By Associated Press - Wednesday, May 5, 2021

WAHOO, Neb. (AP) - A local planning commission has voted against issuing a permit to allow Nebraska’s first solar power plant to be built just southwest of Omaha.

On Monday, the Saunders County Planning Commission voted 5-1 against the permit, which will still ultimately be decided by the Saunders County Board, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Omaha Public Power District revealed last month that it had signed a contract to build the huge bank of solar panels on 500 acres in eastern Nebraska south of Yutan. The project would be the largest solar farm in Nebraska and is the first step toward OPPD’s plan to provide 600 megawatts of solar power. The 81-megawatt facility, dubbed Platteview Solar, would have the capacity to generate enough electricity to power 14,000 homes, OPPD said.

The County Board isn’t bound by the planning commission’s vote and is scheduled to take up the issue next Tuesday.

Several planning commission members said they felt the process to build the solar farm was being rushed. Others opposed to the solar farm have complained about its proximity to a local cemetery and fears that it will be an eyesore that lowers surrounding property values.

David Levy, an attorney for the project developer said Monday that the solar farm would will benefit the county, generating $9.5 million in property taxes over 30 years.


This story was first published on May 5. It was updated on May 6 to correct that it was the planning commission in Saunders County, not Sarpy County, that voted against issuing the permit, and that the permitting decision will ultimately be up to the Saunders County Board, not the Sarpy County Board. It also corrects the name of the project developer’s attorney. He is David Levy, not Dan Levy.

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