Neeld provides update on definitive agreements

An update on the Soldier Creek Wind Farm Project was given at the Nemaha County Commissioners meeting on Monday, Aug. 26. The County’s hired wind farm attorney, James Neeld, provided the public with an update regarding the definitive agreements that he has been working on with NextEra Energy Resources – the project’s developer.

Neeld said they are working on five definitive agreements that were a part of the term sheet, which was approved by the commissioners at the July 31 meeting. These definitive agreements are only for the Soldier Creek Wind Farm project, which is to be located in the southern half of Nemaha County surrounding the communities of Corning and Goff.

The five definitive agreements are the development agreement, a contribution agreement, a decommissioning agreement, road use agreement, and a complaint process agreement.

Development Agreement: discusses the project as a whole.

Contribution Agreement: discusses the cash and money payments.

Decommissioning Agreement: discusses when, and how things are taken down or removed.

Road Use Agreement: discusses the road plan, improvements required, the haul route and safety measures.

Complaint Process Agreement: “The fifth agreement, I personally want to pull out the provision in the term sheet that allows a citizen to make a complaint and go through the county commissioners, then go through that process,” Neeld said. “I will probably try to make that a stand-alone document.”

Neeld said he received the first draft of each of the agreements on Thursday of last week.

“We will work through that [the documents] this week and try to get it to a point where we can present it to the commissioners for comment,” Neeld said. “I will be working with the county attorney to do that.”

In addition to providing the commissioners and the public an update on the definitive agreements, Neeld also said he requested the commissioners to add three items to their agenda for the meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Those three items are the approval of the engineer’s contract, an extension of the six-month moratorium, and having a zoning attorney present on zoning.

Neeld said he needs the approval of the engineer’s contract, who will be representing the county, because he needs their involvement.

“I need their involvement in the definitive agreements, specifically the road use agreement, the haul route and the decommissioning agreement, among other things,” Neeld said.

Neeld also requested the commissioners to consider extending the six-month moratorium, which was approved May 13, 2019.

“This allows the commissioners time to decide whether or not they want to enact zoning, and to pause potential projects,” Neeld said. The county is required legally to show action and progress in enacting zoning.”

Since the county is required to show progress in enacting zoning, Neeld said, the third thing he requested the commissioners add to their agenda is to have a zoning attorney present to discuss the pros and cons of zoning.

“I have requested the commissioners to have kind of an open informational session,” Neeld said. “The zoning attorney can sit there and present to commissioners the process of how it becomes zoned and maybe the cost and other pros and cons of zoning versus non zoning.”

Neeld said that while no decision will be made regarding zoning, the informational session will be open to the public.

“I don’t know whether the commissioners will allow for public input, but certainly the commissioners will be asking the zoning attorney questions, and he or she can answer directly to the commissioners.”

Following Neeld’s update, Mark Trumbauer with NextEra Energy Resources reminded the commissioners and those present that the definitive agreements that NextEra is submitting to Neeld and commissioners is just “memorializing” what was already put in the term sheet.

Due to the Labor Day Holiday, the Nemaha County Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, in the Commissioner’s Room of the Nemaha County Courthouse.

Heather Stewart197 Posts

Heather Stewart is a reporter for The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2015. She specializes in court and sports reporting, as well as photography. Heather is a 2011 Kansas State University graduate with a degree in psychology. She lives in Sabetha with her husband.

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