Solar regulation recommendations advance to Board of County Commissioners
During its Dec. 14 meeting, the Johnson County Planning Commission, with a vote of 7 – 1 and one abstention, approved the recommendation of proposed changes to the Johnson County Rural Comprehensive Plan and Johnson County Zoning and Subdivision Regulations relative to the regulation of Utility-Scale Solar Facilities. Following the decision, Johnson County Planning, Housing and Community Development Director Jay Leipzig provided the following statement:
“The proposed updates to the Johnson County Rural Comprehensive Plan and Johnson County Zoning and Subdivision Regulations by the Johnson County Planning Commission bring greater clarity and specificity for how Johnson County could review and potentially authorize utility scale solar facilities, should these recommendations be approved by the Board of County Commissioners. This is an expanding industry that has taken interest in building in Johnson County. We support the growth of business in our community that is properly regulated to the benefit of businesses landowners, residents and the county in general, as we work towards the cleaner production of energy.”
The conditional use permit term with the utility was initially proposed for 25 years. It has been reduced to 20 years. The maximum project area was previously 2,000 acres. That was reduced to 1,000 acres, with the available acreage for development reduced from nearly 21,000 to slightly more than 10,000 acres. The distance from cities was 1.5 miles and has been increased to at least 2 miles from city limits. The proposed regulations allow for several sizes of solar panels use, one of which is utility scale.
A public hearing on the proposed changes was held on Nov. 16, at which time the public was invited to provide input both written and orally on the proposed changes. The measure will now move to the Board of County Commissioners for further consideration. A joint briefing meeting with both boards regarding this item is scheduled for 2 p.m., Jan. 20, at the Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry St., Olathe. The item is planned to go before the board for action at the BOCC’s regular meeting on Feb. 3. BOCC meetings are held at 9:30 a.m., on Thursdays, and available to view live, in person or virtually on the Johnson County website or Facebook Live. Check back on the Johnson County website for the agenda and any time/date adjustments ahead of the currently scheduled meetings.