On behalf of the Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association, I would like to make the following comments concerning the Oil and Gas Ordinance, as proposed by the Commission:
First and foremost, this proposal changes the type of use for oil and gas drilling from special to permissive.
• This change would permit oil and gas drilling to be sited anywhere in the County without public review.
• Designating oil and gas drilling as a permissive use places the decision-making power in the hands of the appointed director of the Planning and Zoning Department.
• There is no requirement for any public hearings.
• There is no requirement for any public notice.
• There is no requirement for a public vote.
We are opposed to changing the use designation from special to permissive. By planning to do so, the County subverts the democratic process.
A use of this magnitude should be discussed in public, with sufficient notice to the public, and decided by the County officials elected by the people of this County.
We call upon this body and especially, the County Commission to maintain the current use designation for oil and gas drilling as a special use. To do otherwise, the County Commission is abdicating its duty to the citizens of the County – the people who elected them to protect the health, safety and welfare of us all.
• ES-CA is also opposed to the paucity of requirements listed in the proposed ordinance. The requirements do not adequately address needed protections for:
Impact to groundwater
• ES-CA supports, instead, an ordinance submitted by Alan Friedman, which does adequately address the above issues and provides a clear framework for an applicant to follow.
• ES-CA is not opposed to oil and gas drilling, or any form of proper economic development. However, ES-CA is opposed to actions and activities that would harm the health, safety and welfare of citizens in this County.
• ES-CA supports an oil and gas ordinance that provides clear, detailed requirements, that protect the health safety and welfare of citizens, and provides environmental protections for all.
• Such an ordinance will protect the citizens and the environment, while providing the industry with an unambiguous set of requirements that are not subject to interpretation and subjectivity.
This Commission and the County Commission should listen to the citizens that they represent. We have seen the results of lax zoning regulations and lax enforcement. We hope that this body and the County Commission will fulfill the duties given to them by the people and adopt an ordinance that provides transparency and responsibility.
Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association Board of Directors
September 11, 2017