WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Commission unanimously voted on Wednesday to ban large-scale wind farms and restrict large-scale solar power in the county.
“We are only talking the commercial scale facilities not the smaller facilities that might be accessory units,” said Dave Yearout, Principal Planner Sedgwick County. “Wind facilities could have impacts up to five miles around airport facilities.”
A map was presented to commissioners showing the number of airports and airstrips in the county. Yearout said the plan would protect aviation facilities and the aviation industry. It is something commissioners echoed.
“I have had some concerns about the impact on airports and aircraft, general aviation, McConnell Air Force Base,” said Commissioner Jim Howell. “I am satisfied that under the conditional use guidelines and processes that we have control on solar arrays that would ensure there isn’t any detrimental impact on any aircraft.”
Commissioners reiterated that they still support wind and solar development on a smaller scale and as accessories to individual properties.
“We are supporting wind and solar. We are just having the big wind energy conversion systems is what we aren’t supporting,” said Commissioner Lacey Cruse.
If zoning requirements are met, homeowners and businesses could still install solar panels and wind turbines up to 45 feet.