22 residents in attendance… Ted starts the meeting 7:02pm
Ted introduces the speaker Scott Thellman
Ted gives an update on the transient problem, meeting taken place at John Taylor Park where the city stated the camps would be vacated along the river, that has succeeded with flying colors. The only camp is the city sanctioned camp behind Johnny’s slated for closure this month. The camping transients will be arrested on a third strike basis. The transients have migrated to the Amtrak station and Burcham Park. A lot of the transients have out of state warrants and they are hiding in Lawrence. Warnings and citations will be issued for camping.
160 transients have migrated to Amtrak and Greens Lake and Burcham Park. These camps will be outlawed by the time the Pallet village is operational. City and county have bought in for a Pallet Village near the homeless shelter. It is transitional in nature for housing.
Parks and Rec are planning a development along the river between the levee for bicycling and hiking trails as residents have requested. Crime rate in North Lawrence has picked up over 50% since the transient problem has arrived. The crime has dramatically fallen since the transients have moved. 26 families have been adopted from Woodlawn school to provide benefits to families for a good Christmas. Almost $5,500 has been raised for these families. $100 debit cars have been given to the families to help them out with Christmas.
Scott Thellman starts his presentation 7:16pm.
Savion solar project proposed for the Grant Township River Valley. Proposed 115 acres of project area for Savion Renewables. Ashton, a developer of the project, is in attendance. If it approves it will be the largest solar project approved in the State of Kansas. 71% of the proposed project land is high quality farming land. The word from Evergy is that this is land banking so that they will return to Lawrence. This is not set in stone. There are chances that Evergy will keep the land and utilize it for more permanent installations. The proposed project will displace multi generational farms around Grant Township. They have a plan for planting produce around the solar panels and bee farming, but there is no guarantee that this will be followed through on. The high quality water and soil is great for farming due to the bowed in valley. This land can be crucial for farming for generations. If the solar project moves through, the loss of revenue for agriculture could reach $8.5 million. There are 140,000 pylons at an average to maximum depth to 5 feet to potentially more that will be moving into the groundwater of Grant Township and North Lawrence. Ideal for low population density with a large absentee land ownership for Evergy who is hoping for no or low push back.
General questions for presentation start…7:33pm
Resident comments on the blockage that solar panels will cause for proper rain distribution and solar distribution for the soil and hoping flat building tops will be considered for these panels. Scott agreed, responded with the less intrusive nature of wind turbines.
Scott comments that Evergy is largely absent for the solar panel discussions, but Savion has been present.
31% of the project is planned out, 69% is not but Evergy is looking for a 25 year land lease on the land for solar panels without sufficient planning.
Resident asks if they are looking to replace the coal burning plant with this solar panel field.
Resident talks about how the proposed previous Evergy projects have been built in North Lawrence but does not power North Lawrence specifically.
Resident talks about meeting at Sunflower where Evergy states that the solar panel field gets them no closer to closing the coal plant.
Commodities are being farmed on the current solar panel land, corn and soybeans.
Farmers in general are minimizing the use of chemicals, the landscape has changed in the river valley.
Galvanized steel with zinc coating is what will be present in the solar panel field which can lead to rapid de galvanization of the metal and can lead to chemicals and corrosion into the groundwater.
Comments brought about lithium batteries to be present in the solar panel field and the issues with potential fire hazards with putting out lithium fires, there was a dispute with this topic on the presence of the lithium batteries.
A resident talks about global warming threat and wanting solar panels, he was torn on the issue. Residents respond that this is a bad trade.
Thomas talks about field studies on the land from the University of Kansas and the aquifer and the contamination of the fire resistant chemicals that will be sprayed for the solar panel land.
Scott talking about the glacier till that was formed from the glacier melting and sedimentary soil to respond to a resident. Works to improve soil health are taking place and keeping the soil proper and good for the community. The resident asks if all the farmers are actually doing their part to conserve the soil. Topsoil will not be exhausted, it needs to be conserved not used for solar panels.
Resident talks about how options are exhausted for production with the 25 year solar land stay along with agricultural loss.
Resident talks about how farms in Texas and Nebraska was encroached on with wind farming. Resident talks about how the power created by the solar panels will not go to Lawrence at all and will affect the property values of North Lawrence.
Resident comments how she is not a farmer and that this trade is a horrible tradeoff.
Ted was on the northeast sector plan committees with Nancy, when warehouses were planned for the north agricultural land, a Kansas State University study concluded how valuable the sandy loom soil and how it needed to be slated for agricultural purposes.
The solar panel project proposed sheep grazing to still occur for the solar project which is not food production. The proposed land is purpose built for food production.
Grazing sheep on the proposed scale will cause a massive disruption in the local industry that will not be beneficial to Douglas County.
The city will benefit from the solar panels rather than the township. Talking about the battery storage for Evergy and taking up farmland for the city’s benefit.
The are laws on the books to keep the solar panel field from being installed in the proposed location that the county is looking at foregoing those laws for the solar panel field.
There are lot of questions that it looks like Evergy did not do their research on.