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Zoning Ordinance Could Stop Drilling

Zoning Ordinance Could Stop Drilling

April 15, 2014- Jessica Illuzzi
DuBOIS- City Solicitor Toni Cherry presented a possible amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance to the council last night, which would prevent drilling in certain zones in the city.
 
She has drafted the possible ordinance with the help of the Planning Committee. She said, “I don’t think you can prohibit this industrial use in industrial zoned districts but I think you most certainly can in residential, agricultural, commercial and transitional zones. I think it will be upheld. I think, it won’t even be tested.”
 
She said she was tentative to make any ordinance to prevent horizontal drilling that could have been over turned, but she is confident this amendment would not be challenged.
 
She said that the right to clean water and air guaranteed in the Pennsylvania Bill of Rights was not enough to fight drilling companies but she now feels secure creating this amendment thanks to the Supreme Court decision in Robinson Township VS. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania this past December.
 
This decision ruled that the portion of Act 13 which allowed industrial oil and gas operations to drill in any zoning district throughout the commonwealth, including residential, agricultural and commercial districts, was unconstitutional.
 
Cherry said the effect of this ruling is to “legitimize the municipality’s right to draft our own zoning ordinances and the right of the municipality to regulate uses within those ordinances.”
 
Cherry said she is willing to help other municipalities make a similar amendment to their zoning ordinance. 
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