Douglas County leaders set to consider permit request for small-scale solar facility south of Lecompton; it’d be the first under the county’s new solar regulations if approved

photo by: Journal-World

The west side of the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St., is pictured on Sept. 23, 2021.

The first project developed under Douglas County’s new regulations for solar energy facilities may get its final stamp of approval this week.

On Wednesday, the Douglas County Commission will consider a conditional use permit request for “Stull Solar Farm,” a small-scale solar project located on about 12.6 acres south of Lecompton. The project is a partnership between Evergy and FreeState Electric Cooperative, an eastern Kansas rural electric cooperative that serves nine counties including Douglas County.

photo by: Lawrence-Douglas County Planning and Development Services Office

This map shows the various land uses near the proposed site of Stull Solar Farm south of Lecompton. The proposed project site is denoted by a blue box.

As the Journal-World reported, Evergy would be slated to develop and operate the facility initially, and FreeState plans to purchase the facility from Evergy in the future. Rather than being stored on-site, any electricity produced at the facility would be transmitted to a substation located about a mile to the south on East 400 Road, then used to provide energy to FreeState customers in the surrounding area.

Other details of the project include that the facility will be unmanned, meaning minimal traffic would be generated once construction is complete, and there isn’t any grading proposed except for a gravel staging area and driveway. The site would be enclosed with 6-foot-tall chain-link fencing. The applicant is also proposing planting pollinator plants on-site and considering allowing grazing in the future; the property is currently being used as a cultivated field.

In other business, the commission will:

• During a work session, hear an update about the progress of preliminary design work for the county’s facilities master plan review and the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center remodel project.

• Consider a request for $121,500 to support the addition of a new child psychiatrist at Heartland Community Health Center.

According to this week’s agenda, Heartland needs to fill the position due to recent staff transitions to support the Treatment and Recovery Center of Douglas County and unexpected psychiatry vacancies at Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and LMH Health. If approved, the money would come from the county’s psychiatry supplemental fund, which since 2018 has been used to support and sustain psychiatry providers throughout the county’s behavioral health care system.

Heartland is actually requesting a total of $243,000 to support the first 18 months of the provider’s tenure — less than half the total cost of the new position — but the second half of the request would need to be approved as a supplemental request through the county’s 2024 budget process.

Wednesday’s work session will begin at 4 p.m., followed by the business meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. The meeting will also be available by Zoom. For meeting information, visit the county’s website:


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