Denton clarifies drilling ordinance

After about a 90-minute closed session, the Denton City Council moved quickly Tuesday afternoon to clarify the city’s new gas drilling ordinance to specify the sequencing of its permitting requirements.

From now on, operators must start their permits with the gas well inspection division. The move came after the city had to step back from a lawsuit it filed against EagleRidge Energy about two weeks ago. When the city sought a temporary injunction, the judge denied it, in part because EagleRidge produced a permit it received from the fire department.

Fire Marshal Laura Behrens told the council that the fire department inspects a property before it issues a permit to make sure that it meets the requirements of the current fire code.

Council member Dalton Gregory told the rest of the council that it made sense to him that a project would have to be platted before a fire inspection could occur. Council member Kevin Roden said he didn’t consider the move a change to the city’s ordinance, since he believed it clarified what the council had intended all along.

City Attorney Anita Burgess also said the city did not consider the move to be substantial change to the ordinance, but a clarification of the sequencing required.

UPDATE: Here’s the substituted ordinance. The language was changed from the original draft in the council’s agenda packet. SubstitutedOrdinance


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