After more than a year of discussion, the BOCC votes to allow solar facilities in unincorporated Johnson County

aerial view of solar panel farm

After a year and a half of research, discussions, meetings and public input, Monday the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners voted to allow for Utility-Scale Solar Facilities within unincorporated Johnson County.

The Johnson County Planning Commission received its first presentation on the topic in January 2021, and since then has held several meetings and provided the BOCC two drafts of recommended amendments to allow for this type of solar use in unincorporated areas of the county.  

Monday, the BOCC held a special meeting to consider two resolutions, one for amendments to the comprehensive plan and one for zoning regulations for the purpose of regulating solar facilities, including Utility-Scale Solar Facilities, within unincorporated Johnson County, plus the adoption and incorporation by reference of two published safety standards regarding Battery Energy Storage Facilities that are associated with solar facilities.

The BOCC voted 6-1 approving both resolutions, one to amend the comprehensive plan and one for zoning regulations for the purpose of regulating solar facilities in unincorporated Johnson County.

The special meeting, held inside the Hearing Room at the Johnson County Administration Building in Olathe, included information from planning staff, and approximately 40 comments made in person or virtually during the meeting.

The BOCC’s adopted resolutions (Exhibit A) included what the board previously recommended the Planning Commission consider during their April meeting, which includes the following:

  • 25-year Conditional Use Permit term with a one-time automatic extension for five years if the project remains compliant.
  • Maximum Project Area of 2,000 acres, including a waiver option.
  • 1.5-mile minimum distance from a city, including a waiver option.

The adopted resolutions will become effective in the next several weeks.

The production of energy is vital to a modern society. For many years, the main source of energy came from fossil fuel. In recent years, the United States has attempted to move towards a more sustainable energy model that reduces the carbon footprint.

The technology to do so is currently available and in use in certain parts of the country. One such clean energy source is electricity generated by solar energy.

More information on this issue is available on our solar webpage.


The Planning Commission first made solar recommendations to the BOCC in December 2021. In April the BOCC returned eight areas for recommended amendments to the comprehensive plan and zoning regulations to the Planning Commission for reconsideration. The Planning Commission met the next month to consider the eight items and modified four of the recommended amendments.

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