Boro seeks to restrict drilling

BY STACI WILSON

Montrose Borough is in the process of updating its zoning ordinance and in the updated version; council expects to address natural gas drilling.

Councilman Sean Granahan said “Supposedly you cannot eliminate an industry but what you can do is restrict the tar out of it to make it unpalatable.” But he added, he had not read Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act.

Borough resident Bill Bayer said he owns 30 acres, located in an area zoned for industrial use. He asked if drilling would then be prohibited on his property and told council that could significantly reduce the value of his property.

“At the end of the day, there is not going to be any drilling on any property in the borough,” Granahan said.

Council said the amount of land zoned as industrial would likely be reduced in the new ordinance.

Councilman Craig Reimel said it would be difficult for most borough properties to meet the setbacks required by law necessary for a company to drill for natural gas.

But Reimel said, gas under properties in the borough could still be accessed through horizontal drilling.

Granahan said, “We don’t want anything on the surface. We don’t care what you do underneath.”

He also said compressor stations would be blocked out with zoning ordinance changes.

“I just wonder what my land is going to be worth,” Bayer said. “Are you going to reduce my taxes?”

The resignation of councilmember MaryAnne Waddington was accepted. Waddington is moving out of the borough.

Councilman Tom LaMont was appointed to fill Waddington’s slot as vice-president of council.

Council also discussed plans to update the bathrooms and storage shed at Memorial Park.

The next borough meeting will be held Monday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the borough building on Cherry St.

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