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Solicitor to examine gas-drilling lease



Published: Tue, August 14, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By MARY grzebieniak

news@vindy.com

NEW MIDDLETOWN

Village officials instructed Solicitor Jeffrey Heintz to examine a gas-drilling lease offered to the village.

Larry Schenk of Western Land Services, representing Hilcorp Energy Co., based in Houston, offered the village $4,000 per acre on signing and 18 percent royalties in exchange for a lease on its nearly three acres.

Heintz said told council at its Monday meeting if the village wants to sign a lease it would need to do so by ordinance. Heintz said such an ordinance should be presented for three readings over one or two months to allow for input by residents.

Heintz also said that while village residents are free to sign drilling leases for their own property, there is no place in the village, except for one property on Struthers Road, which is big enough for the seven to 10 acres the state currently requires for a wellhead.

He said, however, that wells could be placed outside the village and wells drilled to village properties from it.

Mayor Harry Kale said the current zoning ordinance does not list oil and gas wellheads as a permitted use but they could be allowed after a variance hearing.

Heintz cautioned that technology changes could alter the acreage requirement for a wellhead in the future and council may want to address this. He added if council wants to regulate well drilling, it could most easily do so when doing regular zoning amendments.

In other matters, council accepted Brandy Black as a member of the fire department pending physical and background check Her training will be paid by the village in return for a two-year commitment to the department.

Council members also discussed replacing two trees in front of the administration building, which were planted in memory to fallen policemen, with other trees or a monument to police and firefighters.


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