Cabot begins drilling in Harford

BY PAT FARNELLI

Harford Township Supervisors approved a driveway permit for the first Cabot Oil and Gas drilling pad located within the township at their July 12 meeting.

The driveway permit was for the Jeffers tree farm property on Jeffers/Stockerton Road, and was for a 100-foot wide driveway.

Looking over the application, Supervisor Garry Foltz noted that the drain pipe was described as a 12 inch pipe, and said the township requires a minimum of 15 inch pipe, and that the driveway must be 15 feet from the nearest intersection. He said that the township has a traffic regulation ordinance, and that large tri-axle trucks are not allowed to travel those roads.
Along with the driveway permit was a request for a noise ordinance waiver from Cabot for the same site. Harford Township has a recently adopted industrial noise ordinance.

The supervisors approved the waiver for the requested time period, between July 1, 2011, to Aug. 31, 2012.

One resident questioned the point of having a noise ordinance if waivers can so easily be obtained.

Foltz described his own observations about gas industry noise, but said that the process necessary to obtain a waiver still enables the supervisors to track the progress of the industry.

A building permit for a pavilion submitted by Bill MacConnell was also approved. The structure will be used to shelter a picnic table and possibly a boat, and will not include plumbing or electric.

The supervisors also accepted a proposal from Contour Construction Group of Binghamton, N.Y. for the paving of School Street at their meeting last Tuesday.

The road base will need to be reconstructed before the top coat can be applied. The bid specifies paving the street at a width of 60 feet, which Foltz said seems like the proper width for this township road. The top coat will be applied at a depth of one and a half inches to the entire road.
The agreed upon price for the project is $47,000. The Housing and Development Grant was for $40,000.

The supervisors had applied for $44,000 in their original application. The township’s costs were originally estimated at $4,000, but an increase in material costs resulted in the township having to bear $7,000 for the costs of the black top. The project should take 2-3 days to complete.

Attorney Andrew Hailstone, the township solicitor, reviewed a proposed ordinance Foltz has been pursuing concerning nuisance or blighted properties. He said that it would be in the township’s best interest to instead enact a property maintenance code written by the same author as the township’s construction code.

Hailstone said that since the blighted property ordinance would impose fines and jail time for violators, it might run aground if the local judge chose not to enforce it.

The township’s website is available at harfordtwp.org. David Oakley has been developing the website over the past months, and he originally quoted his price at “not to exceed $1,500.”

He also said the website pages should cost about $100 a page. Furney said that he has spent 45 hours just on the main page, and has completed eight pages so far.
Foltz had recommended a partial payment at the last meeting of at least $1,000.

The supervisors approved a motion to pay Oakley a partial payment of $1,000, and to ask him to establish what changes he will need to make to maintain and update the website. They said they would try to work out a yearly maintenance fee to pay him $300-500 a year for the website.

Cleanup week was completed, and there are still dumpsters awaiting removal.

Waste Management was paid $1,462.41 for the cleanup week. The township paid Eastern Industries 20,108.36 for road materials used this year.

Foltz asked if the township is making progress in addressing the recommendations of the auditors. Furney has been seeking out checks that are compatible with the township computer, but said they cost two times as much for half the quantity. She said that the payroll was already computerized, but that she types the checks.
The tractor is in working order again.

Southwestern Energy, which recently did a test bore on Houlihan Road, asked permission to do random test digs to see if they can trench up Houlihan Road to a well pad, which will be located in New Milford Township. The company said it would need to close Houlihan Road for 4-5 days. This was approved by the supervisors.

Josephine Gear asked whether the Harford Water Association has had baseline water testing performed yet, prior to gas drilling. She was told to contact Rick Mosier, who is in charge of the association.