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Dacono Council to Review Anadarko Pact on Drilling That Threatened Future Development

October 7, 2018

An Anadarko drill site along Weld County Road 3 and Weld County Road 1.5, late in 2017.

If you go

What: Dacono City Council meeting

When: 6 p.m. Monday

Where: City Hall, 512 Cherry St., Dacono

Cost: Free

More info: bit.ly/2C1mzPF

Dacono City Council on Monday will review and could approve an agreement city staff has taken nearly a year to forge with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. surrounding the company’s plans to drill 73 wells on four sites within and just outside the city.

Anadarko’s proposed project initially sent Dacono officials and residents into a frenzy over its proximity to homes and its elimination of city land for future potential housing development.

Dacono residents’ fears were also lingering due to Anadarko being blamed for the deadly home explosion in neighboring Firestone in April 2017.

“That explosion in Firestone is still on everybody’s mind. So many people in these communities knew those people and their families. We wanted to make sure that didn’t have a chance of happening,” Councilwoman Kathryn Wittman said.

City Manager AJ Euckert wrote a Denver Post editorial claiming the company’s plans as originally proposed would have eliminated future housing stock by 16 percent by putting well pads with 16 and 20 immediately adjacent to the City Center area and the Glens of Dacono housing development, where new homes could have been built.

But through negotiations with the city, Anadarko agreed to move those two well pads, now known as the Ranger and Buddy pads, about a half-mile south across Grand View Boulevard outside of city limits.

While city staff applauded the relocation as a victory for the safety and health of residents, some residents at a June community meeting on the project debated whether the extra distance from development would be worth Dacono losing out on tax revenue generated by the two well pads.

But Mayor Joe Baker said resident feedback heard by City Council voiced overwhelming concern about the proximity of the project to homes.

“It wasn’t going to make or break Dacono (financially) to have those wells in or out of the city. It was more about being concerned about the safety and the distance from where the drill rigs were going to be in proximity to residences and human contact,” Baker said.

Anadarko spokeswoman Jennifer Brice declined to discuss the agreement, since it has not been finalized.

The operator agreement up for approval by council also stipulates that the 289 acres on which the Ranger and Buddy pads will be built will be annexed into the city upon approval.

And to preserve the potential for additional housing development, the operating agreement dictates the so-called Tucker parcel bordering the City Center initially purchased by Anadarko, that will no longer be used as a well pad site, must be listed for sale on the open market and rezoned from manufactured housing to residential or commercial-residential.

The excess land surrounding the well pads on the Carson and Tula sites in the western portion of the city will also be listed for sale for potential development upon completion of the drilling, too, per the agreement.

The agreement also calls for air quality and noise level testing surrounding drilling sites, and mitigation of odors through capturing emissions from the work in a closed-loop system.

A vote on whether to extend Dacono’s moratorium on oil and gas activity in the city is also set to take place Monday night. The moratorium was implemented in November to allow for the city to update its regulations for oil and gas development, which hadn’t been updated since 1996 and did not account for how to handle large-scale multi-well pad horizontal drilling projects.

City Council will vote on first reading whether to approve the new oil and gas regulations later this month. A draft of those new regulations can be viewed at bit.ly/2Rvootl.

Sam Lounsberry: 303-473-1322, slounsberry@prairiemountainmedia.com and twitter.com/samlounz .

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