Douglas County Commission’s meetings on proposed solar farm coming up; dates set to discuss wind energy regulations

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Douglas County commissioners will hold a work session on Wednesday and a special Saturday meeting next month to discuss a permit for a massive solar farm north of Lawrence. The commission has also set dates to consider changes to wind energy regulations.

The Kansas Sky Energy Center, a 159-megawatt solar farm, would be built, owned and operated by Evergy with designs provided by Savion LLC.

The solar farm would comprise 237,300 solar modules, 43 inverter stations, and solar tracking systems. The farm would be located on parcels that constitute 1,105 acres north of Lawrence, west of the airport and south of Midland Junction. If approved, construction on the solar facility will begin in early 2025.

In addition, commissioners will have an April 24 work session regarding proposed changes to the county’s wind energy regulations. They’ll consider approving the draft on May 1.

After marathon meetings in October and January, the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission voted 6-3 in favor of advancing the draft wind energy regulations with one modification: increasing required setbacks from property lines to 2,500 feet from 1,500. The three commissioners who voted against the regulations wanted to require smaller setbacks that would have allowed more flexibility for future wind developments. 

The planning commission in December split 4-4 on the solar farm proposal. A tied vote results in a recommendation for denial, but Douglas County commissioners will make the final decision.

Planning commissioners during that roughly eight-hour meeting discussed a range of issues, including environmental and economic concerns, impacts on area traffic, possible herbicide use, stormwater, wildlife corridors where animals can pass through the farm, noise thresholds and more. Much of the deliberation centered on the tension between two competing environmental goals: the need for renewable energy and the need to preserve agricultural land. 

Here’s a zoomable map of the proposed project’s site area, and a map indicating the approximate location’s proximity to other landmarks. (Click here to open it in a new tab.)


Save the dates

All four meetings will be held at the Public Works/Zoning and Codes Building, 3755 E. 25th St., because the commission’s regular meeting room is undergoing renovations.

August Rudisell/Lawrence Times Public Works/Zoning and Codes, 3755 E. 25th St.

The Douglas County Commission will first have a work session starting at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27 to discuss the conditional use permit the solar project applicants are seeking.

Commissioners will not take any action during that meeting, and there will be no public comment. Find the link to join the meeting via Zoom on this page.

The commission will hold a special business meeting starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 13 to hear public comment, discuss, and consider action on the permit.


Commissioners will have a work session starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, to discuss the revised wind regulations. Like the other work session, commissioners will not take any action during that meeting, and there will be no public comment.

Finally, the commission will consider approving the wind energy regulations during their regular business meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 1. There will be an opportunity to provide public comment during that meeting.

All four meetings will be available via Zoom. Commission meeting information is posted on the county’s website, and agendas are posted on the portal at this link.

People may provide written public comment by emailing or by filling out the form at this link.

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