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Compromise zoning change a win for homeowners near planned solar project east of Lincoln
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Compromise zoning change a win for homeowners near planned solar project east of Lincoln

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Solar project

A rendering shows a series of solar panels planned as part of a project east of Lincoln in 2019.

Homeowners seeking to keep panels from the state's largest solar farm from encroaching on their property east of Lincoln won a minor victory on Wednesday.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of a zoning text change that would allow solar panels on agriculturally zoned outlots that are part of acreage developments in what are known as community unit plans.

However, the amended version approved by the commission would only allow them on future developments, not developments already in place.

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Ranger Power, which wants to build the 230-megawatt solar farm east of Lincoln, is seeking what it characterizes as a "narrow, technical" change because it has run into some topographical and other issues on the 1,100 acres it already has agreements to lease that has made it difficult to locate all the solar panels it needs.

Residents of the area, which is roughly east of 128th Street between O Street and Havelock Avenue, see it as a major change that would put solar panels in their backyards.

More than a dozen of them testified at a public hearing two weeks ago, raising safety and quality-of-life concerns.

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Commissioners who voted for the amended plan said protecting existing homeowners was one of their main reasons for doing so.

"My primary concern from the very beginning was the retroactivity issue, and that's certainly been resolved," said Commission Chairwoman Tracy Edgerton.

The proposal will now go to the Lancaster County Board for final approval.

"We appreciate the feedback from landowners and the thoughtful discussion with the Planning Commission," said Sean Harris, vice president of development for Ranger Power. "Now we'll wait for the County Board to review the matter."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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