PUBLIC INPUT SOUGHT ON PROPOSED LAND USE CODE AMENDMENTS
COMMERCE CITY, COLO. – City Council unanimously postponed a vote on Ordinance 1880 until July 16, 2012. If passed, the ordinance would have established a six-month moratorium on oil and gas activities within the city. In continuing the ordinance, council directed staff to complete the proposed land use code amendments within the stated timeframe.
Consistent with city council direction from Feb. 27, 2012, city staff presented proposed amendments to the city’s land use development code, which incorporated oil and gas regulations in 2009, to expand protections for residents. Instead of pursuing Memorandums of Understandings that have limited enforcement capabilities, city staff also proposed negotiating extraction agreements between the city and each operator.
Some of the proposed land use development code amendments include:
· Administrative approval of permits, except appeals, which could be heard either by the Board of Adjustment or City Council.
· City regulations would apply to existing wells that are being “recompleted.”
· Public notification requirements of operations within a half-mile of the site.
· Additional traffic mitigation requirements.
· Additional noise protections.
· Activity prohibited in floodplains.
· Potential impact fees.
· Prohibition of injection wells.
A copy of proposed amended regulation is available here.
The proposed extraction agreements would seek to establish:
· Increased setbacks.
· No drilling within specific distances of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge or Barr Lake State Park .
· Noise mitigation requirements.
· Hours of operation limitations.
· Water quality monitoring program.
· Closed loop/pitless systems for water and wastewater disposal.
While the city has drafted a template agreement, specifics would be negotiated with individual operators and the city and would be a required as part of obtaining a permit.
“The proposed layered approach strengthens protections consistent with established legal parameters,” said Acting Community Development Director Chris Cramer. “Combined with the state’s local government designee process, proposed amendments to the land use development code and draft extraction agreements, when taken as a whole, represent a wide array of new tools and requirements.”
The city will host two public meetings in May seeking public input on proposed amendments to the land use development code and garner feedback on the proposed elements of the Extraction Agreement. These evening open-house meetings will be held at the Recreation Center on May 15, 2012 and May 16, 2012 at Second Creek Elementary School .
For more information on oil and gas development within Commerce City , visit www.c3gov.com/oilgas.