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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission sends zoning regulations back to planners

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

The Linn County Commission on Monday voted to send the draft of the new zoning regulations back to the county planning board to clarify issues on both solar farms and wind energy. (Kansas Reflector file photo)

By Charlene Sims, Journal staff

MOUND CITY – After listening to the options for approving the zoning regulations presented by Linn County Counselor Gary Thompson, the commissioners decided to send the zoning regulations back to the planning commission for additional information.

Before their decision, Thompson told the commissioners that they had three options:

• Accept the planning board’s recommendations as brought to the commission.

• Reject the recommendation.

• Send the zoning regulations back to the planning commission with written instructions as to things you would like them to reconsider or at least take another look at.

If the commission sends it back to the planning board with written instructions, then the statute says that they are to either to make changes and comply with those instructions , refuse to make changes and comply with those instructions, or do nothing, said Thompson.

“If they do nothing, at your next meeting after their next regular meeting you are free to make whatever changes you want to make without referring back to the board,” said Thompson. “That’s not what anybody wants to do.”

Thompson gave the commissioners a list of six items to be looked at by the planning board.

“We need more detailed findings,” said Thompson. “I know that the board discussed these matters, but they did not make written findings about them.”

Thompson said that specifically the areas where there were enough constraints on property rights to create concerns are where findings were necessary. Thompson went over the areas of concern with the commissioners.

These are the following articles that he is asking that specific findings be established and explained for:

• Article 15 – The prohibition that the planning commission took for wind energy conversion systems.

• Article 14-701 – The decision to require a setback of 150 feet on any solar project over 20 acres.

• Article 14-409 – The 50% limitation on solar farms being located on “prime” farm ground.

• Article 14-406 – The limitation of 4,000 acres of total land in the county being used for solar farms.

• Article 14-405 – The requirement of a sale agreement being included in the application process.

• Article 14-410 – The decision to include wildlife corridors in solar farms.

Planning and zoning director Darin Wilson will schedule planning commission workshops this week with the planning commission so that they will be able to record findings for the above concerns and vote on them at their next regular meeting on June 13.

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