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Thursday, December 23, 2010

County Planning Checklist In The Works For Municipalities

County Assisting Townships, Boroughs To Deal With Gas Rush

curtfracpixA Municipal Checklist will soon be distributed to townships and boroughs across Potter County to help them deal with a myriad of issues that could arise as the result of increased natural gas drilling. Planning Director Charlotte Dietrich has been working on the checklist, in response to requests from some municipalities that have seen natural gas drilling activity. Dietrich serves on the Township/Borough Planning Issues Committee of the Potter County Natural Gas Task Force.

The document is not meant to be all-inclusive, in that each township and borough could have special circumstances that would require it to consider local regulation or to turn to other sources for technical or legal guidance. The checklist will provide municipalities with estimated timelines for different aspects of a drilling operation. Among ordinances they might consider are those affecting road bonding, hauling and road maintenance, mandatory 9-1-1 addresses and sign standards, holding tanks for sewage, temporary work camp regulations and others.

Townships and boroughs will be advised to communicate with gas companies and state regulators on many issues related to drilling. They will also be asked to assess the impact of each gas well site on the municipality — in terms of traffic, roads and infrastructure, employment, housing issues, ripple effect on local business, economics, issues involving surface rights owners and contiguous properties, and other areas.

Work on the document will continue over the next week or two, with distribution to townships and boroughs scheduled in early January. Suggestions are welcome and additional information is available from Charlotte Dietrich at (814) 274-8254.

(Photo by Curt Weinhold)

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