TOPEKA (KSNT) – Two conditional use permits to use land in Shawnee County for solar farms went in front of the Shawnee County Commission Monday morning with two different results.

The commissioners first considered 13.71-acre property located at 4306 SW Auburn Road in Mission Township.

Representatives from Evergy spoke before neighbors who expressed concerns about the potential problems they could have with the solar farm next door. Several residents who would border the property spoke out against giving permission for a conditional permit.

According to representatives supporting the solar farm, the panels could produce enough electricity for 550 homes year-round. Evergy called the sites, “the most suitable properties for this project.”

The Planning Commission suggested the following recommended conditions for the Auburn solar farm:

  • An 8×10 retaining wall with appropriate setbacks
  • An access control location along SW 41st Street
  • The use of “minimal fine’ gravel for all rock surfaced areas
  • native grasses that are drought tolerant shall be planted during the entire installation

Ultimately, the commissioners sent the proposal for the Auburn Road location project back to the Shawnee County Planning Commission with instructions to hold a special meeting.

A permit sought for a second location encountered less resistance from the commissioners or the public. The 11.9-acre property is located at 7300 NW 35th Street in Menoken Township.

The commissioners approved the resolution for a Menoken Township location, which allows Evergy to move forward by advertising the resolution publicly and then applying for permits.

The Shawnee County Planning Commission has laid out recommendations that must be met before the solar farm can be built.

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