The change pertains to agriculturally zoned outlots that are part of acreage developments in what are known as community unit plans. Under the county’s zoning code, agriculturally zoned land can have one house per 20 acres, but property owners and developers are allowed to cluster houses together in one area on larger properties, leaving a percentage of the remaining acres platted as an outlot.
Homeowners who testified last week said they were worried about toxic chemicals they fear are used in the panels, cleanup if the panels are eventually abandoned, and harm to their property values.
Andrew Pool, who lives near an outlot that would be affected, said homeowners aren’t opposed to solar projects but wonder why the company can’t expand a couple of miles east where there’s open farmland.
“We’re talking about something relatively close to our property lines,” he said. “You don’t need them adjacent to residences to come up with clean energy.”
The public hearing also drew proponents who characterized the move as necessary to slow the effects of climate change.
“Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk,” Gene Hanlon said. “Global heating is affecting every region of the Earth, including Nebraska. As policymakers you have a responsibility to remove barriers, create incentives and fill regulatory gaps to allow renewable energy and sustainable development projects in Lancaster County.”