passed a Marcellus Shale extraction ordinance Tuesday night that would limit gas drilling to certain zones in the township.
The ordinance passed 6-to-1 following a 25-minute public hearing before the agenda meeting. Commissioner Craig Stephens voted against the measure, while Tom Castello and Betty Ann Connors were not present during the vote.
The ordinance prohibits drilling and compressor stations from residential areas and limits them to industrial and commercial areas zoned C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4 and I. It also requires the drilling operator to notify people living within 1,000 feet of a proposed drill site.
That concerned some residents who live near commercial zones. Betsy Harbin, who lives on Scrubgrass Road, questioned how having Jimmy Mak’s Landscaping business in her neighborhood could impact the zoning rules.
“That’s a loophole because it’s a non-conforming use,” Harbin said.
Solicitor John Vogel said the ordinance still can be amended and they likely would deal with that specific issue later.
Other residents said they did not want to hear the constant droning of 24-hour drilling near their quiet neighborhoods. The commissioners set guidelines in the ordinance to ensure noise does not exceed certain decibel levels for a sustained period. However, resident Pat Martin asked the officials how the township would monitor the noise without specialized equipment and baselines measurements.
“Who’s to measure the noise levels and where are you going to get the instrument to measure it?” Martin said.
The commissioners acknowledged they do not currently have the specialized equipment, but hoped to borrow the tool if needed. Commissioner David Calabria said the state might also be able to help.
“Let’s hope so,” Martin said.
A couple dozen people attended the drilling ordinance public hearing and eight people spoke on the matter. To view the full ordinance, click on the township’s website and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Also during the meeting…
- Commissioner Betty Ann Connors tendered her resignation and will leave the position at the end of June. The township is asking for applications to fill her term and will choose a candidate in July.
- The township’s Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Victory Church on Lindsay Road and weave to Scott Park.
- The commissioners granted final approval to HMS Vanadium for its plans to build a 32,000-square-foot personal storage building in the industrial park at Vanadium Road and Braun Way.
- Dylan Krofcheck and Justin Kinslow were hired as summer workers for the township at a rate of $8 per hour. Chris Lacava was hired as the pool’s night watchman for $9 per hour.
- The planning commissioner was asked to create an “Airport Overlay District Zoning Map” that is required for municipalities near Pittsburgh International Airport. Allegheny County is expected to give the township at least $3,000 for legal costs to create zoning rules governing the heights of structures.