Denton Amends Gas Drilling Ordinance

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A controversial set of gas wells near a Denton neighborhood along Bonnie Brae Street has the city reconsidering their rules for drilling. (Published Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013)

    The Denton City Council has clarified the city's rules on gas drilling operations after controversy surrounding several wells.

    Council members unanimously voted during a special session Tuesday to amend the gas well drilling and operating ordinance to state that city permits must be issued before the fire marshal can go forward with required inspections at drilling sites.

    Council members said it was always a part of rules in their minds but said they felt it needed to be clarified.

    The move came after controversy surrounded several wells near the intersection of Bonnie Brae Street and Vintage Boulevard. In mid-October, the city filed for a temporary restraining order against operator Eagleridge Energy to stop action at two wells.

    According to court documents filed at the time, the city said Eagleridge did not obtain an approved site plan for the wells or permits required by the city to drill. Well operations were going up "well within" 1,200 feet of homes, which is against city code.

    A judge denied the city's request for a restraining order, and the special session was called to consider amending the city code.

    However, Tuesday's City Council action will not affect the sites in that neighborhood. The amended ordinance will govern the permitting process in future situations.

    People living in the neighborhood are already in close quarters with other drilling sites. Many said they have been kept in the dark about the wells and future development in the area.

    "Really, I feel like we have not been informed very much as to what was really going to go on before all this happened," Kay Jones said.

    "The only thing I could figure out was going on the state website and reading up on some of the stuff they had for the companies coming in and leasing," Ken Morrow said.

    Residents said their biggest issues with the wells' close proximity are noise and smells from the sites.

    Area residents plan to meet more with city leaders and the drilling operation to get answers.

    Eagleridge Energy did not return calls for comment.