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Kane State’s Attorney’s Office to help fight proposed ComEd project

Updated: March 3, 2014 4:17PM

GENEVA — The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office has filed a petition for leave to intervene before the Illinois Commerce Commission regarding ComEd’s proposed Grand Prairie Parkway project.

The plan under consideration is for a 345,000-volt power line on steel towers that would be 165 feet tall and have four steel cross arms with a maximum width of 52 feet. The 57-mile line would make its way through Ogle, DeKalb, Kane and DuPage counties between Byron and Wayne.

A document dated this week and signed by Kane County Special Assistant State’s Attorney J. Patrick Jaeger states that the project “will negatively impact the County of Kane’s use and enjoyment of its property.”

It claims the project would impact the goals, purposes, and objectives of the county’s long-range master plan, its transportation, community health, and green infrastructure plans, and the county’s stormwater protection, historic preservation, and farmland protection ordinances.

Jaeger explained Wednesday that the purpose of the petition is to allow the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office to come before the ICC at hearings on the matter in a role analogous to its job in the courtroom — that is presenting witnesses and information or evidence to its point and cross-examining others who might appear.

It is not unusual for the office to appear before the ICC. Jaeger said it frequently does so in the matter of railroad crossings and any suggested changes to be made to them.

According to the project’s website, PJM Interconnection, an independent regional transmission grid operator and planner for the ComEd service territory, has offered the chosen path as “the best solution for addressing current system congestion and ensuring the continued efficient flow of electricity across northern Illinois.”

ComEd officials have stated that burying at least part of the route — as some opponents have suggested — had not been considered because of the cost.

Part of the route would be located just to the south of the Canadian National Railroad tracks and immediately north of the Bowes Creek Country Club and its series of Toll Brothers homes and townhomes in far west Elgin. It also would come close to Otter Creek Elementary School.

The document filed this week noted the primary and alternate routes contained in the proposal would cross or be close to sections of Bowes, Burlington, Dunham, McGough, Peplow, Randall, Russell, Plato and Stearns roads in Kane County.

Earlier this month, residents in the homeowners associations for the three subdivisions around Bowes Creek Country Club decided to hire Peoria-based law firm Shay, Kepple, and Phillips, which has a history of representing individuals with utility filings with the ICC, to represent the residents as intervenors.

Voluntary contributions from residents and a donation from Toll Brothers, the area’s developer are footing these legal fees.

City of Elgin Corporate Counsel William Cogley said his office also will be filing a petition for leave to intervene before the ICC on behalf of the city. In December, the Elgin City Council unanimously passed its own resolution in opposition to the proposal on the table from ComEd.

Citizens may comment on the proposed project at The case number is 13-0657. ComEd hopes to have a ruling by the Illinois Commerce Commission on the matter by sometime this summer.

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