, lots or blocks less than 1 acre in subdivision with no new streets or easements, the sale or exchange of property between adjoining land owners. The conveyance of a right of way for Rail Road or other public utility with no new streets or easements, conveyance of land owned by a Rail Road or public utility, conveyance of land for highway or other public purposes, and the conveyance to correct descriptions.
Emmons provided a checklist for the Plat Act to be in compliance with the Illinois statute and the process starts with a surveyor and consulting an attorney for a subdivision plat. The plat officer has a consultation with the landowner and makes any necessary corrections to the subdivision plat. The plat is sent to the Health Department and roadway official for approval signatures. The plat officer signs the plat, and the plat is presented to the Community Development, Zoning Committee for approval and the committee chairperson’s signature. The Community Development, Zoning Committee would approve the plat and present the plat to the Fulton County Board for approval and the necessary signatures.
There have been a number of suggestions made to change the subdivision plat act, if changes are needed, the following offices are involved: the Supervisor of Assessment, County Clerk, Highway Engineer and States Attorney, and the process would be very time consuming.
10. Old Business
a. Discussion/Action: 200th Anniversary Planning
Member Kessel reported the dates being considered for the 200th celebration are between August and October 2023, and a date will be finalized in the near future. Member Kessel stated she is concentrating on the one-day event and if other members of the committee would like to take the lead on another event, to discuss this the event at the Community Development, Zoning Committee, 200th Anniversary meeting to assure the funds are available.
The Spoon River College Theater declined doing a production for the 200th Anniversary due to the short time line for the 200th Anniversary celebration.
Member Widger discussed some of the bands need dates to ensure they are available. Member Widger will get prices from several bands.
11. Executive Session – None
Member Widger moved to adjourn at 6:09pm with a second from Member Southwood. Motion carried by roll call vote