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New Zoning Laws Approved Limiting Natural Gas Operations In Dallas Twp.

December 5, 2018

DALLAS TWP. — In front of a standing-room-only crowd, Dallas Twp. supervisors on Tuesday approved a new zoning law that limits where natural gas companies can operate and requires them to appear at public hearings prior to getting approval for any work.

The crowd applauded following the 2-0 vote by supervisors William Grant and Robert Wagner.

Members of the public had been closely monitoring the vote because a recommended version of the new zoning ordinance drafted by the township planning commission did not require public hearings for gas company work.

Grant said supervisors listened to residents who came out at a public hearing last month and voiced their concerns.

Prior to Tuesday’s vote, he and Wagner amended the new ordinance to require natural gas companies to apply for a special exception permit with the township zoning office. Then they would have to have a public hearing in front of the zoning hearing board.

“I hope this change will make you feel a little better. You will have the right to be heard at a public hearing,” Grant told the crowd. “That ability is not taken away from you.”

At last month’s public hearing, Jack Varaly, a veteran planning consultant who drafted the original ordinance, said the planning commission for some reason had edited his work. The commission removed the requirement for public hearings by allowing companies to apply for permits under the “permitted use as a right” provision, he said.

The new zoning law restricts the areas of Dallas Twp., where gas and oil companies could operate in the future. It shrinks the available area from about 75 percent of the township to less than 20 percent, the southwestern portion near the borders of Harveys Lake and Monroe Twp., which now has a new A-2 zoning classification.

Contact the writer:

bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2055, @cvbobkal

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