A focused effort on sustainability and resilience
To be sustainable is to meet the environmental, economic and social needs of today without preventing future generations from meeting their needs. In Johnson County, we all play a vital role in making that possible. According to the results of the 2022 community survey, 84% of residents believe environmental stewardship and sustainability are very or somewhat important, and ranked improving environmental sustainability in the top five of Johnson County’s most critical roles over the next 20 years. We made some good progress in the sustainability arena in 2022.
Moving forward through…
…allowing for Utility-Scale Solar Facilities
The first half of 2022 saw the completion of work that began the prior year to explore the idea of allowing Utility-Scale Solar Facilities, a renewable energy alternative, to be developed in the unincorporated part of the county. There was heavy study, debate and reexamination of proposed zoning regulations over USSFs. Participants included the Board of County Commissioners, the Planning Commission, county staff, outside experts and the public. On June 6, the BOCC approved resolutions to amend the county’s comprehensive plan and zoning regulations to allow solar facilities with approval of a Conditional Use Permit. Together, those actions opened the door for USSFs in unincorporated Johnson County.
…achieving LEED Gold certification for our efforts
On April 22, 2022 (Earth Day!) Johnson County announced we had achieved a LEED Gold certification for Cities and Communities by the U.S. Green Building Council. At the time, we were one of just 25 local governments in the world to receive this certification, which recognizes our sustainability and resilience achievements.
LEED certification provides third-party verification that a jurisdiction or project is using strategies aimed at achieving energy savings and water efficiency; reducing carbon emissions; improving environmental quality; and demonstrating a strong and ongoing community commitment to sustainable practices.
Our new courthouse is currently undergoing review for LEED Gold certification. Johnson County currently has 10 LEED buildings, including two top LEED Platinum awards.
…sharing our success stories with the region
At the end of 2022, the Mid-America Regional Council and Climate Action KC joined forces to celebrate Resilient Success Stories. These were examples of progress made in our metro area towards achieving greater levels of sustainability and climate resilience. Three of our programs…wastewater, stormwater management and forestry restoration efforts, were celebrated as success stories and highlighted in this video.