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St. Marys City Solicitor Tom Wagner was approved to draft an ordinance for the Planning Commission's review to bring the city's oil and gas ordinance in compliance with new state regulations.
"I think it's doable to amend the zoning ordinance in a sensible fashion to incorporate all the restrictions the state law now imposes on land use regulations for oil and gas development," Wagner said. "I think you can amend your zoning ordinance effectively."
City Council voted unanimously on the issue during its recent meeting.
Zoning Officer Matt Pfeufer was in attendance at the meeting, where he stated the Planning Commission was seeking clarification on how the city's ordinance should be changed; specifically, what options they should continue to pursue.
According to Pfeufer, the city is only going to be able to change its ordinance once in order to be in compliance to receive any money by the end of the year.
"The Planning Commission wanted to make sure they were not sending anything to City Council that was going to get returned because they don't have the time to go through that procedure again," Pfeufer said, referring to the Aug. 13, 2012 deadline.
He added that he initially thought the deadline was June 14, however Wagner noted the city has 180 days from February to adopt the ordinance. Pfeufer said this gives the Planning Commission a bit of breathing room on the issue.
The two options Pfeufer said the Planning Commission has considered are revising the ordinance by inserting exemptions into it, therefore adopting a singular ordinance which exempts all oil and gas operations from any city code; or revising the zoning ordinance and all other city codes so that they are in compliance with the standards in Act 13.
Wagner's opinion is that they should amend the city's ordinance.
"There's no doubt in my mind I can handle this," Wagner added.