Hearing scheduled for proposed change to subdivision ordinance

BY STACI WILSON

A proposed amendment to the county’s subdivision and land development ordinance that addresses some issues associated with natural gas drilling is moving forward.

The amendment developed by the county planning commission in 2010 addresses compressor stations and hydraulic fracturing water treatment facilities.

A public hearing regarding the proposed amendment will be held immediately following the Jan. 26 meeting of the county commissioners. The commissioners meet at 9 a.m. in the downstairs conference room of the county office building, Public Ave., Montrose.

The hearing is open for people to make comments regarding the proposed ordinance.

County Planner Bob Templeton said the commissioners could adopt the amendment if there were no substantial concerns about it.

Templeton said the planning commission developed the proposed amendment as a way to remedy current inconsistencies in state and federal laws and to provide greater detail on certain requirements.

The ordinance amendment addresses concerns about noise levels associated with natural gas compressor stations.

If adopted, the county ordinance would require the compressor stations to be housed in and enclosed building with soundproofing.

The proposed amendment sets a noise limit of 50 decibels, as measured at the exterior of any occupied building on a non-participating landowner’s property.

Templeton said, “The intention is to keep noise down.”

Setbacks for the compressor stations are also addressed in the proposed amendment.

If adopted, the setback requirements are 200 feet from any adjoining property and the roadway; and 300 feet from any other occupied buildings not located on the parcel of land the compressor station is built on.

According to Templeton, 32 of the 40 Susquehanna County municipalities utilize the county’s subdivision and land development ordinance.

Eight municipalities have their own subdivision ordinance and the county ordinance does not apply to those, said Templeton. But, he continued, those municipalities could amend their own ordinances in a similar fashion.

The eight municipalities with their own subdivision ordinance are the townships of Ararat, Clifford, Liberty, Silver Lake and Thompson; and Forest City, Montrose and Susquehanna boroughs.

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