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
Those closely following the city’s legal battle with EagleRidge Energy will note that Tuesday’s City Council meeting shows the fire code will be amended. At issue seems to be the “operating” permits currently issued by the fire department to show compliance with the international fire code. It looks like the city will be moving that authority over to the gas well inspections division.
I got a copy of the fire department permit that was issued to EagleRidge prior to the beginning of operations on Bonnie Brae St. Here it is: Eagleridge Fire Dept Permit
Although no one has said this to me on the record, it’s a good guess that this may be what caused the city to retreat earlier this week.
I have a full story coming in this Sunday’s paper.
The City Council just approved a resolution authorizing the staff to spray in areas where human cases of West Nile virus are found. The move came this afternoon, after a second human case of the disease was reported in a neighborhood just east of Wiggly Field, near Teasley Lane and Hickory Creek Road. A city crew is expected to spray the area overnight in the next few days.
We received copies of court documents related to the city’s lawsuit against EagleRidge Operating. The city is claiming that the company is violating city rules with its drilling of new wells at Bonnie Brae Street and Vintage Road. We’re working on the story. Eagleridge Energy
The Denton County Health Department alerted the city of Denton today that a second person living within the city limits has been diagnosed with West Nile virus. The city raised its public health alert to Risk Level 5 and announced a special call meeting of the Denton City Council to consider whether to order ground spray in the affected area.
The council will meet Tuesday at 1 p.m.
The first human case was diagnosed earlier this summer, but no positive mosquito pools showed up in the city until this month.
More information can be found on the city website, www.cityofdenton.com
The website Livability.com ranks small and mid-sized cities in monthly top 10 lists and in annual rankings.
Denton was one of two Texas cities that made the website’s Top 100 for the year, coming in at 55 overall and far outranking Plano, which came in at 86.
Here’s what the editors thought made Denton livable (although the blog at Livability regularly explores other issues, such as walkability, culture, transportation, urban planning, and sustainability):
- Mostly Younger
- Smaller City
- Growing City
- Mostly Renters
- Mostly Singles
- Hot Summer
- Green City
- Nearby College/University
- Close to Major Sports Team
County officials have ordered ground spraying after a positive mosquito sample was found northwest of the Dish town limits.
The spraying is scheduled for the area west of FM156, south of Swafford Road, north of Hovenkamp, Meadow Ranch, and Chisum Roads, and west to the end of Alamo Drive for three consecutive nights:
- · Thursday, September 26 between the hours of 10pm and 5am
- · Friday, September 27 between the hours of 10pm and 5am
- · Saturday, September 28 between the hours of 10pm and 5am
A map of the spray area can be found at dentoncounty.com/WNV along with other information about the virus and reducing mosquitoes around the home.
County health officials urge residents in the area to consider adding “BTI mosquito dunks in water that cannot be drained, such as large drinking troughs.
West Nile virus first appeared in Denton County in 2002. Last year, there were 184 human cases, including two deaths, reported.
This year, one positive human case was reported in late July in Denton.
Chris Watts, who served District 4 on the Denton City Council from 2009 to 2013, was recently re-elected president of the board of directors for the Texas Municipal Power Agency.
The agency operates a coal-fired power plant owned by Denton, Bryan, Garland and Greenville since 1983. The plant is located near Bryan.
Watts was first appointed to the board by the Denton City Council in 2009 and has been re-appointed every two years since then, including last spring as his final term on the council was ending.
Watts has served as both vice president and treasurer of the agency, and currently serves as chair of its personnel committee.
A Denton real estate attorney, Watts graduated from the University of North Texas and received his doctor of jurisprudence from the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law.
Environment Texas has examined the state’s most populous cities for their efforts to encourage energy and water conservation and released its analysis here: Texas Torchbearers
Because Denton isn’t among the most populous cities, it wasn’t included in the study, which looked at a number of factors that can increase a city’s sustainability. Those include building codes, utility-supported solar power, city-purchased renewable energy, the number of electric re-charge stations and green-certified municipal buildings.
The group is recommending that Texas cities adopt the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code. Denton has adopted portions of the 2009 code, which is the state’s minimum. Twenty-six Texas cities have adopted, or will soon adopt, the 2012 code, according to the report.
The list is interesting. While it includes cities like Austin and Round Rock and San Antonio suburbs, which might be top-of-mind for sustainable Texas cities, there are many others that aren’t quite so top-of-mind, such as Denison, Gatesville, Hereford, La Porte, Port Arthur and Mission, that have adopted the 2012 code.
I was able to speak with another of Carolyn Phillips’ longtime friends this morning, Audrey Battle, and learned that the services have been scheduled for Sunday and Monday.
The wake will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at Peoples Funeral Home and Chapel, 1122 E. Mulberry.
The home-going celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 1111 Wilson St.
Following my story today, Battle said she will remember how hard Phillips worked on behalf of local grandparents who found themselves raising their grandchildren, connecting them to resources and advocacy groups.
Her last call from Phillips came about three weeks before she died, Battle said. She had been worried about a mutual friend, who was struggling with her daughter.
“She called me from her bed, even though she was sick, to ask to please go check on her,” Battle said.