New Castle News

Marcellus Shale

December 12, 2013

Commission reviews 11 well pad plans

NEW CASTLE — As Marcellus and Utica shale drilling continues and pipelines are laid, plans are in place for more well pads locally.

The Lawrence County Planning Commission reviewed land development plans Tuesday for 11 sites for well pads, which are where the drilling rigs are set up.

All the plans submitted are by Hilcorp Energy Group, according to Allen Miller, assistant county planning director, who reviewed the plans before presenting them to the commission.

The planning commission acts in an advisory capacity. Final approval of all plans rests with the individual municipalities, he said.

The plans must be recorded with the recorder of deeds before they can be assigned addresses by the county, Miller continued. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will not issue a permit and construction cannot begin unless each location has an address, he added.

In each case, Miller’s review shows in detail various pieces of information or approvals that are lacking for the plans to be complete.

The proposed well pad sites will each occupy about three and a half to four acres. Their locations and some of the county comments follow:

•Ratvasky well pad, off Garner and Nashua roads, Pulaski Township — The property is zoned agricultural. The planning commission noted that mining mineral extraction is a conditional use in that zone but a copy of the approval of the conditional use was not included with the application.

•Millennium Park well pad, off King’s Chapel Road, Neshannock Township — The location involves four properties that are zoned industrial. The approval requires a conditional use under the township zoning ordinance, but it was not included in the application. The driveway appears to have portions that are within five feet of a neighboring property.

•The Mahoning Sportsmen’s Club pad, off a quarry access road from West Poland Avenue, North Beaver Township, outside Bessemer — The property is zoned agricultural/conservation, and the pad would straddle three club-owned properties. The commission recommended the club consolidate those lots. It also noted mineral extraction is not listed as an allowable use in any zone in the township.

•Verno well pad, off Maple Lane, Pulaski Township — The proposed pad is in an agricultural zone, where mineral extraction is a conditional use under the zoning ordinance. A conditional use approval was not included in the application.

•Ambrosia and Schick well pad, off Baird Road, Mahoning Township — The property is zoned conservation, where mineral extraction is a conditional use under the township zoning ordinance. A conditional use approval was not included.

•Obed well pad, off Brewster Road, North Beaver Township — The property is in an agricultural/conservation zone. Mineral extraction, other than surface mining, is not an allowable use within the township in any district under its zoning ordinance.

•Whiting south well pad, off Route 551, Pulaski Township — The property is zoned agricultural. The well pad splits the property line between two parcels. Also, the plan does not meet side yard requirements of the township zoning ordinance, and mining and mineral extraction require township approval for a conditional use under the zoning ordinance. A conditional use approval was not included.

•Patton well pad, off Mathews Road, Mahoning Township — The property is zoned conservation, where mineral extraction is a conditional use under the township zoning ordinance. A conditional use approval was not included.

•Davis well pad, off High Hill Road, Pulaski Township and Shenango Township, Mercer County — The plan also must be reviewed by local governing bodies in Mercer County. The Pulaski portion is zoned agricultural, where mineral extraction requires township approval as a conditional use under the zoning ordinance. A conditional use approval was not included.

•Carlisle well pad, off Route 208, Pulaski Township — The property is zoned agricultural, where mineral extraction is a conditional use under the township zoning ordinance. A conditional use approval was not included.

•Yeo well pad, off McBride Road, Pulaski and Mahoning townships — The pad splits the property line in an agricultural zone of Pulaski Township and a conservation zone in Mahoning. The plan involves four properties and does not meet setback requirements in either township, the commission noted. Also, mineral extraction is allowable only with a conditional use under both townships’ zoning ordinances for those zones, but conditional use approvals were not included.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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